Dom Post says Councillors fly in the face of reality

The Dom Post editorial:

Months of procrastinating, three and a-half hours of shambolic hand-wringing, $40,000 down the drain. All for nothing.

The stubborn, illogical and wasteful refusal of seven Wellington City councillors to accept their own officials’ finding that a flyover is the best solution for easing congestion around the Basin Reserve should be an eye-opener for ratepayers.

It is also something voters should bear in mind when they go to the polls to elect a new council in six months’ time.

Worth recalling that the seven Councillors were urged to do so by Grant Robertson and Annette King. They also are pro-congestion.

Councillors who oppose the flyover should have accepted that as the only possible outcome, no matter how unpalatable it might be for them. After all, the $40,000 report the council ordered at the end of last year to weigh the different options found that the bridge was the best solution. It also found that the underground “Option X” proposal the flyover’s opponents favour would in fact bring more urban development impacts that might not be possible to mitigate.

Yet having backed the spending of a five-figure sum at a time of great financial restraint to have a last look at the alternatives, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and councillors Stephanie Cook, Paul Eagle, Justin Lester, Iona Pannett, Bryan Pepperell and Helene Ritchie backed a motion that the council ignore its findings by not endorsing the flyover.

They wasted $40,000 of our money on an un-necessary report. But having paid the money for it, you think they at least would not ignore it.

Ratepayers will rightly be asking why they shelled out $40,000 for a report on the Basin Reserve options if councillors who voted for that spending intended to accept its findings only if they accorded with their existing view.

That is the key. The report was commissioned in bad faith. Those seven Councillors are saying that we don’t care what the facts are, what the evidence is, we will not suppoty the flyover.

They have the right to have that view. But they should be upfront on it, and not waste $40,000 pretending to be open-minded on it.

 In case some councillors have not noticed, buses run on roads. The less congested those roads are, the quicker and more reliable buses will be and the more likely commuters will be to use them.

Wellington needs councillors who are determined to get the city moving. Instead, it has got an elected body that has a significant faction of councillors who refuse to accept reality, even when they are confronted with evidence that they are wrong.

We can correct that problem in October.

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