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Waitakere Ranges Bill essential

21 April 2005

Waitakere Ranges Bill essential to defend the rights of the majority against the greed of a few

A packed meeting of 800 on Wednesday night signalled massive support for Bob Harvey and the Waitakere City Councillors who favour the proposed Waitakere Ranges National Heritage Bill. The high turn-out gave substance to the four opinion polls which have, over the last 12 months, shown consistent majority support for the Bill from Waitakere landowners, residents, and people across the Auckland region.

Local community groups, worn out by the time and cost of fighting endless proposals for inappropriate development, called urgently for Waitakere City to send the Bill to Parliament. Well-known people including Sir Edmund Hillary, Michael Jones, the Topp Twins, Graeme Dingle and Kevin Ireland also endorse the Bill, which enjoys the unanimous support of the ARC Councillors and the region’s elected MPs as well as Forest & Bird, the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society and the Environmental Defence Society.

"The Bill is essential to protect the rights of the majority of residents, who want to keep the rural character of their neighbourhoods, against the greed of a few developers who want profit at all costs," said Tony Lile founding chair of the Henderson Valley Residents Association, the meeting hosts. "One case alone cost us over $50,000," he said, "We just can’t keep fighting them off for ever." John Edgar, President of the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society, said $2.5million worth of time had been spent by Society volunteers to combat inappropriate development and subdivision in the Ranges.

Waitakere City Councillors will vote on the boundary for the protected area on 4th May and on 24th May will decide whether to send the Bill to Parliament, where it will be open for further submissions and select committee hearings in West Auckland.

The meeting was held at Henderson High School on Wednesday 20th April.
For meeting on the Waitakere Ranges protection project to date visit www.waitakere.govt.nz

The Waitakere Ranges Protection Society is a community-based organisation with a membership of over 600 individuals and families.

It is an incorporated society. It has been in existence since 1973 and in that time has campaigned for the preservation and restoration of the Ranges through direct action in restoration planting, weed control, through interventions on both planning matters and on public works which threatened the integrity of the area.

Achievements include initiating and helping secure major additions to Waitakere parkland, such as the Pae O Te Rangi, Pauroa and Lake Wainamu reserves, defending large areas of bushland from subdivision, preventing three rubbish dumps in the Ranges, helping restore the Historic Winchelsea House at Karekare, commissioning numerous ecological studies of the Ranges and obtaining protection for the Ranges through improved zoning. The Society’s Patrons are Dr John Morton, Professor Richard Bellamy and the Rt Hon. Jonathan Hunt. www.waitakereranges.org.nz

ENDS

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