January 27, 2016
Stormy waters for Shelly Bay proposal
At a rowdy hui today, the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust has presented its case for selling its largest asset.
The trust needs to win 75 percent support from Taranaki Whanui members sell former defence land alongside Wellington Harbour to developer Ian Cassells’ Wellington Company.
Waatea editor Adam Gifford says the trustees at Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt struggled to deliver their presentations in the face of disruptive questions from opponents of the sale, led by former trustee Catherine Love.
The land was bought in 2009 with treaty settlement funds in the expectation it would be jointly developed with filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson.
But there was no plan B when Sir Peter walked away, for what trust chair Neville Baker said was good reason.
He said the trust was limited in what it could say about the history because of suppression orders for matters still before the courts.
The run down property has drained trust resources since that point, and contributed to a decline of at least $12 million in the value of the settlement over the past six years.
Selling the land will allow the trust to pick up properties for sale and lease back, such as the grounds of Wellington Girls high School, and to exercise its right of first refusal when surplus crown properties come up for sale.
The Wellington Company deal would also give the trust a share of the profits of the proposed $250 million development.
In response to charges the trust was selling the tribe’s turangawaewae, new trustee and Wellington Tenths Trust chair Morrie Love said the Mirimar Peninsula was not part of the original New Zealand company purchase the tenths stems from, and Taranaki Whanui had no ancestral connection to the land.
There’s another hui at Pipitea marae tomorrow, and one in Auckland next Wednesday evening.
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