About 150 people turned out on Friday at Levin's Village Green to take part in a march protesting what many call NZTA's inaction on issues surrounding the expressway from Ōtaki to North of Levin.
Ōtaki MP Nathan Guy took the initiative for the march, motivated by increasing numbers of upset people showing up his office about the issue, expressing frustration. Several protesters came bearing placards and Guy, bullhorn in hand, came along with a sign stating "Labour lets Levin down."
Before the start of the march he spoke about how, within the last six months not much has happened in terms of the new road and because of that lack of action, people have come to him, depressed, and feeling uncertain about their futures.
Many of the people who turned out for the march were elderly folk who thought their lifestyle properties near the Tararua foothills would be their forever retirement home.
"We do not have much time, we need security now. If the road comes, we want to move as soon as possible, before it becomes too hard," said one landowner, who added that the proposed 300m corridor goes right through their property.
At the moment NZTA is not considering buying any property within the corridor and
"We want certainty now," and "Build the road" were the slogans used throughout the march, up and down Oxford Street, between Queen Street and Bath Street. As they progressed the crowd got louder and sounded more and more determined.
"There is great uncertainty right now, for landowners, but also for local business owners and the council. Inaction is stalling growth. Do you upgrade your business, or do you move on, are questions businesses are asking themselves," said Guy.
"At least 350 property owners are still in limbo. Traffic thunders through Levin and the road between Ōtaki and Levin is congested a lot. There were 43 serious accidents in the last few years on that stretch of road. A previous coroner called it the killing fields."
"I am hearing that the Government has run out of money and we are left scratching our heads and feeling neglected. Many are aggrieved that the Government says it can only afford a two lane highway, while we deserve a four-lane one. Rather than four," he told the crowd.
Guy was promising more protest action on this issues in the near future.