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Westhaven must stay in public hands


Westhaven must stay in public hands, says North Shore City

North Shore City Council says Westhaven Marina should stay in public hands forever.

At its meeting this week, the council's strategy and finance committee expressed concern that the sale of Westhaven marina proposed by Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL) - the publicly-listed owner of the site - could lead to more intensive residential development, or be sold to overseas interests.

POAL has advertised the site for sale, as it "no longer represents an investment in the core business strategy of the company" and put it out to international tender. At present, Infrastructure Auckland (IA) holds 80 per cent of POAL's shares with the remaining 20 per cent owned by private investors (5700 shareholders).

Committee chairperson Tony Holman says the POAL move flies in the face of the prevailing community view that Westhaven Marina should be held in public ownership as a regional recreational asset for future generations.

"We will be writing to Ports of Auckland as well as IA and its electoral college to let them know in no uncertain terms where we stand on the issue," Councillor Holman says. "Our council was unanimous on this".

"Westhaven Marina was created by the old Auckland Harbour Board for the people of this region. It's a community asset and should remain so," he says.

The issue will also be raised at the next meeting of the Auckland Mayoral Forum of which North Shore City mayor George Wood is the immediate past chairman. Mr Wood is on record as wanting to keep the land in public ownership in perpetuity and he will argue the case again with his mayoral counterparts including Manukau's Sir Barry Curtis who chairs IA's electoral college.

There is a second and much smaller marina, called the Hobson West Marina, which is also up for sale this year. This marina is owned by Downtown Marinas Limited, which is 100 per cent owned by POAL. North Shore City Council will investigate the background to the Hobson West Marina to assess whether it too should remain in public ownership.

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