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Ngunguru Sandspit proposal inconvenient but true

Press release
Whangarei Green Party
December 3 2006

Ngunguru Sandspit proposal inconvenient but true

Landco's proposal for 350 dwellings on Ngunguru Sandspit is earning the property development company a new name - the Grinch who stole Christmas, says the Whangarei Green Party.

"It's really bad timing on their part - they've stolen a happy Christmas this year from a lot of local people who're now faced with preparing submissions opposing the plan, and raising money for experts to counter the company's evidence," said spokeswoman Moea Armstrong.

"However it's good timing in that locals will be able to call on the support of visitors to the area over the summer holidays, starting a nationwide campaign against the plan. Landco won't be surprised - it's a case of 'buyer beware', and they bought it knowing it was, among other things, classified as a wahi tapu area by the Historic Places Trust."

"The proposal does not comply with coastal zoning provisions so it should be straightforward for the council to reject it. Add to that the bizarre stipulation that dwellings would have to be built up to avoid sea rise projections and it's clear the Grinch's plan is based on huge profits built on nothing more than shifting sands."

The Al Gore climate change film "An Inconvenient Truth" is currently screening in Whangarei and Ms Armstrong recommended Landco planners take the opportunity to see it soon.

"The only good thing to come of this is that at last the protection that has been placed on the sandspit will be put to the test. The best outcome is for the Environment Court to reject the proposal outright, which should prompt the company to apply for an independent valuation of the land, and ask public bodies to buy them out on the grounds that the land cannot be reasonably used. There is provision in the Resource Management Act for this, for good reasons. The Greens will then work with the Government and local bodies to secure the land in public ownership."

"When it is clear that the land is so priceless to all that it's worthless to developers, that will be the time for a collective buyout at a mutually acceptable price to be arranged. The company could do us all - and itself - a big favour by instigating this process right now."

"The land is a battleground where many people died over the centuries - the Maori equivalent of the Battlefield of Culloden, which no-one would ever dream of subdividing. It's under claim and needs to be returned eventually to Te Waiariki with its ecological integrity intact."

"Māori have been pivotal in the legal protections to date and it's now time for the rest of the community to support them in their efforts to protect their ancestral land from exploitation."

Ends

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