Treaty settlement unworkable, unlawful; land battle to start

Press Release – Chris Darby

Following a meeting of the Office of Treaty Settlements, NZ Defence Force and Tamaki Reserve Protection Trust (TRPT) which I convened on Wednesday [February 22], the consequences of the Deed of Settlement between Ngati Whatua o Orakei and the Crown …24 February 2012

Treaty settlement “unworkable, unlawful”; land battle set to restart

Following a meeting of the Office of Treaty Settlements, NZ Defence Force and Tamaki Reserve Protection Trust (TRPT) which I convened on Wednesday [February 22], the consequences of the Deed of Settlement between Ngati Whatua o Orakei and the Crown are becoming ominously clear.

After examining the settlement proposal carefully, it has emerged that the Narrow Neck (Tamaki) land of 3.2 hectares, currently occupied by Navy, will pass into private ownership in perpetuity as economic redress for treaty claims.

The settlement, as it stands, will amend the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act and alienate future public access to the land.

The land in question forms a natural grandstand to the Hauraki Gulf. It is not viewed by our community as a mere economic asset as the Treaty settlement process considers it. The Tamaki land is a natural treasure that our community fought a battle for in 1996 and won against all odds.

At that time the High Court ruled that the government ministers of the day received incorrect advice in reaching their decision to sell the land. Sixteen years later it appears decisions are yet again being made based on poor advice.

The resolution of one historic grievance will reignite another.

At our Devonport-Takapuna Local Board meeting on Tuesday, 6 March, we will likely send a strong message to government and begin yet another battle to safeguard this historic land for all the people of Auckland. To ensure the public are fully and fairly informed, our Board will hold a public meeting shortly.

My concerns should in no way reflect on the hapu of Ngati Whatua o Orakei. The hapu are signatories to a settlement offer presented to them by the Crown with an understanding it can be translated into law and, in good faith, they accepted. I attended the signing of the Deed with Mayor Len Brown and support the intent of the settlement. Their grievances dating back to the nineteenth century are real and well documented, and must be resolved.

The proposed settlement as it relates to the Narrow Neck land appears unworkable and unlawful.

The Devonport-Takapuna Local Board will receive a full report to allow us to consider matters formally at our March 6 meeting.

I have invited the TRPT to address the meeting, an opportunity which any member of the public can take during the Public Forum – the first item on our agenda. Our meeting starts at 6pm and is held on Level 3 of the Takapuna Service Centre, The Strand.

Chris Darby
Chairperson
Devonport-Takapuna Local Board Auckland Council

ENDS

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