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Labour Poised To Break Deal On Cup Village

Hon Dr Nick Smith MP
National Party Environment Spokesman

06 August 2004

Labour poised to break deal on Cup Village

National MP Nick Smith is outraged that contractual commitments he made as Minister of Conservation over the ownership of the America's Cup Village are to be overturned by the Government's Foreshore and Seabed Bill.

"The Foreshore and Seabed Bill breaks a deal I struck with Sir Peter Blake and the America's Cup Village to enable the Viaduct Basin to be redeveloped. It will devalue an important ratepayer asset by millions of dollars, and will undermine investment in facilities on the site for future regattas," says Dr Smith.

Dr Smith, as Conservation Minister, concluded negotiations with the Auckland City Council and the Auckland Regional Services Trust for the America's Cup Village Ltd to receive a 99-year lease with a commitment that, following settlement of iwi claims freehold title would be provided at no further cost.

An earlier proposal for a 50-year lease was found to be financially unviable. The Government's Foreshore and Seabed legislation prohibits any interest in land exceeding a 50-year lease and effectively nullifies the contractual commitment.

"The Government has been so keen to placate Maori with this Bill that it has forgotten about the ratepayers of Auckland. It is an error of judgment to solve one grievance by creating another.

"The losers in this will be Auckland ratepayers who have invested over $66 million in the Viaduct Basin facility.

"The Bill is an insult to the memory of Sir Peter Blake who helped facilitate the negotiations for Auckland to gain this wonderful asset.

"The Government must rethink this law and deliver on the deal that was entered into in good faith," says Dr Smith.


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