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Class warfare, with bulldozers

Written By: - Date published: 7:55 am, May 15th, 2009 - 30 comments
Categories: transport - Tags: ,

Using Labour’s Google Map of National’s Waterview route and Google Street View, I had a look at the type of houses that National wants to bulldoze and the ones it has decided to save by having a tunnel under them.
State houses and lower-income houses to be knocked down. 


Upper income houses, to be saved by tunnel.
Surprise surprise.
– Marty G

30 comments on “Class warfare, with bulldozers ”

  1. Ron 1

    As I commented elsewhere…True Colours

  2. bilbo 2

    Well duh – state house are owned by the government and lower income homes will mean a lower payout to the owners.

    Now it’s up to the new MP for Mt Albert to make sure that those in these homes get a far better than fair market value/ moved to better state houses.

    • Marty G 2.1

      I’m not quite sure you’re right there.

      The purchase of properties is a small part of the cost of the project and I would have thought that the different value of properties that need to be purchased is incidental to this kind of planning. No as a professional cost assessment I don’t see that the cost of the houses would matter at all. As a political consideration however, well that’s different.

      I think there’s a bit of a sad commentary on our society in your attitude which amounts to, well they’re poor so tough for them. Its always the poor who get shafted and continually being shafted by the system only keeps people trapped in poverty increases the sense that people in poverty are cast outs who don’t matter to the rest of society.

      • bilbo 2.1.1


        Where the feck to did I say they’re poor so tough for them ?

        Not only do I expect the govt to pay these people out very well, but the rationale for where the tunnels go is detailed very well by Jarbury below.

        I know this post is desperately trying to turn this into some kind of ‘class war” but it really is stretching credibility.

      • You’ll also find the poorer areas are probably denser than the rich areas.

  3. vto 3

    So Mr Marty G you contend that the tunnel placement decision is based on the socioeconomic status of the inhabitants of the houses in the way?

    • Marty G 3.1

      When I clicked on the part of the motorway that will need bulldozing of houses with the Street View tool this is literally the first image that came up. Same thing when I clicked on the part of the route that will be tunneled. Coincidences do happen but it looks to me like the wealthy get to keep their houses and the poor get theirs bowled over.

  4. The Voice of Reason 4

    Given that this is a proposal apparently whipped up in the last few weeks, at the behest of the NACT gummint, I think it’s reasonable to assume they took into account local demographics. Poor? Can’t afford a lawyer? Get the bulldozer! Rich? Tunnel for you, Sir!

    They would not have needed Streetview to make the descision; results at the voting booths in the area would have been just as useful.

    Labour majority? Flatten ’em! Tory voters in the majority? Tunnel, ta!

  5. Jono 5

    What vto is probably getting at is that the tunnel goes through the Heights, ie it would be a much bigger cutting for a surface or cut and cover option through a big hill. Unfortunately, elevated, sunny hillsides usually have higher value properties…

  6. grumpy 6

    From the look of the pictures it seems that the ones to be dozed are:

    1. on flat ground
    2. already owned by the Crown
    3. Lower cost

    The ones to be tunnelled under are:

    1. on a hill
    2. in private ownership
    3. higher cost

    Normally tunnels go under hills and roads go on the flat bits – I don’t know of many tunnels under the flat bits. especially ones only built to save a few state houses.

    Perhaps your writer could let us know when this argument for a tunnel has been raised on behalf of property owners when other motorway projects were undertaken in the last 9 years of Labour? That is, if you want to avoid the charge of hypocrisy.

  7. The only alternative to this alignment (other than the tunnel) would have been to push the motorway further north so it went to the north of Pak N Save. That would have wiped out even more houses near the corner of Hendon Ave and New North Road. Furthermore, the houses in the top picture may not have to go – after all the cut & cover tunnel will go directly under Great North Road. If you want a better example of poor people’s houses getting bulldozed I would go for the ones on the southern side of Hendon Ave.

    I would like to say that if your house is in the direct path of the motorway in some ways you’re the lucky one. You can take the money and run. However, if the motorway is now over your back-fence (rather than a park) you have to swallow the loss of house value and get nothing but noise and pollution.

  8. djp 8

    yeah well, thats what happens when property rights are a figment of the community’s imagination

    For the record I think our govt *should* respect property rights and negotiate fairly for any property it wants to buy (even the frenchies get this 🙂

  9. Labour must be loving being in opposition.

    First, it can make any promises it likes without having to fund anything. Heck, they even did it when they were in Govt.

    Second, they can claim to be supporters of the environment will spending $2billion on a motorway.

    Third, you can create all sorts of conspiracy theories that the flat earth society will buy into. Here’s one for the flat earth society – do you think a $2billion tunnel would have been the outcome if it wasn’t Helen’s electorate? There’s more substance in this claim than the above claims.

    For what it’s worth, I think there’s a simple solution. Stop the project. The rest of the country frankly doesn’t care and there are eminently more important national projects that aren’t being funded. Transmission Gully or rather an alternative route out of Wellington has far more national importance than digging a hole or two in Mt Albert.

    End of argument.

    • vto 9.1

      Not right Daveski, the rest of the country has no desire to see an alternative route out of wellington. And it certainly isnt of national importance. The rest of the country would rather wellington just stayed put and shut up.

      • Daveski 9.1.1


        I would think that when the big one comes and travel in and out of Wellington is disrupted, then the answer will likely change.

        Frankly, albeit from a distance, the plans for Waterview look an extravagance and reek of pork and barrels when there are equally if not more worthy projects.

        As I said, the solution is simple. Stop the project. I’m concerned this may put me in the Greens camp and no one would want that!

      • infused 9.1.2

        Wrong VTO. We DO want to see an alternative route.

  10. jarbury 10

    I agree with Daveski – stop the project. Spending $1.4 billion on a road is less stupid than spending $2.8 billion on a road, but they’re both still stupid.

    What if petrol’s $5 a litre by the time this road opens? What benefit will it really be by then?

    • Marty G 10.1

      I agree and I should really write something on that side of the issue. I’ve just been looking at the numbers and stuff so far.

  11. felix 11

    Yeah, I’m sure money class and power have nothing to do with it.

    Apparently you’re all too young or stupid to remember the way the wealthy residents of the Eastern suburbs stopped the motorways being built through Kohi and St Johns.

    Oh hang on it was only a couple of years ago. Can’t be youth then.

  12. jarbury 12

    The other issue is that the changes to the RMA will be used on this project to restrict the rights of locals to have their say heard.

    Let’s have a look at what Nick Smith said about this kind of project when he first read the RMA Amendment Bill in parliament:

    The first tranche of reforms deals with projects of national significance. There are real problems in how long it takes to get major infrastructure projects through under the consenting process, particularly as they have to go through a local consenting process and, inevitably, end up at the Environment Court. We need only look at examples—such as the Albany to Pūhoi realignment B2 (ALPURT B2) in Auckland, which took nearly a decade, and the Wellington City bypass, which took 17 years—to see the need for reform.

    The tricky balance we need to recognise is that these projects have both a local and a national dimension to them. It is a gross simplification to say they are all either national or local. That is why this bill takes an innovative approach in creating a single board of inquiry, but with the capacity of local authorities to nominate board members on to those boards, and also an amendment to ensure that local knowledge is an important factor. The bill provides for a single-step process that recognises both the local and national dimensions of projects.

    The boards will be chaired by a current or retired Environment Court judge to ensure independence. There are tight timelines of 9 months for reaching a decision, and restrained appeal rights, to ensure that we can build important infrastructure for our country.


    No local government hearing, a strict 9 month consenting timeframe and limited rights of appeal. Looks like houses aren’t the only things that will be bulldozed here.

  13. Ron 13

    Conspiracy or no – the fact remains that the majority of the neighbourhoods being levelled are in the state house/lower income region.
    No surprises though, are there?

    Over the past couple of weeks this Tory outfit have started showing their hand and now there’s something to aim at.

    I predict one term.


  14. Of COURSE, that’s what NZTA did. Sat in a room looked at pictures of houses and said, let’s tunnel under the rich ones and destroy the poor ones – the fact there is a hill where the bored tunnel will be (and not where the others are) isn’t a reason to build a tunnel.

    What vapid nonsense.

    Of course all the debates about this would have been avoided had the last government stuck with funding road projects based on benefit/cost ratios and prioritising on that basis, then we would KNOW the best projects are funded first, not the ones that have a political profile.

    Labour did away with that, the Nats are showing no signs of reinstating it. So we have amateurs galore trying to value billions of dollars worth of spending, without evidence as to what projects are better or worse. The Waterview connection will be worth building one day, but I doubt it is the best value unfunded road project in Auckland.

    Oh btw Nick Smith is talking bollocks about consenting periods for ALPURT B2 and the Wellington Inner City Bypass (sigh) though both were far too long.

    • lprent 14.1

      Bullshit – Labour didn’t. They just insisted that NZTA follow the processes. One of those was to work with the communities it was to go through.

      What ones did they fiddle with – links please rather than your usual hyperbole. This sounds like yet another wingnut myth.

      With Waterview it was to go through a residential suburb. So NZTA consulted with the local community. They said that a noisy motorway that split the community was unacceptable. Eventually a plan was made that was acceptable – with tunnels. There was a grudging acceptance of that plan.

      Preference would have been to not have the connection at all.

      This government however is fiddling with the priorities for political reasons.

      • Swampy 14.1.1

        Everyone knows that NZTA has political appointees like every other crown agency. How many are friends of the Labour party. This is the Prime Minister’s electorate and she’ll put up unlimited billions to win the 2008 and 2011 elections.

        How many motorways in NZ have this length in tunnel?

        Motorway tunnels in NZ are not actually too common, as we know. Personally I’d rather have no motorway, but I’d equally oppose tunnelling it. People want to have their cake and eat it, too. I’d like to see every person who opposes it sell their car and take public transport or bike everywhere. Otherwise they’re hypocrites.

        • lprent

          People in mount albert including Helen would also prefer not having the connection. Haven’t you been listening over the last 8 years. It is nzta who want it not us.

  15. Swampy 15

    Who believes all that communist class warfare cant?

    Of course the houses in the motorway path are Housing Corp and low income, there’s been a motorway designation along there for years and everyone else has left.

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