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Proper Processes Followed At Hobsonville

18 April 2002

The disposal of land at Hobsonville air base has and will continue to follow the processes required under the law, Defence Minister Mark Burton said today.

"Despite being a former economics lecturer, Rodney Hide has displayed a disturbing ignorance of the processes required in the disposal of public land," Mark Burton said.

"The Government announced in August 2000 that Hobsonville air base was to be sold in stages, as parts of the property become surplus to defence needs.

"The subdivision plan – tabled by Mr Hide in Parliament today - was prepared in September 2000, as a prerequisite for declaring the land surplus in stages. Mr Hide may consider that sinister – it was not.

"In December 2000, a 4 hectare block was declared surplus to defence needs. In January 2001, the land was offered to the successors of the former owner, at the current market value - the higher of two valuations received from registered valuers. That offer was accepted.

"When the New Zealand Defence Force no longer needs a portion of land, it is sold in the manner and at the value that the Public Works Act requires.

"The letter from Cato Consultants - also tabled today by Mr Hide – misunderstood the process much in the way Mr Hide has – and that was made clear in the subsequent reply.

"As for Mr Hide's fanciful claims regarding the rest of Hobsonville Airbase - no final decisions have been taken on disposal, although it is my wish that this proceed as quickly as is possible.

"I can state unequivocally, that no "deal" has been done with anyone. Under the Public Works Act there is required to be consideration of other public works by the Crown and local authorities, before any land is considered for sale to former owners.

"The Air Force is in the process of vacating Hobsonville. To date a successful yacht-building business has been established, and there are plenty of innovative ideas for other parts of the land. This government supports development, while ACT and Rodney Hide want to destroy it," Mark Burton said.

Ends

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