Looks at what the capital can expect from a National-led government.
On a sodden evening in midAugust Michael Bennington drove to his Porirua home to find his usual route blocked by two large slips.
The next morning, he saw his neighbour evacuated after another slip threatened their home, and a day after that he returned to find his own home burgled by opportunists who probably thought he was also evacuated.
Looking up at the exposed piling of his neighbours deck, he said he considered himself lucky, and wonders if the ‘‘matchsticks’’ his home is made out of would stand to future quakes.
‘‘It is very wobbly in the wind, so I’ve always been a little bit concerned that in an earthquake it could very well end up closer to the road.’’
Roughly $5500 worth of music equipment was taken by the thieves, who Bennington suspects were opportunists who thought the house was also evacuated.
Bennington’s experience is typical of a city which, in the last year, have been told up to 10,000 of its homes sit on slip-prone hills, and where 60 per cent of inspected homes had earthquake or weather resilience issues.
In 2015, he was at a supermarket buying emergency supplies when the Seddon earthquake sent tins and glass bottles falling from the shelves. Resilience is rightly on most Wellingtonian minds, whether stocking up on emergency supplies or researching which apartment buildings are strengthened to code, and there aren’t many elements of capital life which aren’t affected.
But there are only so many precaution the individual can take. Often Government action is needed, and they haven’t been idle since November.
There has been $6 million provided to strengthen the city’s water infrastructure and ensure central areas have adequate storage to sustain the population.
The Government have also agreed to foot half the bill to tieback some 300 masonry building facades, all of which sit on high pedestrian routes.
Beyond the commitments already made, National’s intentions mainly focus on attracting more private sector investment alongside council and government investment into new water and roading infrastructure through the new government investment company Crown Infrastructure Partners.
Transport has also been a hot topic in Wellington this election.
For Bennington, he prefers to make his regular commute from Plimmerton to Wadestown by train, even though it means a 40 minute walk, in order to avoid the risk of bumper to bumper traffic.
Figures released late last year show the evening rush down State Highway 1 from the CBD to the airport in Rongotai was usually brought down to the snail pace of 27kmh. The journey into central Wellington from the eastern suburbs in the morning was as bad, with motorists creeping along at an average speed of 30kmh. Resilience is rightly on most Wellingtonian minds, whether stocking up on emergency supplies or researching which apartment buildings are strengthened to code.
National intend to invest $37 million in Wellington’s commuter rail network, with the aim of increasing reliability.
Both parties have pledged $22 million to double track the Trentham to Upper Hutt railway line, in the hope of solving some of the issues on the delay-ridden Wairarapa Line.
National’s investments are also set to include building a third platform for Porirua Station at $3.5 m, a turn-back facility at Plimmerton at $2.5 million, and upgrades to various bridges and slopes at the cost of $9m.
‘‘On roading, we will also fasttrack construction of the new Melling interchange as well as the investigation and design of a new interchange at Kennedy Good – both along State Highway 2 in Lower Hutt,’’ the spokesman said.
‘‘The new interchange will improve safety, travel times for people and freight moving around the Wellington region, support economic growth and boost the region’s productivity.’’
National are also in favour of four-laning the road between the Airport and Ngauranga Gorge as part of the Northern Corridor Road of National Significance, and duplicating the tunnels at Mt Victoria and the Terrace. immigration line, he was forced to expand to students, GST, and moving the Auckland port. And his Radio New Zealand interview with Guyon Espiner about whether biscuits were ‘‘basic food’’ was almost as amazing as when he warned the kids in TVNZ’s Face the Classroom debate about the threat of a coming nuclear apocalypse.
WORST ‘‘PERSON OF THE PEOPLE’’ BRAG
1st= Ardern and Bill English: Ardern told people that she spoke to ‘‘unemployed tradespeople’’ in Gisborne, while Bill claimed he’d spoken to ‘‘young people’’ at ‘‘job tests’’ in Porirua and at the meatworks in Horotiu. Marcus Lush: Lush was nailing the political banter when a lady called in to say that she’s been listening ‘‘all week’’ for a meatloaf recipe. Unfortunately, he didn’t have it. The Greens: English grabbed headlines by claiming National would do ‘‘more for the environment’’ and the Greens were so incensed that they promised to plant ‘‘one billion trees’’. Which is quite a few. Turns out English meant to say that they would do ‘‘more for the environment… than we are already doing at the moment’’.
Porirua resident Michael Bennington has experienced first-hand some of Wellington’s resilience and transport issues.
A landslip near Michael Bennington’s home caused significant damage.