Expressway decision disappoints, but it's not over till it's over
The Supreme Court has declined to permit Save Kapiti to appeal the High Court judgement regarding the Kapiti Expressway.
The Court ruled that "any attempt to assess the impact on the environment of the proposed Expressway on the assumption that the WLR was in place would be entirely artificial." Save Kapiti is extremely disappointed, after all the research, work and effort it has put into this process since 2009.
"To assume that all the work undertaken since 1995 by KCDC and NZTA's predecessor agencies, particularly through protracted legal disputes in the Environment and High Courts, was 'entirely artificial' is mind-boggling", said Save Kapiti secretary Mark Harris.
"Unfathomably, what the Board of Inquiry, the High Court, and now the Supreme Court, do not seem to understand is that, in our opinion, this diminishes (and almost invalidates) the value of the District Plan, a statutorily required document that councils spend millions developing and revising. Essentially, this judgement says that what's in the District Plan is irrelevant if it hasn't been built yet, which raises a question over the value of creating a plan at all. It seems that the Court did not consider that aspect of the matter at all."
Save Kapiti have no option but to accept this decision, as there is no further course of appeal.
"We've taken this particular battle as far as we can, and not achieved a result we are happy with," said Harris. "So be it. It's only one battle, it's not the war. With this legal avenue terminated, we have to move back into the political arena as it was a political decision in the first place to put the road here, going against all of the expert evidence of the time (including NZTA's own). They twice rejected this route for valid technical, social and economic reasons - nothing has changed, except that the price still goes up.
"NZTA now state it will cost $680 million to build this motorway. I don't think they can point to any project that has come in under budget, and very few that have come in on budget. So we can expect to see it creep over the billion dollar mark, as they uncover 'unexpected geographical difficulties', as they did with Mackays Crossing, the Raumati Straight, Lindale and almost every other project they've carried out in this area."
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