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At least be honest that you’re evicting the birds

21 June 2017 Save Our Reserves media release

At least be honest that you’re evicting the birds

The Point England Development Enabling Bill is being debated in its final stages this week in Parliament. National is trying to have its cake and eat it too by saying that this Bill will provide more housing at the same time as protecting the dotterel nesting on the land.

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith said in his Second Reading speech that “both Ngati Paoa and the Auckland Council are totally committed to their (the dotterel’s) future”.

However an official response from Conservation Minister Maggie Barry this week makes it clear this is not the case. She said “…the proximity of houses and recreational activities at Point England make it unsuitable as a breeding site.” That response suggests that the Government is quite satisfied to eliminate the dotterel nesting sites altogether in favour of more housing and active recreation.

Experts disagree with Minister Barry that the proximity of houses and recreational activity is currently a problem at the site.

Ngati Paoa Iwi Trust made much of their kaitianga role in their written submission to the Select Committee including that they would ensure their master plan “provides an enhanced habitat for tuturiwhatua (dotterel) and other birdlife”, “management of tuturiwhatua breeding sites”; and “monitoring nests and protecting from predators and pedestrians”. Yet in their oral submission, the Trust talked of removing cattle and fences and replacing sports fields – without saying that these actions would remove the last dotterel habitat/nesting sites. Seems like the Trust is trying to have its cake and eat it too.

Minister Smith’s amendment to the Bill passed last night requires Auckland Council to replace the sports fields his Bill takes away. Guess where? On the headland, the site of the remaining dotterel nests.

The Trust continues to refuse to engage with the local community despite initial promises for meaningful engagement and their own adage ‘Listen to the needs of the people, so that you can respond to them’.


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