On the 7th of December 2016, the Minister for Building and Construction and the Environment, Nick Smith, introduced a Bill to the House of Representatives to enable a high density housing development on 11.69 hectares of public green space at Point England Reserve in Tāmaki, East Auckland.
The purpose of the Bill is threefold:
(a) To revoke the reserve status of the land without normal public consultation processes
(b) To subdivide the land from the remainder of the reserve without the need for a resource consent – and
(c) To rezone the land from Public Open Space to Mixed Housing Urban, which is a high density residential zone, without the need for a plan change.
The Government has offered the land to Ngāti Paoa to purchase for a housing development as part of their Treaty settlement but it comes with strings attached (see Letter of Offer to Ngāti Paoa below).
The proposal was put together in secret, under the confidentiality of the Treaty Settlement process. The community only became aware of the proposal in December 2016.
The Bill is currently before the Local Government and Environment Select Committee. The Committee has heard over 120 submissions opposing the Bill and a small number supporting the Bill. There have been two petitions with over 5,000 signatures presented to Parliament opposing the Bill. The community wants to preserve the Reserve for future generations.
Both the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board and Auckland Council have openly criticised the Bill, expressing significant concern about the legislation overriding normal statutory processes and setting a precedent that cuts across the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Reserves Act 1977.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff’s preference is for Point England to remain as a reserve. He presented Auckland Council’s submission to the Select Committee and urged the Committee to explore all other options for Treaty Settlement, including using land owned by the Tāmaki Regeneration Company (TRC) which is currently worth $1.2 billion. TRC itself is owned by the Government.
The Government is trying to fast-track the Bill through Parliament and the Select Committee is due to report back on 28 April 2017. The local bird sanctuary was not consulted and will be destroyed, read more about the Point England Bird Sanctuary at savepe.org.nz. The community has been caught unawares by the Bill and needs to act quickly to save its Reserve.
Waatea News: Point England land grab step too far
Bird Sanctuary press release March 2017: Petition to save reserve presented
Waatea News: Green space threat alarms Mayor
Construction News: Point England Reserve on the Tamaki foreshore is set to become a test case