Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei appeal $1.85 bil East-West Link Highway

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

A New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) project that would link the South-Western (SH20) and Southern Motorways (SH1) has been granted consent. NZTA says it will improve travel times and make for easy more reliable travel, but Auckland iwi Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are appealing the decision.

A highway estimated by NZTA to cost up to $1.85 billion has been granted consent.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei spokesperson Ngārimu Blair says, “EPA, the Environmental Protection Authority, have given consents to build this highway.”

Approved by an Independent Board of Inquiry, the highway link is intended to run between Mt Wellington & Onehunga. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are appealing the decision in court.

Blair says, “This will be laid out over The Mānukanuka of Hoturoa, the habitat of some of our birds and endangered species of the tribes of this region.”

In a response received from NZTA, they told Te Kāea that the consents are enabling and not obligatory. In addition, they say a review will identify options that provide a lower cost, better value solution.

Blair says the money would be better spent on public transport such as rail and bus services.

“That would be better for people who can't drive. Those services can transport the masses.”

Meanwhile, the resource consents have a 15-year period for implementation and will, therefore, outlast the current term of government.