Ged Cann

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.


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.

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