Mt Messenger agreement wins warm welcome

Ngāti Tama’s ‘yes’ vote on the multimillion-dollar Mt Messenger project has been warmly welcomed by the region’s key transport planning group.

“Their agreement keeps this important project on track and we’re delighted,” says Taranaki Regional Councillor Matthew McDonald, who chairs the Regional Transport Committee.

“We hope that the remaining appeals can be resolved soon so work can begin on giving the region a safer and adequately resilient route to and from the north.”

At 5.2km, the new bypass will be 1km shorter than the existing route over the top of Mt Messenger, saving four minutes’ driving time for light vehicles and 6.5 minutes for heavy vehicles, and significantly reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. The bypass will include a 120m bridge over a wetland and a 230m tunnel.

In an iwi-wide Ngāti Tama vote, 82 per cent favoured the agreement with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. This allows land needed for the bypass to be exchanged for a solution that will benefit the region. The result of the vote will allow the Environment Court to issue a final decision on the project’s resource consents.

The Taranaki Regional Council Chair, David MacLeod, congratulated Ngāti Tama and the agency over the outcome of the vote. “Both sides worked hard on this and the result is set to be of immense benefit to the region.”