Legal guns in Marineland battle

By ROGER MORONEY

While a battle in a courtroom to save Napier's Marineland was not on the immediate agenda, the legal arms of the Friends of Marineland and the Napier City Council are set to come together at a meeting on Friday.
Legal representatives of both sides will be meeting at the council offices at 11am with the Friends of Marineland saying they aimed initially to get any decisions put on hold.
"We will be seeking an undertaking from the council that no decision will be made regarding staff or rehousing of the animals until the legal process is completed," Friends of Marineland vice-chairperson Denise Woodhams said.
The meeting will involve the council's chief executive Neil Taylor, the council's legal representative and Friends of Marineland's legal counsel Philip Ross and chairman Cliff Church.
Ms Woodhams said the group believed the initial judicial process would be the only way to ensure that the Napier City Council had carried out its obligation to the public pursuant to the local government act. "Having legal people there will ensure that," she said. "This was not a step taken lightly, but out of concern for Marineland, staff, animals and buildings."
Ms Woodhams said the council's stance that a full judicial review would be a drain on the ratepayers concerned the group. "It is actually the ratepayers who want Marineland to stay open - the people of Napier want it and that is why we are doing this."
She said such an issue should be put to a public referendum.
However that would likely frighten the council as its results would go against their plans, she claimed.
Ms Woodhams said she hoped Friday's meeting would be a first stagein ensuring "openness and honesty."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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