Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Finlayson to defend Narrow Neck Crown land offering

Chris Finlayson. Photo / Supplied
Chris Finlayson. Photo / Supplied

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson is to defend a controversial $13.8 million offering of Crown land at Narrow Neck at a public meeting on Saturday.

The noon meeting at the Navy gym on the land at Narrow Neck is a response to concerns about the Government's offer to sell the 3.2ha to Ngati Whatua o Orakei as part of a Treaty of Waitangi deal which was reported by the Herald in September.

A spokesman for Mr Finlayson's office, Ben Thomas, said the minister would speak about the treaty deal as a whole but with specific reference to questions about the Narrow Neck property.

North Shore MP Maggie Barry had invited the minister and would host the meeting.

The site includes an officer trade-training school, gym and barracks on the coastal side of Vauxhall Rd, which the Crown has offered to lease back for at least 15 years but may stay for as long as 150.

However, under the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act, if Defence stops using the site, it would be classified as a recreation reserve and included in the marine park.

The tribe does not want the land if it becomes classed as a recreation reserve, because it is offered as commercial redress in their claim.

The Government proposes taking the land out of the marine park act's provisions to let the deal go through.

Describing the land as "grandstand coastal reserve", Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chairman Chris Darby said the board urged people to express support in principle for the wider settlement claims bill.

However, the board opposed the inclusion of the 3.2ha of coastal land because it was 60 per cent open space and part of the reserves network of a future Auckland.

He said the land was flat and included historic buildings, a gymnasium and other buildings which would give valuable recreational, cultural and educational use.

The board hoped people would come to hear the minister and also make submissions to Parliament's Maori Affairs select committee by April 18.

Kaipataki Local Board member and a former MP, Grant Gillon, said the 3.2ha was part of Narrow Neck land brought under the marine park after a long campaign and should not be converted to private ownership.

Mr Darby and Tamaki Reserve Protection Trust chairman Michael Pritchard complained to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Forum on Monday there was no public consultation.

Forum member and Auckland Council member Mike Lee said he was concerned about the possible precedent this sort of legislation change created for the marine park and felt the proposed legislation should at least be investigated by the council in the interests of all Aucklanders.

However, Mr Lee's recommendation was discussed briefly and was lost 7 votes to 10.

Forum member Wyn Hoadley's request for extending the deadline for submissions on the treaty deed of settlement was also lost.

The forum knew about the proposed treaty deal in April last year but was told to keep it quiet.

Department of Conservation representative on the forum, Auckland Conservator Sean Goddard, said the removal of the 3.2ha portion from the marine park would not affect public access to the coast.

DEFENCE DEAL

* $13.8 million for Navy land at Narrow Neck.
* Defence will lease back for 15 years to 150 years.
* $95.63 million for five Defence housing blocks and five-year lease back.
* $10 million for Defence land at Wakakura Cres.
* 33.64ha conservation reserve vested in Ngati Whatua o Orakei's name.
* 170-year right of first refusal over surplus Crown properties.

- NZ Herald

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