Controversy erupts over NZ pedestrian crossing consultancy spend

07 March 2022 2 min. read

A Mount Ruapehu-sized political stoush has erupted over a $250,000 local government consultancy spend on a solitary pedestrian crossing somewhere in Wellington. investigates.

The consultation process for a new, controversial pedestrian crossing in Wellington has been completed – at a cost of close to one quarter of a million dollars and with no announcements yet made.

The crossing at Cobham Drive near the city’s airport is part of its multi-billion-dollar ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’ transport and safety initiative, yet has received criticism on multiple fronts.

Controversy erupts over NZ pedestrian crossing consultancy spend

According to sources, the majority of the advisory fees have gone on modelling the road safety impacts around diverging from the traditional black and white zebra crossing strip to an all black design, but the proprietary rights to such a configuration have since been sold to an overseas private equity firm. The nation is now planning a referendum on an alternative pattern.

Leading business leaders who has spoken to in New Zealand’s capital city of Auckland have expressed confusion over the bro-haha, and where exactly Wellington is, but have insisted that any new crossing should be painted red and black to represent the country’s favourite confectionery, Jafas. Pineapple lump supporters in the South have demanded a second referendum.

Conveniently, for the mathematically challenged, the crossing is expected to be used by around 250 sheep per day, so the extravagant consultation costs come in at a rough spend of $1,000 per head over the crossing’s lifetime. Meanwhile, it has been argued that around 35,000 vehicular commuters could be disrupted on a daily basis by allowing the ‘bleeping little green men’ to inhabit the area.

While human rights advocacy group Green-peace has declined to comment due to security concerns, those in opposition to the massive infrastructure project, including National but not national transport spokesman Simeon Brown, and the Wellington Airport, which runs monthly international flights to Auckland, contend that the local government should build a bridge “so that people can get over it.”

Harold Maclary, who heads up Fonterra competitor Donaldson Dairy, believes that most of the critical commentary amounts to nothing but political dog-whistling, and reminded all parties engaged in the stepping out to reflect on Sir Trevor Chapel’s similar underhanded tactics from 287 years ago; the trauma of which he argues the nation has never economically or emotionally recovered from.

Speaking more bluntly, Maclary called Mr. Brown “an egg”.