Ma­jor changes in store for Dunedin traf­fic Priv­i­lege used to name fig­ures

Otago Daily Times - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID LOUGHREY [email protected]

CON­SUL­TA­TION on what are bound to be ma­jor and con­tentious changes to the state high­ways that run through cen­tral Dunedin is ex­pected to start in the next few months.

And the NZ Trans­port Agency has promised the public will be given the chance to have its say.

It was an­nounced early this year the city’s busy state high­way, which car­ries 31,000 ve­hi­cles a day, could be cut to one two­way road run­ning through the city, to in­cor­po­rate the new $1.4 bil­lion Dunedin Hospi­tal.

The hospi­tal will be built be­tween the Cum­ber­land and Cas­tle Sts one­ways sys­tems.

The change, the pre­ferred op­tion in a re­port re­leased by the Min­istry of Health, in­cluded reducing traf­fic in Cum­ber­land St, mak­ing Cas­tle St the main north­south ar­te­rial route and slow­ing traf­fic in St An­drew St.

The min­istry re­port noted the one­way streets on ei­ther side of the hospi­tal sites were sig­nif­i­cant con­straints to the sites, and a bar­rier to ac­cess.

The agency said at the time some traf­fic might be rerouted through Strathal­lan, Thomas Burns and Frederick Sts.

Traf­fic prob­lems have been a hot topic in Dunedin in the past few years, par­tic­u­larly the cy­cle­way build on the high­way.

But agency re­gional re­la­tion­ships di­rec­tor Jim Har­land said yes­ter­day con­sul­ta­tion would al­low the public its voice, as well as stake­hold­ers.

Meet­ings were held late last year on the is­sue of the one­ways that in­cluded the Univer­sity of Otago, Otago Re­gional Council, Port Otago and the Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Mr Har­land said con­sul­tants were about to be ap­pointed for the project.

They would do a de­tailed anal­y­sis of the is­sues the area faced, do traf­fic mod­el­ling and de­velop a list of op­tions for the net­work.

The con­sul­tants needed to come up with best long­term plan for ve­hi­cles, cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans, im­prove safety for all and im­prove the city’s liv­abil­ity.

There was a prob­lem with the sys­tem in that it was not al­ways clear what the best routes through the city were for the likes of trucks or cy­clists.

Con­sul­ta­tion could start late this year, but it was more likely to be­gin early next year.

The feed­back would be con­sid­ered, and rec­om­men­da­tions would go to the agency, Dunedin City Council and Otago Re­gional Council mid­next year.

A busi­ness case would be de­vel­oped for gov­ern­ment fund­ing for the work.

Mr Har­land said he ex­pected, be­cause the work was be­ing de­vel­oped to fit in with the new Dunedin Hospi­tal build, it would be favourably con­sid­ered. WELLING­TON: Na­tional Party deputy leader Paula Ben­nett has used par­lia­men­tary priv­i­lege to name sev­eral of the Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern’s most se­nior staff and a Cab­i­net min­is­ter she says have known for some time about al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault.

Ms Ben­nett told Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day af­ter­noon the man at the cen­tre of the al­le­ga­tions worked in the Labour leader’s of­fice at Par­lia­ment.

Her com­ments fol­lowed the ear­lier res­ig­na­tion of Labour Party pres­i­dent Nigel Ha­worth.

‘‘These are se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions. The Prime Min­is­ter can­not keep her head in the sand and pre­tend like it is hap­pen­ing some­where far, far away; it is hap­pen­ing in her own of­fice, in her own or­gan­i­sa­tion — she is the leader of the Labour Party.’’

She named Ms Ardern’s for­mer chief of staff Mike Munro, her chief press sec­re­tary An­drew Camp­bell and the di­rec­tor of her leader’s of­fice, Rob Sal­mond, as know­ing about the al­le­ga­tions.

‘‘I have been told by two vic­tims who work in Par­lia­ment that they went to Rob Sal­mond around Christ­mas time and made a com­plaint about the al­leged per­pe­tra­tor.

‘‘The Prime Min­is­ter has con­stantly said her of­fice did not re­ceive com­plaints and in fact en­cour­aged vic­tims to speak to their line man­agers — they did.’’

Ms Ben­nett said it ‘‘smacks of a cover­up’’, and went ‘‘straight to the top to Ms Ardern, to se­nior Cab­i­net min­is­ters and to se­nior staff in her of­fice’’.

RNZ asked Mr Sal­mond to com­ment on Ms Ben­nett’s claim. In re­sponse, Ms Ardern’s of­fice is­sued a state­ment say­ing, ‘‘we have no com­ment to make on the al­le­ga­tions made un­der the pro­tec­tion of par­lia­men­tary priv­i­lege’’.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Grant Robert­son, also named by Ms Ben­nett in Par­lia­ment, has re­fused to an­swer ques­tions about whether he was told di­rectly of al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault.

He was asked if a com­plainant told him about such an al­le­ga­tion in late June.

‘‘I’m go­ing to re­spect the pri­vacy of the young peo­ple who are in­volved in this sit­u­a­tion.

‘‘There is a process to go through . . .

‘‘It’s im­por­tant the voices of these peo­ple are heard and I’m not go­ing to say any­thing more about that.’’

PHOTO: ODT FILES

A re­cent pic­ture of traf­fic con­ges­tion in Cum­ber­land St.

Paula Ben­nett

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