Kapiti Chamber of Commerce Chair Heather Hutchings.
Kapiti Chamber of Commerce Chair Heather Hutchings says the recent decision to scrap the Peka Peka Interchange and reduce the Expressway between North Ōtaki and Levin to a two-lane road will have a decades-long impact on businesses across the Kāpiti and Horowhenua Districts.
The New Zealand Transport Agency announced it would not proceed with the previously promised Peka Peka Interchange, following its announcement late in 2018 the proposed four-lane Expressway between Ōtaki and Levin would be reduced to two lanes.
"We were incredibly disappointed by the decision, and like you, we are concerned the region is no longer a priority for the Government. I was pleased to see this concern - and support for these key infrastructure projects - echoed by John Milford from the Wellington Chamber of Commerce," says Ms Hutchings.
"For our region to thrive and grow we need infrastructure. In our recent business confidence survey there was strong support for completing projects across the region - including the Petone to Grenada Link and the Expressway."
She says 31% of those surveyed believe infrastructure is holding the region back. While Transmission Gully is due to open next year, until there are more lanes in and out of Wellington, traffic will continue to be an issue. The significant delays north of Kāpiti over Christmas highlighted this - and caused a high level of frustration for local and business owners alike.
"The benefits to Kapiti from the Expressway were almost immediate. A study commissioned by the Kāpiti Coast District Council in 2017 found between January 2017 and the end of the year, spending increased across Kāpiti - there was 22.2% jump at Kāpiti Landing/Te Roto area alone. We need all of our local communities between Kapiti and Horowhenua to have the same opportunity for growth.
"We strongly believe now is the time for us to make decisions that will have long-term benefits. We need to be planning for the future. The Chamber has long pushed for the Peka Peka Interchange, and we need four lanes to Levin. We will continue to advocate for a better transport network for our community and the Wellington region to maximise our economy's potential."