Government intervention with Pt England needs to stop, local board chair says
An Auckland local board says it is being "stood on" by the Government by being told what to do with Point England Reserve.
In December last year, the Government announced it would take steps to sell almost 12 hectares, or about a quarter of Pt England Reserve in East Auckland to Ngati Paoa iwi through the Pt England Development Enabling Bill.
If passed the Bill would allow the sale of reserve land as part of a Treaty of Waitangi redress and would result in 300 new houses and a marae being built on the land. The bill is at its third and final reading before being being passed.
Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board chair Josephine Bartley said the board aimed to make decisions on its parks on reserves based on community engagement, but the Government had taken that power away from them.
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The Housing, Building and Construction and Environment Minister Nick Smith on Tuesday submitted a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) to the bill, banning grazing and farming on Pt England Reserve.
It also ordered Auckland Council to provide at least 8 hectares of sports fields on the headland where dotterels and other shore birds nest.
The board opposes the bill because there had not been enough community consultation by the government and it set a dangerous precedent by circumventing legislation that protects reserves, Bartley said.
"Again we are being stood on by government and are being told what to do in our local reserve.
"If this is the case, then what was the point of the Auckland super-city structure put in place by government to empower local decision making?" Bartley said.
On June 13, Auckland mayor Phil Goff wrote a letter to Smith accusing the government of trying to micro-manage his council by telling it what to do with the reserve.
Goff said in the letter a lack of consultation with the community was "simply unacceptable".
Both Goff and Bartley have requested Smith to withdraw the SOP.
"I ask you withdraw the SOP and leave what is essentially a local issue of park management to be dealt with by Auckland Council as would normally be the case," Goff said.
He requested Smith take urgent consideration.
Bartley also requested to meet with Smith to discuss the bill and the issues the community had.
Two online petitions have been started by concerned residents opposing the sale.
One petition opposes the development due to the impact it will have on the local wildlife.
The two petitions have a combined total of 5282 signatures.