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Auckland Coastal Park Praised By Wellingtonians

Auckland Coastal Park Gift Highlights Wellington Coastal Privatisation Misjudgement

6 October 2005

Wellington conservation society the Southern Environmental Association (SEA) today praised the Auckland Regional Council and benefactors Pierre and Jackie Chatelanat for the "wonderful gift" of coastal land at Kaipara Harbour to the public for the creation of a new coastal regional park.

"This wonderful news from Auckland serves to highlight the extreme misjudgment of Wellington City Council last week in voting to sell off public coastal land on Wellington's South Coast to private developers for housing development", says SEA Chairperson June Epsom.

"The contrast could not be greater.

"In Auckland, the Regional Council and the Chatelanats are providing for future generations by protecting coastal land in public ownership for all New Zealanders to enjoy.

"But in Wellington, the majority group on the City Council is putting the interests of private developers ahead of the public interest, by seeking to privatise coastal land at the gateway to the new reserve at Owhiro Bay, says June Epsom.

"The Chatelanats have been described as "highly intelligent, highly sophisticated, refined, and extremely generous" because of their decision to secure the permanent protection of this coastal land in public ownership. Wellington City Council can only be described in the opposite terms, because of its insane decision to sell off part of the South Coast reserve area.

"In Wellington, if the sale decision is not reversed, we will see millionaire mansions on land which the community had always fought hard to become the gateway to the wonderful South Coast reserve," says June Epsom.

In the 1990s, SEA led the very costly and exhausting community battle against Wellington City Council and the giant Holderbank/Milburn company for the quarrying of the coast to end and a reserve to be created. As soon as the land came into public ownership, the community requested that the whole land be given formal reserve status.

"This land would still be an ugly quarry site devastating our environment if it wasn't for the volunteer efforts of the SEA and others in our community. It is unbelievable that after only 5 years in public ownership, a group on the Council is now seeking to sell off part of this iconic new coastal reserve into private hands," says SEA secretary Robert Logan.

"Wellingtonians value their coastal reserves just as much as Aucklanders. The Wellington City Council has got a fight on its hands if it persists with this misjudged sale proposal" said Mr Logan.

ENDS

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