7 Feb 2017

Local board fights Pt England development

6:36 am on 7 February 2017

Local representatives in east Auckland have joined opposition to a 300-house development planned for reserve land.

The area in red will be used for new homes under the plan for the Port England Reserve development.

The area in red will be used for new homes under the plan for the Point England Reserve development. Photo: Supplied

Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board wants to stop the Pt England Development Enabling Bill, saying it sets a dangerous precedent.

The bill would enable reserve land in Point England to be used to build 300 houses by the local iwi Ngāti Pāoa as part of its Treaty settlement.

Under the deal, the iwi would buy 12 hectares of the 45-hectare Pt England Reserve from the government at market value.

In its submission on the bill, the board said it supported Treaty settlements and Ngāti Pāoa's rights to use the land.

But it was "deeply concerned" the bill fast-tracked the development and avoided robust consultation, including a right of appeal.

The bill "cuts across the existing requirements of the Resource Management Act and the Reserves Act", the board said.

If the bill passed, the board wanted assurances that the environment and endangered shore birds would be protected, and that no sports fields would be taken for the development. Under current plans, one third of the fields would be lost.

The land, if sold, should only be sold to Ngāti Pāoa as part of its Treaty settlement or otherwise remain as reserve land, it said.

The board also wanted all the proceeds from the government's sale of the land to Ngāti Pāoa to go back into the local community for the development and enhancement of public open space.

Board chair Josephine Bartley said the board took the unprecedented step of making a separate submission to the council because of the level of concern in the community.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff had encouraged the board to make the submission, she said.

"The main concerns for the local board was the way that this has happened - the process, or lack of process, the lack of information [and] no public consultation with our community."

Former Housing Minister Nick Smith had not talked to residents before he made the announcement in December, she said.

"If there was public consultation the minister would have heard for himself from the people ... about how well used the sports fields are. We have groups like the Samoan community [who] have been playing kilikiti on those fields for the past 35 years."

Not all members of the board were opposed to the development but they were unhappy about the process, she said.

The Resource Management Act and the Reserves Act put protections in place for proposed developments, but the board believed the processes had been circumvented with a bill that would enable a parcel of land to be set aside and rezoned, Mrs Bartley said.

"If it happens here it will just happen in other parts of Auckland, where you might get a developer who wants to build on some land which is public land and won't want to go through public consultation, won't want to go through a process that allows a right of appeal, and will push for enabling development legislation to occur," she said.

More than 100 submissions have been made on the bill.

The Local Government and Environment Select Committee will hold hearings in Wellington and Auckland later this month.