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People’s power prevails

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‘MOTORWAY VICTORY’- A WIN FOR DEMOCRACY AND COMMON SENSE

ROCC’s letter to the editor of the Manukau Courier. Published 23 January 2014

Last week’s announcement that government planners have dropped their proposal to carve an East-West motorway through Mangere, Otahuhu and Wymondley, will be welcomed by all residents.

The ‘Respect Our Community Campaign’ (ROCC) grew from a series of huge public meetings after the motorway options were first revealed in the Manukau Courier last September.

This campaign gave a strong, united voice to the widespread community outrage against these destructive proposals that threatened hundreds of homes plus many schools, pre-schools, churches and medical centres.

ROCC published two campaign newspapers that were letterboxed throughout the area by a vast army of volunteers. Our 4240-signature petition was tabled in parliament by Mangere MP Su’a William Sio in November. Follow-up petitions have since gathered nearly 2000 more names.

Over 320 prominent community leaders also stepped forward to publicly oppose the motorway plans. (View our website for the full list: www.rocc.org.nz)

Faced with this massive, unprecedented community backlash, the planners have finally backed-down, and now say they will instead try to engage with the community to seek agreeable traffic solutions in the industrial belt north of Manukau harbour.

‘People’s power’ has forced this dramatic U-turn. The previous $2billion motorway options for south Auckland (that transport minister Gerry Brownlee and John Key had demanded be ‘fast-tracked’), has fallen from being a major ‘priority project’, to zero. Democracy and common sense have prevailed over ‘motorway madness.’

ROCC thanks all those who came together to defend our community, especially our MPs, Local Boards, MANA Movement and Green Party members, schools and residents. ROCC will continue to promote sensible mobility solutions that enhance, and not destroy, our community.

Roger Fowler,
Spokesperson,
Respect Our Community Campaign (ROCC)

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ROCC Supporters

We would like to thank over 300 prominent community leaders of Mangere, Otahuhu & Wymondley who have come forward to voice their opposition to an East-West motorway:

  • Rennie Siakimotu, assistant Principal, Kingsford Primary, Mangere East.
  • Sir Peter Leitch, ‘Mad Butcher’ Mangere East.
  • Ciska Buitendijk, Literacy & numeracy tutor, Mangere East
  • Sarah-Marie Tupuaga, teacher, Mangere.
  • Meli Molesi, nurse, Middlemore Hospital.
  • Sioe Patumaka, customer service, Mangere.
  • Tuaine Nerio, coordinator, Wymondley Rd Early Childhood Learning Centre.
  • Sally Ikinofo, CEO Niuean Sports Federation, Mangere.
  • Ekepati Va, Administrator, Taeaofou Preschool, Mangere.
  • Tyrone Laurenson, English language tutor in Mangere.
  • Edwina Crese, preacher, Pacific Island Presbyterian Church.
  • Mereana Peka, manager Nga Whare Waatea Marae, Mangere
  • Fou Alene Tumataiki, manager, Niuean preschool, Mangere.
  • Koia Tenakore, President, Onehunga-Mangere United Softball Club
  • Kei Laupa, teacher, Mangere.
  • Faimai Tuimauga, Education consultant, Mangere East.
  • John Roache, president, Otahuhu Rugby Club & Auckland Samoan Rugby Club.
  • Pastor Lute Sefesi, Tongan Community Church, Mangere East
  • Hana AhoTaha QSM, Chair of Board, Niuean pre-school, Mangere.
  • Rosie Leota, secretary, Manukau City Assoc Football Club, Mangere.
  • Carol Poa, education support, Mangere.
  • Pastor Faupula Vaka, Tongan Community Church, Mangere East.
  • Fa’atamoe Salapo-Tuaimalo, Secretary Samoa Atia’e, Mangere.
  • Cathy Casey, Auckland City Councillor
  • Arvind Dharamsi, manager, Mangere East Post Office/Kiwibank
  • Ethni Snell, Literacy & Numeracy Tutor, Mangere.
  • Esteban Espinoza, Senior Social Worker, Mangere East.
  • Reverend Robati, minister, PIPC, Mangere.
  • Sergio Opazo, Coordinator, House of Friends, Mangere.
  • James Papalii, Mangere social worker, founder Waka Ama club, Mangere Bridge.
  • Ailafo Taliai, pastor, Kerisiano Fa’afouina Church, Mangere East.
  • Rev Peter Sykes, director, Mangere East Family Service Centre
  • Sione Kumitau, leader Pulefakamotu, Niue Okalana
  • Lekei Laupa, Preacher, Niuean Presbyterian Church, & Leader of Christian Women’s Fellowship, Mangere.
  • Rev Roy Christian, Mangere Presbyterian Church.
  • Jan Lambert, teaches English in Mangere, English Language Partners Auckland South.
  • Lynaire Doherty, Psychologist, Ohomairagi Trust, Mangere.
  • Fa’asaulala Leota, programme manager, AUT Manukau Campus.
  • Faimalo Timoteo, cultural coordinator, Samoa Atia’e, Mangere.
  • Saubree Edinberry, Chairman, Manukau City Assoc Football Club, Mangere East.
  • Roger Fowler QSM, manager Mangere East Community Learning Centre, Mana candidate for Manukau Councillor.
  • Piripi McLean, Social Worker, Mangere.
  • Glenis Allen, Positive Parenting facilitator in Mangere.
  • Naomi Lange, long time Mangere resident

Continue reading ROCC Supporters

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Presentation to Auckland Council Infrastructure Committee

These are the slides and the full text from the presentation Jasmine Kovach gave today to the Infrastructure Committee of Auckland Council.  You can download a pdf version here.

Slide1

Mr Chairperson, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today regarding the East West Link.

My name is Jasmine Kovach and I am a proud resident of Otahuhu and a member of the Respect Our Community Campaign. My husband and I bought our first house in Otahuhu just over a year ago,intending it to be our family home where we could raise our two daughters. Having finally found an affordable house in a great neighbourhood in Auckland, we now learn that Auckland Transport plans to put a motorway through it.

The Respect Our Community Campaign has been set up by residents just like me, in response to the East West Link. We love our community and we want to see it thrive.We are all here for the long haul, not just property speculation. Our communities deserve more than a motorway through the middle of them.

We have been greatly assisted with this presentation by the Citizens Transport Coalition, and Donna Wynd has come to support us today.
It is clear that this proposal is expensive, destructive and cuts across other aims of the region’s transport policy. This presentation will focus on the destructive aspect of this project.

First, we would like to go on record as noting that Auckland Transport’s behaviour throughout this process has been disgraceful. Monday’s press release notwithstanding, no one from Auckland Transport has come to talk to anyone in the community about the East West Link apart from some presentations to the local board and some local businesses. The process so far has been akin to what one might expect to find in a third-world slum clearance, not a representative democracy.

Continue reading Presentation to Auckland Council Infrastructure Committee

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Let’s Stop This Madness

Green MP Julie Anne Genter writes on the Daily Blog:

The Government is hell bent on destroying another vibrant, and vulnerable, community for the sake of ANOTHER motorway in Auckland.

This seems insane, but the enigmatic (and until very recently, nonexistent) plan for an “East-West Link” to deal with freight problems between Onehunga and East Tamaki has jumped the queue to be one of the top infrastructure priorities of the Government. It was a clear bait and switch, when they announced support for the City Rail Link (which is actually a five+ year delay).

The Auckland Transport Blog has done a number of excellent posts examining the East-West Link proposals and a much more cost-effective, non-invasive solution that could address some of the traffic issues without taking any homes, destroying communities, or locking us into an entirely oil-dependent future.

One point that has not been noted is that some most of the problem of unpredictable travel times is linked to the fact that at least one of the inland ports located in the Church Street/Nielson Street area doesn’t schedule its arrivals. Truck drivers can show up any time they want, and sometimes this results in huge queues backing out onto the streets.

The answer to this problem is not to throw billion at another motorway. It is to tell the affected businesses to get their sh*t together and start managing their arrivals. Hell, we could give them a couple hundred thousand to get the software set up.  But apparently it is cheaper and easier for them to lobby National to fast track some insane motorway which in all likelihood will not improve transport productivity as much as investing the same amount of money into sustainable, affordable alternatives that reduce the demand for vehicles on the road.

The full article is here.

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Media Release – ROCC Welcomes Auckland Transport Admission

Respect our Community Campaign (ROCC) welcomes Auckland Transport backdown on East-West motorway proposals.

ROCC welcomes Auckland Transport’s admission that it should have consulted South Auckland communities earlier about options for an east-west motorway link to speed freight transport.

In its media release yesterday afternoon Auckland Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency acknowledged they got it wrong and should have talked much earlier about their plans.

ROCC chairman, Roger Fowler said “These agencies have treated the people of Mangere, Otahuhu and Otara with contempt – they were proposing to bulldoze hundreds of homes and carving up our communities without the common courtesy of talking to us. They would never have done this in the flasher Auckland suburbs and we won’t put up with it either.”

“It’s good that they now acknowledge that they have made a big mistake by attempting to plough a motorway through our neighbourhoods behind our backs. But if they think they can try to sweet-talk this community into accepting a motorway – they will need to think again. They would just be making another big mistake.”

“If this change of heart is a genuine move, NZTA & Auckland Transport will need to drop all preparations for East-West motorway construction and start afresh with genuine, open consultation with the community, and seriously consider other options, such as expanding rail, upgrading public transport, night-time trucking and safe cycling & walking facilities. The failed mantra of ‘more motorways’ is so 1950s. No city has ever succeeded in tarsealing its way out of gridlock. More motorways just create more traffic chaos, destruction and pollution.”

“Modern cities put their freight on rail and commuters on affordable & efficient public transport – that’s the sensible way to address these issues, at a fraction of the cost of motorways. We urgently need to develop practical ways to make our city livable – to strengthen our communities, not destroy them.”

Our Mangere MP Su’a William Sio is taking the views of his constituents to Parliament today, armed with our 4246 signature petition demanding ‘respect for our community & to stop the East-West motorway.’

ROCC welcomes the opportunity to make our case to Auckland Transport. This is an opportunity for Auckland to step into a new era with transport solutions for the whole community – (not just businesses which are pushing for these crazy motorways proposals).

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Media Release From Auckland Transport and NZTA

Responding to pressure from the ROC Campaign, Auckland Transport and NZTA have released the following statement to the media.

Auckland South Communities Reassured of Open Transport Approach

The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport are asking community groups to help the two organisations find the best transport solutions to better link an economically growing south-west and south-east Auckland.

Existing transport in this important area – which includes Auckland International Airport, Mangere, Otahuhu, Onehunga, Penrose and East Tamaki – is already inadequate and with projected job growth there will be increasing pressure to better manage that increasing demand.

“We know that there are community concerns about a potential motorway solution, but there are a number of ways in which we can meet that demand. We do not have a preferred option – motorway or otherwise. We are asking communities to work with us to find the best possible answer to an important issue that will affect jobs, the streets families live in, and the way people and freight can move safely around this area,” says the Transport Agency’s Highways Manager, Tommy Parker.

Auckland Transport Key Agency Initiatives Group Manager, Rick Walden, says working openly with the community is a priority.

“We wanted to better understand the transport needs of this area, which we had been doing through local boards and other key stakeholders, before we began wider consultation. We’ve sensed a growing concern in the communities about this approach and acknowledge that we should have engaged the wider community from the start. We’ve heard what people have to say and we are responding to that immediately. We want to begin a more collaborative approach to discussing the issues and how best to deal with them together,” Mr Walden says.

“We want to work through issues like better public transport, walking, cycling and roading infrastructure with those communities.”

This combined area is Auckland’s industrial heartland and a major freight distribution hub, employing 135,400 people and generating $10.2 billion a year. Its economy is a similar size to the Bay of Plenty, Manawatu-Whanganui and Otago regions.

“Finding the right transport solution to meet this demand, provide better connections for freight to the motorways, and develop a strategic East-West link for Auckland, that also balances the needs of the communities, is no easy task. It is going to involve all of us, and it is going to take a while – there will be no quick-fix solution,” Mr Parker says.

“We’re asking for people’s patience, but more importantly we are asking for their help. Our first step will be to meet with community leaders, schools and local boards as well as the Respect Our Community Campaign group to discuss how we can all best move forward together. We will be contacting them this week,” says Mr Walden.

Next steps:

  • Meet with community leaders, schools, local boards and the Respect Our Community Campaign group to discuss a process for engaging the community
  •  Update the community on how they will be engaged before the end of the year
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ROCC Speaking at Auckland Council On Wednesday

ROCC is on the Agenda for the Auckland Council Infrastructure Committee this coming Wednesday 4th December.

Come and join us at  at the Auckland Town Hall, 1:00pm, and lend your support to opposing the ludicrous idea of bulldozing a motorway through our community.

FREE BUS!!!! Be at the Mangere East Community Centre at 11.45am on Wednesday 4th December. Bus leaves at midday sharp! 

Let’s show them that the community doesn’t support these crazy plans. Wear your high-viz vests, jackets, t-shirts etc etc – we will be seen AND heard!!!

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Auckland Transport Disingenuous

Letter to the Editor NZ Herald, published Sat 23 November.

Auckland Transport’s Rick Walden is being disingenuous in saying the public will be consulted about the proposed east-west link motorway after routes have been assessed.

What he means is the public will be told what is going to happen, whether they like it or not, and the residents who remain in Mangere and Otahuhu will get a say on what colour the sound barrier will be.

This is not consultation. The lack of information available to the residents whose lives will be disrupted is disgraceful.

It is impossible to believe Auckland Transport would contemplate behaving in this manner if the suburbs involved were inhabited by wealthier citizens.

Auckland is already one of the most socio-economically stratified cities in the developed world.

Secretive planning and inappropriate transport projects such as the east-west link will make this even worse.

Donna Wynd, Otahuhu.

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Mayor, residents oppose proposed Mangere-Otahuhu freight highway

The New Zealand Herald reports:

Exclusive King’s College is one of three schools in the way of a route being considered for fast-tracking a $1 billion-plus freight-heavy road corridor through South Auckland.

The others are Otahuhu College and Sutton Park Primary School in Mangere East, where a community meeting tomorrow will oppose the plan – which could also affect more than 100 homes.

Auckland Transport says a new highway through Mangere and Otahuhu is one of four options it is considering after Prime Minister John Key’s inclusion of an east-west link between the Southern and Southwestern Motorways and beyond in an $11 billion transport package.

Two other options include upgrading the existing route from Favona Rd to Mangere Rd and adding a new link from Otahuhu to East Tamaki and Pakuranga to the $1.5 billion Ameti roading and public transport projects begun from Glen Innes to Botany.

The remaining option – called Option 3 and likely to be preferred by businesses for its easier access to Tauranga’s inland port and neighbouring industries – is a new highway running parallel to the Manukau Harbour’s northern shore from Onehunga to Southdown and then to Pakuranga.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has come out strongly against the Mangere-Otahuhu highway proposal, called Option 4, even though planners believe it would provide the most direct link from the airport to the East Tamaki industrial estate.

It would seem a non-starter,” he told theHerald. “What might look good on paper would be very difficult to deliver in terms of those communities, so let’s stop wasting my time.

“My over-arching view would be that the best way to connect east to west would be to the north of the harbour.”

A plan that Auckland Transport has shown local boards and businesses indicates Option 4 would run through King’s College and Sutton Park Primary, and behind Otahuhu College. That school could also be affected by other options involving widening Mangere Rd.

The Otahuhu-Mangere Local Board has passed a resolution opposing Option 4 and asking Auckland Transport to consider other ways of removing freight traffic from local roads.

But some members are accusing the Mana Movement and its mayoral candidate, John Minto, of scaremongering by warning residents their homes could be bulldozed.

“This statement is dishonest and causing fear amongst our community,” said board transport leader Lydia Sosene, who promised strong board opposition to Option 4, not least because “it comes right through my living room”.

Mr Minto denies scaremongering, saying “the lines are on the map” and it was important for the community to mobilise early against Option 4.

King’s College headmaster Bradley Fenner was unavailable for comment but Auckland Transport executive Rick Walden said work was at an early stage of comparing “high-level potential connections”.

“The potential routes currently aren’t well-defined – there is no certainty which properties or land may be affected.”

Auckland Transport intends to consult the public next year on a preferred route, ready for construction to start in 2015-16 subject to funding and consents.

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