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Men's Prison Go-Ahead Shocks Farming Neighbours


For immediate release 7 May 2003

MEN'S PRISON GO-AHEAD SHOCKS FARMING NEIGHBOURS

Councils have given permission for the locally-unwanted South Auckland men's prison to go ahead on a farm site miles south of Auckland in North Waikato.

Waikato District Council representative Nath Pritchard dropped the bombshell at a Te Kauwhata community meeting last night. The decision was made at a combined hearings between his Council, represented by independent commissioners, and Environment Waikato, the regional authority.

Neighbouring property owner Lyn Milnes said the prison was brought into the area by an earlier plan to allow a big Auckland dump in to the next door property, which lowered land values and provided a precedent.

"Now all the neighbours are either moving out or facing massive losses in value to their properties, because nobody wants to live next door to a dump and a prison."

"I had a valuation done recently and my property is worth less than was paid for it eleven years ago," she said.

"Besides the hundreds of dump trucks a day, there will now be more hundreds of prison vehicles and prison visitors going along our quiet country road," she said. "Our activities will be in full view of prisoners and their visitors, giving security concerns, and from all accounts we will suffer thefts and people crossing our land to hide caches of drugs for inmates to collect later. Noise and light and litter will alter our quiet area forever."

She said her farming neighbours were devastated, and some had placed their farms on the market.

Residents have spent months opposing the scheme, with hearings at Council level taking all the early part of this year.

"The social community atmosphere around here has fallen apart for the last six years, since the Auckland dump announced its plans," she said.

Mrs Milnes, who made a submission against the prison stressing her security concerns, said that among unpleasant events of the last few years she had suffered written legal financial threats from the prison authorities about what they would do if she opposed their scheme in court, statements from Corrections that they would try to prevent new people moving into the area, gossip and rumours, and a heavy load of paperwork from the prison proposal following straight on from another heavy workload from the dump proposal.

A letter from Corrections Department lawyers had told her in January they would try to reverse an existing subdivision on her property if she opposed them, and it also said they would oppose all subdivisions in the neighbourhood, she said.

Immediate neighbours of the site expect to get written notice of the decision later today giving them the exact terms of the consent.

MOST AFFECTED NEIGHBOURS INCLUDE:

LYN MILNES PHONE 07 826 3080 DAVID SAXTON PHONE 07 826 3458 PAM AND RANDALL CATHCART PHONE 07 826 3170 WENDY FINLAYSON, "Horse About", PHONE 07 826 3458

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