Scoop News Backgrounder
On June 24, as the “I made it up” row was breaking in Parliament another story was breaking but did not receive a great deal of coverage.
MP for Te Tai Tonga, Tutekawa Wyllie warned there would be another “Bastion Point” at Paraparaumu Airport because of a “blatant land rip-off.” (See.. Scoop: Paraparaumu Airport - Another Bastion Point)
Yesterday Evening is comments proved prophetic as a large police contingent in riot gear moved onto the land in question to remove around 100 protestors who had erected tents to accommodate around 50 on the site.
Twenty seven of the occupiers were arrested and 60 were evicted from the protest camp. This morning the protestors will appear in court in Porirua. Scoop will bring full coverage of the operation later today.
The protestors complaint concerns the sale of the Paraparaumu Airport land to a property developer. The protestors say the land was originally taken under the Public Works Act, and should have been offered back to its original Maori owners.
Answering a ministerial question on the subject on June 24 Transport Minister Maurice Williamson said the background to the sale had been thoroughly investigated by several government agencies.
Question 11, June 24 (See.. Scoop: Questions Of The Day (8-12))
Tutekawa Wyllie to the
Minister of Transport Maurice Williamson:
Q: What are the Crown's obligations to Maori who have had land taken under the Public Works Act 1981 for the purpose of an aerodrome, once the land becomes surplus to requirements and is no longer used for the purpose for which it was taken?
A: If the Aerodrome Land was taken under the act the provisions generally applied are to offer the land back to the original owners. When land has been transferred to an Airport Company there is legislation that transfers the liability under the Public Works Act to the Airport Company.
Q: At the time Paraparaumu Airport was sold what attempt was made to contact the original owners. Particularly in light of the fact we may now have a Paikatore or Bastion Point on our hands.
A: Advice was sought on this from a number of ministries before the decision was made.
Q: What was NZ First's position on this when they were part of the government?
A: The Deputy PM Winston Peters was closely involved in the decision and I believe the land was transferred and the sale done in 1997. Section 40 contains the offer-back provisions. Section 41 contains provisions relating to Maori land. I can confirm that the proper procedures were followed and very serious advice was received.
(Tu Wyllie - Leave sought to table papers showing the decision was made in 1995 before NZ First was involved - granted. Jonathan Hunt - later -Wanted to table a document dated 11 August 1995 from Maurice Williamson saying the sale had then been concluded. - granted.)
Subsequently a skirmish appeared in the Scoop Parliament wire over the debate and particularly on the point of whether NZ First had been party to a decision to sell the land.
Te Tairawhiti MP, Tuariki Delamere, today noted that the belated stand by Tutekawa Wyllie and New Zealand First on the issue of Paraparaumu Airport was first an exercise in hypocrisy and second nothing more than electioneering.
New Zealand First Leader, Winston Peters claimed that two senior Government Ministers “colluded in straight out deception in the House today.”
In his original release Tutekawa Wyllie said concerning the dispute:
"The descendants of the original owners of the land the airport was built on have had more than enough.
"The land grabbed under the Public Works Act for the airport has been alienated once again from the Crown into private hands", said Mr Wyllie.
"The Crown and its agents Paraparaumu Airport Limited and KTS don't care that the original owners have never been given a fair go.
"The law and the politicians are all asses if honest law-abiding citizens like Te Whanau a Ngarara are not even given a proper deal.
"I call upon this House and particularly my fellow Maori MPs, including Mr Henare to right this grossly unacceptable injustice.
"The Minister of Transport, Maurice Williamson and his cohorts must not be allowed to get away with this", said Mr Wyllie.