Ngāti Whātua oppose East-West highway plan

By Talisa Kupenga

Auckland iwi have lodged mixed responses to the proposed East-West Link Highway, a New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) project that would create link the South-Western (SH20) and Southern Motorways (SH1). NZTA says it will improve travel times and make for easy more reliable travel, but Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei disagrees.

Ngāti Whātua is against the nearly $2-billion project.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei spokesman Ngarimu Blair says "from what we can see, despite the Crown building motorways all over Auckland, it hasn't stopped congestion."

A new four-lane road would run on the northern side of the Mangere Inlet, connecting SH20 at Onehunga and SH1 at Mt Wellington. It would run on land and on the coastal marine area of the Manukau Harbour, with around 18-hectares of coastline reclaimed to make dry land for the project.

Blair says "that’s a concern for all Auckland iwi because we have asked the Crown to remedy issues around Foreshore and Seabed claims. Those discussions are on-going yet this Crown group wants the foreshore." 

Some iwi support the project, others have conditions for approval and another submitted no view.

NZTA says the new link would reduce travel time by nearly 20 minutes based on projections for traffic flows in 2026. 

Blair says "the money should go towards transport solutions like trains and busses that cater to the masses."

Submission hearings will continue for up to ten weeks.

As well as the highway, the proposal includes new local road connections within the Onehunga and Penrose areas and new, or upgraded, cycle and pedestrian facilities.