No Mt Messenger Bypass - save Mangapēpeke Valley
This new road will damage the "physically, spiritually and socially significant" Mimitangiatua River and Mangapēpeke Stream of Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama and Poutama. It will destroy 44.4 hectares of indigenous forest and wetlands that are home to dozens of threatened native species such as the North Island Brown Kiwi, Archey's frog, Long-tail Bats, Fernbirds, North Island Robins, Giant Kōkopu and Shining Cuckoo.
This proposal is opposed by the Department of Conservation, Forest & Bird and landowners who are being forced from their homes. Some iwi are yet to be fully consulted and other iwi are still deciding, being so far unsatisfied with mitigation offers.
Mangapēpeke means 'frog stream' and frogs are a well known environmental health indicator species. No amount of proposed tree planting and pest control can mitigate the damage actual forest removal and pest introduction this road will cause.
The 'bypass' should not go ahead. It makes no sense to destroy ancient forest communities just so cars and trucks can get from A to B a few minutes quicker. The touted safety improvements do not stack up when well-known fog and black ice in the proposed area is taken into account. Nor when increased speeds will also increase accident rates. The age of large truck transportation is coming to an end as fossil fuels become ethically unaffordable. So let's be practical, do we really need a brand new $200million road?
It is time to move on from fossil road projects and create a vibrant, sustainable Taranaki economy. An upgrade of the existing road makes far more sense.