Anti-competitive Valley Plaza Decision Appalling
"The backers of the Valley Plaza project should look overseas for places to invest their money," said Libertarianz spokesman Richard McGrath. He was reacting to the decision by the Environment Court to stymie a planned quarter of a billion dollar supermall project for Upper Hutt. "It should now be obvious to all New Zealanders, from Whitianga to Winton, that your property is not your own; that as long as the Resource Management Act requires the productive to ask permission from the unproductive, then we are all stuffed."
"This development would have created hundreds of jobs and improved the options available to shoppers from all over Wellington and the Wairarapa," he added. "I am disgusted that the spurious arguments put forward by Westfield, and the myopic views of Lower Hutt's mayor, were not laughed out of court." "Apparently, because this venture was thought to be a threat to other 'established businesses' in the area - in particular the Upper Hutt CBD several kilometres away, and Queensgate mall in Lower Hutt - it was killed off," McGrath said. "This smacks of cronyism and anti-competitive paranoia. I am especially disturbed by the arrogant comments of Westfield's development manager, who seems to be claiming that there was no demand for the proposed shopping centre."
"The people who might have used this mall would have decided whether there was a demand for it," McGrath continued. "Now they won't have the opportunity to do so. I suggest the people of the Hutt Valley boycott these corporate bullies, who run Lower Hutt's ageing Queensgate complex and the ghost town that was once Upper Hutt's central business district, and who have destroyed potential jobs and consumer choice."
"The people of Upper Hutt should give their quisling councillor, Heather Newell, the bum's rush for opposing this development. And I sincerely hope that Lower Hutt's mayor, a former Labour man now looking after the interests of his big business pals, gets his comeuppance at the next local body elections."
The Libertarianz deputy leader said only two parties have emerged from this sordid episode with any credit: Upper Hutt mayor Rex Kirton, who had backed the project while conceding that Upper Hutt's CBD is doomed; and the supermall backers themselves. "I hope the Valley Plaza group realise their dream of building a giant shopping mall somewhere, but as long as we have the backward-looking Resource Management Act presiding over just what a person or group can build on their own land with their own money, the future looks bleak for New Zealand property developers, and for all New Zealanders."
For further information please contact:
Richard McGrath * Libertarianz Deputy Leader * Fax (06) 377 3070 * firstname.lastname@example.org Or contect Libertarianz Media Coordinator at (09) 631 0034
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