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Legal challenge a brave and worthwhile step

23 November 2006

Win or lose, legal challenge a brave and worthwhile step

The Green Party today applauded the legal challenge to the rushed decision-making process for the waterfront stadium, and welcomed the sympathy being expressed for the plaintiffs by one of the targets of the litigation, the Auckland Regional Council.

"The legal challenge arose as a consequence of Auckland University law professor Bill Hodge getting involved with the public meeting in Auckland last Sunday, that I co-hosted with Act leader Rodney Hide," Auckland-based Greens MP Keith Locke says.

"Since then, the Greens and Act have continued to work together to put the plaintiffs in contact with Rodney Harrison QC - who is handling the proceedings in court - and to ensure that the legal challenge could be filed in time.

"The legal challenge is necessary. Auckland's civic leaders have been handed a ridiculous two week timeframe to make a monumental decision that will impact on the city's economy, the viability of its ports and the nature of the harbour environment for generations to come.

"The decision timetable not only makes a mockery of democratic process - it may well be illegal, given the requirements for consultation set out in the Local Government Act. That is what will be tested today in court.

"Even if the legal challenge fails, it will have been a worthwhile test. The Government has forced Auckland local body politicians to reach a crucial decision in haste, and within a virtual information vacuum.

"The plaintiffs have public opinion on their side, and I applaud the sense of civic duty that has led them to put their names forward and mount this brave attempt to bring some sanity and measured deliberation to the stadium decision.

"I would also like to thank Rodney Hide, who has given solid support on this issue ever since we first discussed the idea of us both mounting a joint campaign against the waterfront stadium."


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