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Council looking at benefits following purchase

27 May 2004

Council looking at public benefits following marina purchase

Auckland city residents and ratepayers can expect to see improvements to public access and amenities now they are the new owners of Westhaven and Hobson West marinas.

The Auckland City Council said today that it had purchased the marinas and confirmed the previously publicised price of $46 million (plus book debts and other adjustments, totalling approximately $3.5 million).

The council’s Waterfront Working Party made the final purchase decision following a month of public consultation and negotiations. Working Party chairperson Councillor Scott Milne said today:

“Auckland city’s residents and ratepayers can now act as guardians of one of the most beautiful parts of the city’s waterfront real estate. We’ve had approaches from a number of parties interested in managing the marina business and, once these arrangements are fully explored, the council will be focusing its efforts on the public, land-based area.

“This will include looking at the public boat ramp, the neglected small beach area and the public walkways.”

The council also confirmed today that its shares in Auckland International Airport Ltd will not be used to fund the marina purchase and rates income would not be used to run the marina business.

The marina purchase is the first project to benefit from the city council taking a greater role in urban development throughout the city.

After a month of public consultation the council adopted a new policy entitled Development with Vision on 13 May. The council will now set up a new development enterprise board to implement a development strategy set by councillors.

The Government announced last month that it would purchase Westhaven and Hobson West marinas from Ports of Auckland Ltd for $54 million to ensure they remained in public ownership. This arrangement was on the understanding that Auckland City would then buy the marinas from the Government for the council’s original tender price.

Initial due diligence indicates the marinas are essentially self-funding which is why Auckland City does not need to sell the airport shares or use rates funding to buy or maintain the marinas.

If additional land is purchased under the Development with Vision policy, the council will need to consider funding options including debt, income from the property purchased and equity including possible asset sales. It is possible that the airport shares, currently valued at around $250 million, may be used to fund future property purchases to facilitate quality urban development in the city. This will depend entirely on the properties the council purchases.

ENDS

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