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15 Year Foreshore Occupation Ends Today

6 December 2004

15 Year Foreshore Occupation Ends Today

A 15 year occupation of reclaimed land on Mangere’s foreshore will finally be brought to end after a lengthy and expensive legal process.

Manukau City Council and Police arrived at Mona Ave at 8am this morning to remove Mr Chris Murray, the sole occupier, and all the illegal buildings and structures.

The Environment Court granted Council permission to move in and clear the site if it wasn’t cleared voluntarily within four weeks of the decision. The decision was released by the Court on 2 November 2004 and served on Mr Murray with a letter, asking him to remove all his personal belongings and other valuables off the site voluntarily to enable Council to implement the Court’s order.

The removal operation was kept confidential until after 9am this morning to ensure a speedy removal process.

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says he is outraged at the length of time and cost involved in removing the dilapidated buildings.

“It’s outrageous that one individual can use the law as a stalling process while the ratepayer foots the $180k bill to have this matter resolved. The fact that we were shackled by the law from acting swiftly is also a major concern to me,” said Sir Barry.

“The only positive to come out of this is that the area, which has a spectacular view of the Manukau harbour, can now be reinstated to its natural state and will be maintained by Council as a reserve for everyone to enjoy,” he said.

Everything removed from site will be taken to the landfill. Council says it could take the contractor up to three days to remove all the buildings and clear the land.


Timeline of events:

1989 – An individual moves on to two hectares of reclaimed land in Mangere and begins a silent occupation of the area.

1996 - Council first notified of an illegal occupation by a neighbour concerned about the state of the land.

1997 - 2000 Council seeks legal opinion to determine ownership of the land and Council’s ability to take enforcement action under Resource Management Act and District Plan. During this time the external appearance of the land had deteriorated as a result of accumulation of derelict vehicles and organic and inorganic matter.

2001- A decision on who owns the land and Council’s ability to take enforcement action is issued by the Environment Court. The Crown was deemed to be the owner. Land Information New Zealand is the administrator of the land.

2001 (July) - Council issues an Abatement Notice to the land occupier, requiring him to remove all derelict vehicles, illegal fill deposits, illegal buildings and structures, and organic and inorganic matter and to cease further unauthorised land use activities.

2001 (September to December) - Increase in illegal activities happening at the site including significant additional volumes of soil trucked onto the area, more derelict vehicles being stored and more illegal structures erected. Council’s various letters to the land occupier requiring him to cease the activities and seek appropriate consents went ignored.

2001 (October) - Council applies to Environment Court for enforcement orders for breach of the abatement notice.

2002 (January) - Environment Court issues the enforcement orders, giving the land occupier six months to comply with the abatement notice. The orders were promptly served on the land occupier.

2002 (August) - Council applies to the Environment Court for the right to enter the land and undertake the works required by the enforcement orders.

2002 (October) - Environment Court says Council can move onto the site and remove all derelict vehicles, illegal fill material, and accumulation of organic and inorganic matter. The decision does not give express permission to remove the illegal buildings.

2002 (December) - Council enters the land with the co-operation of the land occupier’s representative and removes all derelict vehicles, illegal fill deposits, and organic and inorganic matter. A contractor was engaged to undertake the work.

2003 (August) - Council applies to the Environment Court for enforcement orders requiring the land occupier to remove all illegal buildings and other structures.

2004 (February) - Environment Court issues the orders, giving the land occupier until 31 August 2004 to remove all illegal buildings and other structures.

2004 (September) - Council applies to Environment Court for order to enter the land and implement the enforcement orders after the land occupier failed to comply.

2004 (November) - Environment Court gives permission for Council to enter the land and remove all illegal buildings and other structures. The order was issued on 2 November and served on the land occupier on 4 November.

2004 (December) - Council meets with all the appropriate authorities and decides to enter the land to implement the Environment Court’s latest order without delay to bring this enforcement matter to a close.


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