Stop the Mount Messenger highway now


Stop the Mount Messenger highway now and begin on the alternative route.

Opinion by Alan Simmons

The roads traveled to get to Mount Messenger in the Taranaki are littered with potholes and rough patches making them extremely dangerous to drive. The alternative bypass road over the mount was costed at $200 million a saving of $180 million from the current road that is under construction and you can be sure the $380 million will blow out to $500 million before its finished. The saved $180 million as it stands at present can go into fixing the plethora of potholes littering our current roads and making them unsafe.

The NZ Outdoors & Freedom Party call on the Land Transport Authority to call a halt to the new Mount Messenger highway and revert to the alternative proposal costed at $200 million and never disclosed to the high court during two extensive court cases. Also not disclosed was the $89 minion cable way now being constructed to transport the men and equipment into this pristine valley because to date they have not acquired the farmers land further down the valley.

Alan Simmons President of the Outdoors & Freedom party spent two nights camped with the local people on top of Mount Messenger as they settle in for a long occupation protest in an attempt to save the valley. The proposed route is up an unmodified wilderness swamp important to a huge population of eels as a part of their juvenile breeding area. At night the calling of kiwi is never ending as if they know their home is about to be destroyed. The highway sweeps through one of the biggest populations of kiwis in New Zealand. The bats have gone: sent packing by filling their bat holes with builders goo. For now the Land Transport Authority can safely say their are no bats in the valley.  Most local people were quite unaware of the dramas being debated last year in the New Plymouth High court, no maps were provided, the alternative route was not disclosed nor the giant cable way being constructed at the moment. 

Many people including elderly Kamatua are camped on site to try and effect a change to the alternative route but LTA are sticking to their guns without even talking.  Instead the people who are trying to protect this significant valley are under a threat of a parliamentry style eviction by the police having been served a trespass notice by the LTA. All present consider it their duty to practice Kaitiaki (guardianship) over the land for future generations and the creatures who inhabit the land.

The new road will lesson the wear and tear on the hundreds of big trucks that grind up the windy road saving a total of 4 minutes. Almost every truck as they crest the hill toot loudly in support . They toot day and night signalling they don’t want the new highway if it is going to cause so much destruction of one of our most beautiful pristine environments.

Apart from the Outdoors & Freedom Party no other organisation who pitch themselves as champions of the environment, like the Forest & Bird society or the Green Party has been near this. Is it not visible enough for them? Tucked an hour north of New Plymouth an area of subsistant farmers and small communities eking a living out of the annual crowds of  whitebait fisherman. Mount messenger almost defines the Taranaki from the King Country.  So to save 4 minutes, $380 million and climbing is the financial cost while the loss of this pristine wilderness and its animals is lost to future generations forever.

That’s my beef for the day.

Alan Simmons.

You can see a short film of the path and destruction of the highway here

Alan Simmons

Alan Simmons

President & Co-Leader Alan has dedicated a lifetime of involvement in outdoors political issues. He’s sat on a number of national body executives, boards, NGO and management groups, including the NZ Professional Hunting Guides Association, Electricorp Environmental Management Board, NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers and the NZ Professional Fishing Guides Association. Many will know him through his website, the hugely popular New Zealand FishnHunt forum.

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