Naval base sale known a year ago, says Mapp

By Geoff Cumming

The Auckland Council is calling for the Government to find something else other than the navy land (pictured) at Narrow Neck for a Treaty settlement deal. Photo / Janna Dixon
The Auckland Council is calling for the Government to find something else other than the navy land (pictured) at Narrow Neck for a Treaty settlement deal. Photo / Janna Dixon

North Shore residents were advised a year ago that part of a prominent headland would be sold to Ngati Whatua in a proposed Treaty settlement, says former Defence Minister Wayne Mapp.

Dr Mapp, the North Shore MP at the time, says he briefed the Takapuna-Devonport Local Board - an arm of the Auckland Council - last April about the planned sale and lease-back by the navy of its HMNZS Philomel base at Narrow Neck.

"I mentioned it to the local board in April last year but I don't think they took on board what I was saying," says Dr Mapp.

The subsequent signing of the Ngati Whatua deed of settlement and tabling in Parliament of enabling legislation in February have sparked community outrage spearheaded by local board chairman Chris Darby.

The Auckland Council and Mayor Len Brown have joined the fight, citing lack of consultation and an earlier act of Parliament which enshrined the base's reserve status.

The planned law change will remove the 3.2ha base from the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act - which provided for it to be added to the adjoining Fort Takapuna headland park if the navy ever vacates.

Mr Darby said he was "absolutely astounded" by Dr Mapp's claim.

He said he had no recollection of the base being mentioned as part of the Treaty settlement. "It was always understood that settlement for Ngati Whatua would involve Defence residential housing stock but there was never any suggestion that Narrow Neck was in the deal."

He has previously criticised the secrecy surrounding the deal, saying the only consultation was a confidential briefing to the Hauraki Gulf Forum last April.

Under the agreement, Ngati Whatua will pay the Crown $13 million for the base, which the navy will use for officer training and other activities for at least 15 years.

- NZ Herald

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