$100,000 cost of renaming a highway
The New Zealand Transport Agency approved a budget of $100,000 for Kapiti Coast District Council to rename an 18-kilometre stretch of road.
The council sought and was given the taxpayer money to rename the old section of State Highway 1 north of Wellington that has been bypassed by the Kapiti expressway.
To many Kapiti residents, the road already has a name – it is known simply as Main Rd.
But the council has been through a consultation process over plans to give seven different names to sections of the road, reflecting the area’s Maori history.
To date it has spent about $32,000 of the budget, including $11,000 for a historical report on potential iwi names for the roads.
Mayor K Gurunathan said that, if NZTA was comfortable with the amount requested, ‘‘then I’m comfortable’’.
It was agency money, and ‘‘if they think this is how much a process like this will cost, then they are the experts’’.
But Jordan Williams, of the Taxpayers’ Union, said the cost was too much, and was a ‘‘makework scheme’’ for bureaucrats. The cheapest way to do it was run a community competition with a $1000 prize for the best name, he said.
‘‘I tell you what, I’ll do it for free. That’s totally bonkers.’’
Gurunathan said: ‘‘The very fact that we’re going through this exercise itself has value ... the whole community having a discussion like this has value.’’
In countries such as Zimbabwe, the president could simply name a road after himself and it cost nothing, but ‘‘this is New Zealand, this is the way it’s done’’, Gurunathan said.
The consultation drew more than 400 submissions. All suggestions would be shortlisted, and eventually a decision would be made by councillors.
Council strategy and planning group manager Sarah Stevenson said the $100,000 covered staff time and any other renaming costs.
‘‘This includes community engagement, project management, and working with affected property owners and business operators.’’
She did not clarify whether the council could have simply proposed the iwi names for the roads, rather than adding them to other suggestions.
‘‘The process for renaming SH1 was agreed by councillors in the previous triennium,’’ she said.
Six of the seven are significant ancestors ofKapiti Coast iwi, and the seventh is the name of the Maori contingent sent to World War 1.
Between Paekakariki and Mackays Crossing becomes Hurumutu Rd
Between Poplar Ave to Kapiti Rd becomes Hokowhitu Rd
Between Paraparaumu north and theWaikanae River becomes Rauoterangi Rd
The main road throughWaikanae becomes Kakakura Rd
BetweenWaikanae and Peka Peka becomes Unaiki Rd
Hadfield Rd connection becomes Katu Rd
Between Peka Peka Rd and Te Kowhai Rd becomes Matene Te Whiwhi Rd
NZTA acting highway manager Chris Hunt confirmed the amount was requested by the council, and approved by the agency.
‘‘The costs for the provision of this type of exercise will vary from region to region, dependant on extent, complexity, and availability of resource, and would be agreed on a case-by-case basis.’’
The agency was satisfied with the council’s progress, and was working ‘‘collaboratively’’ with it.
NZTA had no preference for the names. ‘‘No, renaming SH1 is a Kapiti Coast District Council-led process, and the decision-making rests with the council.’’
A final decision on names will be made by councillors later this year.
The southern end of the Kapiti expressway, with a section of the old State Highway 1 at the top.