Four potential scenarios released to help end central Wellington's traffic chaos

A new network of tunnels, dedicated public transport routes, and slower inner-city speed limits could be the $2 billion ticket to reducing the congestion in central Wellington.

The city’s transport leaders have presented four transport "scenarios" for residents to have their say on over the next month.

The short list has taken Let’s Get Wellington Moving 18 months to complete, after the Basin Reserve Flyover was shot down by both an independent board of inquiry and the High Court in 2015.

The scenarios build on each other; starting with a basic package, and adding more changes from one scenario to the next.

The most basic option is also the cheapest at $150 to $200 million: reduce inner-city speed limits, and prioritise key streets for public transport, walking and cycling.

The next option, at $700 to $900 million, builds on the first and adds a second tunnel under Mt Victoria.

The third re-routes State Highway One into tunnels underneath the CBD, costing $1.5 to $1.8 billion.

And the fourth, includes all of the previous options plus a second Terrace tunnel. That would cost $1.9 to $2.3 billion.

A "public transport spine" would be protected in all but the first option. Such a spine could be used for future mass transit options such as larger buses or light rail according to demand.

Project leader Barry Mein said the scenarios would "encourage a shift in how people travel, a key factor in supporting a reduction in the city’s transport-related greenhouse emissions."

"It would also unlock potential regeneration along the public transport spine."

"Our work has shown we can’t solve Wellington’s transport problems by just building more roads. We don’t have the space," he said.

The scenarios also show some small flyovers could be built near the Basin Reserve.

Save the Basin’s Tim Jones said that felt "like a slap in the face".

"These plans will not get Wellington moving. The induced demand of a road-first approach will just make traffic chaos throughout the city worse. We need to create viable transport alternatives to reduce dependence on private cars, and make travel easier and safer for the people who really need to use the roads," Mr Jones said.

The most expensive option could take up to 1,000 cars off inner-city streets during the morning rush hour, cut public transport times from southern and eastern suburbs by a third, and make the drive between the airport and Johnsonville up to 20 per cent quicker, and 30 per cent faster on the way back.

The Regional Council chair Chris Laidlaw said there was "no one single solution and some sacrifices, including on-street parking, will be inevitable".

"We need a programme of work that will reduce the volume of private traffic entering the CBD, free up vitally needed space for public transport, and create more scope for walking and cycling in the central city," he said.

The city’s mayor Justin Lester described it as a once-in-a-generation opportunity and encouraged all to have their say.

The final shape of the changes would “come down to how much support we receive from the new government and the regional council,” he said.
"This is not a bill that the Wellington ratepayer will be footing alone."

VIEW THE OPTIONS AND HAVE YOUR SAY HERE

Tens of thousands of commuters are likely to be affected. Source: 1 NEWS



New Zealand's female MPs, including Jacinda Ardern with baby Neve, recreate 1905 Parliament photo

New Zealand's female MPs have today recreated a 1905 photo of former Premier Richard Seddon and his colleagues. 

It comes as the country celebrates 125 years since women won the right to vote. However, women were not allowed to stand in Parliament until 1919. Elizabeth McCombs was elected as the first female MP in 1933. 

Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905.
Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905. Source: Supplied

Jacinda Ardern cradles her baby Neve in the photograph. 

Mr Seddon was New Zealand Premier from 1893 to 1906, winning five consecutive elections. 

Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905.
Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905. Source: Supplied

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, baby Neve and New Zealand's female MPs.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, baby Neve and New Zealand's female MPs. Source: Supplied


Up to 200 Fonterra staff fly to California resort for meeting as co-op announces $196 million loss

Fonterra has responded to revelations members of its Europe-based staff travelled at least 9000 kilometres to attend a meeting at a California resort town by saying the location was chosen because of its proximity to Los Angeles Airport.

NBR has reported up to 200 staff from the co-op's New Zealand milk product division attended the sales and marketing meeting at the tourist and surf mecca Huntington Beach at the time Fonterra was announcing a historic annual loss of $196 million last week.

The NZ Herald reports Fonterra responded to questions about the meeting with a statement.

Los Angeles Airport sign.
Los Angeles Airport sign. Source: Getty

"NZMP is an international business, with the majority of staff and customers based offshore, including a significant number in Europe, the US and South America," it read. 

"Every two years, select members of this team come together for a sales and marketing meeting to review performance and develop strategic plans for the following 12 months.

"The location of the global meeting varies but is always organised near a major airport hub. The venue for this year's meeting was selected due to its proximity to LAX. Bookings for the event were made several months ago to ensure cost efficiencies."

NZMP is the dairy ingredients brand of Fonterra.

The Herald noted Huntington Beach is at least an hour's drive from LAX.

Its report said while it's not unusual for large international businesses like Fonterra to hold conferences overseas, the farmer-owned cooperative is in the public spotlight for its financial performance, number of managers and staff salaries. 

Fonterra's annual report last week had showed nearly 6000 staff were paid at least $100,000.

The dairy giant today revealed a near-$200 million annual loss, the first in its 17-year history. Source: 1 NEWS

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Rentable e-scooters could 'revolutionise' way Aucklanders get around with 2500 set to hit city's streets

A fleet of e-scooters is about to hit Auckland streets which the public can rent to get around town.

A media release today says an initial order of 500 Onzo e-scooters are en route to Auckland and set to hit the streets next month.

The company says a further 2000 will join them in coming months.

With a 250W motor, the e-scooters are capable of top speeds of around 30 kilometres per hour and can cover around 30 kilometres before requiring a recharge.

"E-scooters are great because they make travelling easy and fun," Onzo Chief Growth Officer, Min-Kyu Jung, says.

"Unlike bikes, e-scooters are allowed to be used on footpaths and don’t require helmets. They're perfect to pick up anywhere, anytime, for last-mile journeys such as between the bus stop and the office.

"I think this is totally going to revolutionise the way Aucklanders travel around this city. We're designing the system to make it super quick, easy, and cheap to pick up e-scooters for short journeys multiple times a day."

The scooters are said to feature regenerative braking to recharge the battery when the brakes are applied, or when a rider is going downhill.

They also have front and rear lights for added safety.

Just like Onzo's bikes, the system will be dockless and users will simply use the Onzo app to unlock the scooters from wherever they're left around the city by the previous rider.

Onzo will crowdsource the recharging of the scooters at night to the public.

Onzo e-scooter. Source: Supplied


Winston Peters explains party's support for raising refugee quota

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says NZ First shared the Labour Party's "aspiration" to increase the refugee quota, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced it will be raised to 1500 today.

The NZ First Party leader's position was in stark contrast to comments made at the start of the month at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

"We never made a commitment to double the refugee quota," Mr Peters told media at the time.

The Deputy PM went on to argue there were other priorities for the Government.

"We've got 50,000 people who are homeless back home, and I can show you parts of the Hokianga and elsewhere, parts of Northland, with people living in degradation.

"We have to fix their lives up as well before we start taking on new obligations of the level that some people would like."

However, while standing next to Ms Ardern during the announcement today he took a much softer line on the refugee issue.

"This is about people not about politics and controversy, the fact is it was put to me in Nauru that the 1500 figure was already there, which it wasn't.

"The Labour Party policy I knew was an aspiration towards that, so was New Zealand First's an aspiration towards that, and I knew the Greens had a higher target," Mr Peters said.

"All I did was put out the plain facts and to say that it was a work in progress and I'm not surprised with the speed at which the progress has taken place.

"This was always on the cards that we'd get it done when we had all the background work done on refugee centres and a host of other things," he continued.

PM Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand's refugee quota was previously 1000, after being increased by the National-led Government from 750 in 2016.

The new quota will take effect from July 2020. 

Major points

- There will be six new settlement locations, on top of re-establishing Christchurch as a settlement location.

- Expanding the public housing supply for 150 extra refugee families is expected to cost $32.5 million over three years.

- Budget 2018 included money to build new accommodation blocks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre  

The NZ First leader said the increase was “always on the cards”. Source: 1 NEWS