Residents in protest against sale of assets at Mangawhai

By Mike Barrington

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MAKING A STATEMENT: Mangawhai residents protest over a proposal to sell 'surplus' Mangawhai Heads land to help settle Kaipara District Council debt.PHOTO/MRRA
MAKING A STATEMENT: Mangawhai residents protest over a proposal to sell 'surplus' Mangawhai Heads land to help settle Kaipara District Council debt.PHOTO/MRRA

Opponents of the Kaipara commissioners floating an "asset-stripping" proposal to sell "non-strategic surplus properties" held a protest march at Mangawhai.

About 150 members of the Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents' Association (MRRA) and other groups carried placards yesterday from Alamar Cres - where one of the "surplus" properties is located - to the Mangawhai Club, where commissioners were hearing local submissions on the Kaipara District Council 2014/15 draft annual plan.

The plan says a number of non-strategic surplus properties can be considered for sale.

"By non-strategic, we mean property that has no current or future plans for public use, and is not part of the Mangawhai Endowment lands still in council ownership," the draft plan says.

"These properties are mostly situated in Mangawhai Heads and include residential land in Eveline St, Robert St, Fagan Pl and Alamar Cres."

The plan asks Kaipara people if they support the sale of non-strategic surplus property to free up funds to repay debt.

MRRA chairman Bruce Rogan said the protest was over the un-elected commissioners selling off Kaipara assets without any consultation and without waiting for the High Court decision on its review of the controversial Mangawhai EcoCare wastewater treatment scheme.

Mr Rogan said the council had bought the land in Alamar Cres with funds from the Mangawhai Endowment Lands Account holding proceeds from the sale or lease of former Mangawhai or Northland harbour board assets and local people were "up in arms" about the proposed "surplus" land sales.

"We are all objecting to the commissioners asset-stripping this district."

Mr Rogan said the "very satisfactory" turnout for the protest march was followed by the commissioners, led by chairman John Robertson, having a good exchange with draft plan submitters.

Mr Robertson agreed the hearing had been "good natured and constructive".

Commissioners were working their way through the 380 properties the council owned and finding out what people had to say about selling those which were not needed.

The protest was not only about land issues, Mr Robertson said. It was also about history and a desire to see justice done.

"The High Court is taking its course. We are not interfering with that in any way," he said.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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