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Government's purchase of Waikawau Bay welcomed

Government's purchase of Waikawau Bay welcomed

The Environmental Defence Society, a legal action group for the environment, has welcomed the announcement that the Government has purchased the University of Auckland's Waikawau Bay property for public reserve purposes.

The 150-hectare Waikawau Bay property was gifted to the University of Auckland by American banker Paul Kelly with the proceeds from the sale to be used for its proposed business school. The value of the donation will be matched by a 1:1 subsidy from the government's Partnerships for Excellence scheme.

EDS led the campaign to have the coastal headland at Waikawau Bay bought by the Department of Conservation and added to its existing 1000-hectare reserve.

"We're delighted with the outcome," said EDS Chairman Gary Taylor.

"This is a win-win outcome. It's a win for the University of Auckland, which has realised the value of the gift of the land for its Business School. I know that the original donor is very pleased with the outcome.

It's an especially good win for the public of New Zealand. The last piece of the last undeveloped bay on the Coromandel Peninsula is now protected in perpetuity.

"The headland consists of a significant piece of rare remnant coastal forest and forms the northern end of the bay. Its landscape values are simply outstanding.

"We're very grateful to the Minister of Conservation, Hon Chris Carter, and to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Helen Clark. Without their support this could not have happened.

"We do think however that there is a clear need to review government policy regarding land sales. We would strongly support a policy that gave DOC a right of first refusal whenever government departments or related agencies sell land.

"We also think the burgeoning value of coastal land requires a review of the level of funding for the Nature Heritage Fund," Mr Taylor concluded.

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