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Questions And Answers On Hobsonville

21 November 2000

1. Has the Government done a secret deal?

The work being done by the Ministry of Economic Development in attempting to facilitate access to the Base has been widely publicised by the NZ Herald; (ref: “New Ministry eyeing deep-water port for Hobsonville” [21 August 2000], “Yacht base at Hobsonville offers 500 jobs” [21 August 2000], “Change for Hobsonville Air Base” [23 August 2000] and “Super-yachts to replace aircraft at Hobsonville” [24 August 2000].

More recently, on Thursday 16 November 2000, the Waitakere City Council, in a public meeting, considered a publicly available report on issues relating to the Hobsonville base which clearly set out the process it intends to adhere to.

The Ministry of Economic Development has also discussed the project and the facilitation role the Ministry of Economic Development would play a number of months ago with Mr Tiwana Tibble, of Ngati Whatua.

Where has Mr Neeson, MP for Waitakere been all this time?

2. Have any guarantees been given by the Government to the overseas super-yacht company?

No. The Government has been at pains to stress, most recently in the press release of Tuesday morning (21 November 2000), that the NZDF will rigidly adhere to the long-standing statutory and Cabinet-directed land disposal processes. This includes adhering to the offer-back requirements of the Public Works Act, if an offer-back is required.

The interest that the company has apparently secured has been obtained independently of any Crown-disposal process, by way of an option with a party the company considers to be a successor to a former owner. A company using its commercial initiative to attempt to gain a strategic foothold is neither unusual nor exclusively available to this company.


3. What then has the Ministry of Economic Development been doing?

In general, the disposal of Crown-owned land is a long and complex process. In recognition of the possibility to realise the huge potential of the disposal of the Hobsonville base to deliver substantial economic and regional benefits for the west Auckland region, the Ministry of Economic Development will work closely with the NZDF to assist it in facilitating the disposal process. This meant having departments co-operate together, work harder and quicker to achieve an outcome for the benefit of the entire country.


4. Is the company concerned owned by a foreigner?

No. Mr Bill Lloyd, owner of Sovereign Yachts, is a New Zealander who wishes to re-locate his company back to New Zealand, and in doing so, create jobs and generate significant export earnings.


5. Is preference being given to this company above local boat-building companies?

No. The disposal process prevents any preference from being given to any party.

In addition, in order to ensure that access to the essential facility for boat-builders (the ‘hard-stand’ area and ramp into deep water) does not fall under the control of one party, it is not being considered as a part of this disposal process. Local boat builders have been discussing the whole issue with the Minister of Economic Development Jim Anderton and are supportive of the steps being taken.


6. Does this work fit with the Waitakere City Council’s, and broader region’s vision for the base?

It is understood that the Waitakere City Council wishes to encourage the development of a mixed-use area with a marine village theme. This disposal, should the company secure the site, is completely consistent with such a vision and should set exactly the right tone for the future use of the base.

In addition, this disposal process provides a perfect opportunity to secure a corner-stone, marine-based development around which marine and other development-orientated options could occur as the balance of the base is progressively disposed of.


7. Will the sale of a small portion of the Base reap any economic benefits for the region?

Yes. The proposed project if it proceeded, would provide a significant economic boost to the Auckland region both in terms of hundreds of additional jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in export earnings. In addition, should the company gain access to the site, this could be expected to encourage the continued growth of the west Auckland yacht-building cluster.

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