In 2017 the National-led Government passed legislation to enable high density housing development of 11.69 hectares of public green space at Point England Reserve in Tāmaki, East Auckland.
(a) Revoked the Reserve status of the land without normal public consultation processes
(b) Made it possible to subdivide land from the remainder of the Reserve without the need for a resource consent – and
(c) Rezoned the land from Public Open Space to Mixed Housing Urban, which is a high density residential zone, without the need for a plan change and the usual public consultation that would be required.
The Government offered the land to Ngāti Paoa to purchase for a housing development as part of their Treaty settlement but it came 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 Local Government and Environment Select Committee heard over 120 submissions opposing the Bill and only a small number supporting. There were two petitions with over 5,000 signatures presented to Parliament opposing the Bill. The message was very clear – the community wants to preserve Point England Reserve as open space for future generations.
Both the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board and Auckland Council openly criticised this law, expressing significant concern about Government 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 that Point England remain a Reserve is on record. The Mayor 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 is owned by the Government.
If Point England is lost for open space, the local bird population’s nesting and feeding places will be destroyed.
Read more about the Point England Bird sanctuary at savepe.org.nz
Waatea News: Dotterel eviction inevitable under Paoa plan
Herald on Sunday, Letter to Editor: The path of democratic protest is a long and rocky one
Newsroom: No easy answer in Pt England land tussle
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