Ngunguru Sandspit in public hands
The Department of Conservation has bought the Ngunguru Sandspit in a confidential deal with the spit's owner Todd Property Group.
In a related transaction Todd Property is acquiring the defunct Napier Hospital site.
The deal will see the Whangarei beauty spot preserved for the future enjoyment of local people, Whangarei MP Phil Heatley says.
"The future of the Spit has been the subject of great concern amongst locals for a number of years, with many people worried that development would spoil a great natural resource," Mr Heatley says.
"While confidentiality clauses prevent me discussing the details of the deal, I am able to confirm that a new mental health unit will be built in Napier with part of the proceeds of the transaction. This is a clear win, win, win situation," he says.
"Firstly it's a huge win for the people of Whangarei who have a place that is very dear to them preserved. Secondly it's a win for the people of Hawke's Bay who have funding for a new, much needed, mental health unit and finally it's a win for the Todd Property Group which has the opportunity to develop the old defunct hospital site to its full potential, which should enhance its value to Napier.
"This has been the most long-running and complex challenge of my political career as Whangarei's local MP, but ultimatley the most rewarding. Like for many Northlanders the Ngunguru Spit means a lot to my family and to me. My wife Jenny and the kids love walking over the Spit and often enjoy collecting pipis off there.
"I have been assured by DOC that the local community will be involved in the spit's management oversight. There will be a sensible balance between the need to preserve the site and ensuring good public access for local people so that future generations can continue to make the most of this iconic area," Mr Heatley says.