8 Nov 2010

Council considers legal action over occupation

9:30 pm on 8 November 2010

Far North District Council is to look at legal action to evict a Maori group reoccupying land at a Northland yacht club.

The group's action forced the cancellation of children's sailing lessons for the summer.

The council is also talking to police.

The council's communications manager, Alison Lees, says the group's action is taking place at the same time as the protesters' elders are negotiating a Treaty settlement that excludes the return of council land.

Ms Lees says the protesters' action is not only pointless but is hurting the community.

The Ngati Kahu group reoccupied a council reserve at Taipa and set up camp next to Taipa Sailing Club.

The group says the land was dishonestly acquired by the Government

but cannot be claimed back through the Treaty process because it is in council hands.

It reoccupied the land beside the club on Friday afternoon.

Sailing club commodore Dean Luhtze says about 15 protesters told him they will not allow access to the building where the club keeps its small boats and sails.

The club was due to begin its annual 10-week learn-to-sail course for youngsters last weekend, but has had to cancel the popular programme.

Mr Luhtze says the 10-week course is booked out every year and is the club's main fundraiser.