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Marine Ind. Fight For Survival At Westhaven

Media Statement

Support Swings in behind Marine industries' fight for survival at Westhaven

Opposition to proposals for the redevelopment of the land between Westhaven Marina and Viaduct Harbour is growing fast.

The Westhaven-Viaduct Tenants and Ratepayers Association has brought its annual meeting forward to develop a campaign to persuade Auckland City Council to strengthen the 'marine uses only' zoning currently covering most of the area.

The members only meeting, which will be held at the Ponsonby Cruising Club at 5.30pm on Tuesday September 17 is expected to approve various initiatives, including fundraising, and the formation of a campaign task force.

Chairman Lloyd Klee says the suggested rezoning for the area, which will allow office, apartments and restaurants to displace a world class cluster of marine industries, will mainly benefit wealthy land owners wanting to increase land values still further. This had to be balanced against the needs of the region which benefits from the overseas funds, earnings and job creation of the marine, Fishing and other Port related industries.

Mr Klee said that as a result of recent publicity support is flooding in from boating industry organisations, boat builders and boat owners throughout Auckland, who want the western reclamation adjoining Westhaven to remain as the hub for boat servicing.

"Auckland City Council set up the special marine/Port related zone in this area - now it needs to have the courage to defend it," he said.

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Mr Klee says the Association will campaign on a number of grounds, including:-

* The marine servicing industry needs to be at the waterfront - a key feature in attracting overseas vessels to refit here - servicing boats from Westhaven and other marinas, the fishing industry and charter boat operators, as well as Viaduct Harbour and the America's Cup bases.

* Marine services at the waterfront go hand-in-hand with the new boat building cluster of industries taking shape at Hobsonville. Each will feed off the other.

* Putting 20,000 new people in the area as a result of redevelopment will create major traffic issues, and residential and office use will be an uncomfortable fit with heavy traffic and noise inevitably associated with marine servicing activities.

* Much of the ground in the area is contaminated and unsuited to residential, office and restaurant use.

* Job losses across Auckland would follow the destruction of the marine activities in the area, including the import of raw materials used by the marine and many other manufacturing industries.

* Offices, apartments and cafes can be built anywhere in Auckland.

Mr Klee said these issues had not been properly thought through in preparing redevelopment proposals which were superficially attractive but would have a major negative impact on the city.

"I wonder how many Aucklanders realise that many of America's Cup syndicate bases are to be flattened to make way for apartments. Developers proposals to have the adjoining land re-zoned so that this can also happen to the marine industries cannot be allowed to happen."

"When we present the facts, I doubt that Auckland City Council will want to be party to destroying a cluster of marine businesses whose excellence is recognised around the world."

"This flies in the face of national and local attempts to build up clusters of manufacturing excellence in fields where New Zealand excels, and which earn export dollars and create jobs."

Mr Klee said that the Association will be supportive of genuine improvements in the area but will strongly resist any proposals to restrict the ability of the marine service industries to function effectively.

(Issued by the Westhaven - Viaduct Tenant and Ratepayers Association Inc, on Thursday September 11 for further information call Mr Klee on 309 9111 or 021 938 565)


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