National War Memorial Park (Pukeahu) Empowering Bill passes first reading

  • Christopher Finlayson
Arts, Culture and Heritage

Legislation to ensure that a fitting National War Memorial Park will be developed in Wellington in time for Anzac Day 2015 passed its first reading in the House last night.

The National War Memorial Park (Pukeahu) Empowering Bill was referred to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee and will be reported back to parliament by 18 September, in anticipation of work beginning on the National War Memorial Park in October.

“This project will divert the traffic underground from Buckle Street and unite the different sections of the Memorial precinct for the first time,” Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson said.

“The Anzac Day commemorations in 2015 will take place in a new, open space, flanked on either side by landscaped areas with trees, seating, cycle-ways and walking paths.

“A national war memorial is one of the most sacred sites in the country. The new park development will provide an appropriate setting for remembrance and reflection on our nation’s history of military sacrifice.”

The Bill will grant the necessary statutory authorisations, and property rights for the project to the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to complete the roading and landscaping in time for the 2015 Anzac Day commemorations.

It will require the Agency and the Ministry to comply with existing social and environmental responsibilities and expectations.

The Bill removes rights of appeal in relation to the specified grants of authorisations and rights, but the right to compensation under the Public Works Act 1981 will be retained, and any further orders in council made under the legislation will be subject to scrutiny by Parliament.

“There has already been extensive consultation on this project over a number of years,” Mr Finlayson said. “I have consulted the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, Mt Cook residents, the local Mt Cook Primary School, the National War Memorial Advisory Council, Massey University, Wellington City Council, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association and the Greater Wellington Regional Council. These groups are universally supportive.”

“We have designed a first, best option for the National War Memorial Park.”

The Bill also requires the Minister to arrange for a community forum of at least 20 people to provide him with information and advice in relation to the development of the Park. The bill stipulates which relevant stakeholders will be represented on the forum.