Press release. NZ Outdoors Party. 18/10/2021
Allegations of perjury, deceit and wasted public funds leave the Mount Messenger Highway Bypass in jeopardy
The NZ Outdoors Party has learned that NZTA (Waka Kotahi) hid a secret option from landowners and the courts for many years, instead progressing a controversial option through Mangapepeke Valley that will destroy wetland, kiwi and pekapeka (bat) habitat. After four years of court cases, this more environmentally friendly and much cheaper option was released recently by LINZ under the Official Information Act.
“This is a case of extreme bullying and deceit by a crown agency'” Said Mr Simmons. The NZ Outdoors Party calls on NZTA to abandon the destruction of a significant wetland and tell the truth about this obvious solution. “
The ongoing stress to Poutama and the Pascoe whanau, and all the resources put into a long series of court cases could have been avoided, had the secret proposal been revealed back in 2017.
The NZ Outdoors Party has supported the landowners to stop the proposed $300 plus million dollar road through the magical Mangapepeke valley. The valley is a unique Taranaki Wetland with so many Kiwis and native bats that DOC doesn’t even try to count how many kiwi eggs have been removed. The wetland thrives with young eels. NZTA has previously been shamed for blocking bat roosts with expanding foam.
Outdoors Party members supported the landowners to block access to surveyors during the summer holiday break.
Alan Simmons said “Given the sensitive nature of the planned route it, and new freshwater and wetland protection rules, it makes far more sense to upgrade the existing highway rather than destroy treasured wetland habitat. To find out via an OIA request that substantial planning and contested costing had gone into that option was then withheld to the court and the landowners shows the bad faith that NZTA have engaged in throughout this process.”
With funding so tight due to the government’s Covid response, a $200 million saving is surely preferable to all except a few contractors.
Perjury and fraud complaint had been laid with the police today. The landowners, the Pascoes and Potama the local tangata whenua both withdrew from the High Court hearing in New Plymouth today pending outcome of the police investigation.