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3rd Waitara Report: Public Encouraged to Have Say

Public Encouraged to Have Their Say on Third Waitara Report

More details have been released by the New Plymouth District Council on issues around its proposal to return council-owned land to Waitara tangata whenua.

Tonight (TUESDAY) the council accepted a third report on the proposed return of land, with public submissions now being called.

“What this report does is answer questions that were raised during the second round of public hearings, held in July,” says chief executive Rodger Kerr-Newell.

“At this stage the council is no closer to making a final decision on whether or not to return the land to tangata whenua, or enable leaseholders to buy their properties, or retain the status quo. It first wants to hear from the public – leaseholders, Maori, and residents throughout the district – about what they think of the issues raised in this third report.

“It’s very important that as many people as possible have their say on this report. The more feedback the council gets, the more information they will have about the community’s desires before they sit down in March to make their final decision on this issue.”

The council has been considering the future of council-owned land in Waitara since November last year, when the first discussion document was released to the public.

Since then there has been a second report and two rounds of public consultation and hearings.

In August the council made a preliminary decision to facilitate the opportunity for about 179 hectares of council-owned land to be owned by tangata whenua. Mayor Peter Tennent said that the challenge for the council was to find a win-win for all the community.

This third report reviews a number of areas, including:

How lease conditions would be protected if the council’s preliminary decision is ratified.

Which parks, reserves and council-used land the council might want to keep.

Various financial issues.

A proposed draft bill.

A list of council-owned land in Waitara.

Copies of the report are available from the council.

The public will be able to make submissions until 5pm Monday March 1. Public hearings will be held on March 10-12, and the council will meet to make its final decision on March 30.

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