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Mayor gives conditional support to maunga deal

2 September 2011

Mayor gives conditional support to maunga deal

The Mayor is welcoming an agreement that will see some of Auckland’s volcanic cones being co-managed by Auckland Council and iwi as part of the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process.

Len Brown’s comments follow a briefing to the council’s governing body by the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Chris Finlayson.

“This agreement is an important step in our national building process,” says the Mayor.

The agreement transfers ownership of at least eleven of Auckland maunga (volcanic cones) to iwi represented by the Tamaki Collective. It also establishes a co-governance structure. The maunga will be co-governed by a statutory board comprising membership from the Tamaki Collective and Auckland Council.

“We are supportive of an agreement being reached that will not disadvantage the people and ratepayers of Auckland,” says Len Brown.

“We acknowledge the place of the volcanic cones as unique and iconic of Auckland, the love and respect that our citizens have for them and the place that they have in our communities. We also acknowledge the Crown’s recognition of the spiritual, ancestral, cultural, customary and historical interests of iwi and hapu in the maunga.”

The agreement includes a feasibility study into applying for UNESCO World Heritage status.

“The achievement of World Heritage status for this iconic and beloved field is something I find extremely attractive and would throw up many benefits for this city,” says Len Brown.

The Mayor says the council anticipates an agreement would lead to a different approach to maintenance and protection of the cones over the long term, enhancing these unique geological maunga.

Len Brown is stressing his determination that the proposed co-governance arrangement must protect the rights of all Aucklanders. The Mayor also says that the cost of the new management structure should not be a burden on ratepayers.

He is cautioning the Minister that the council and Aucklanders have “serious concerns” about how the changes would translate into a working partnership.

The terms of the settlement are still unclear and a council political working party has been formed to look at specific issues including:

• Which cones should be included?
• Who will pay for the establishment and ongoing costs of the co-governance body?
• Should co-governance extend to council-owned land?
• Who will pay the costs of restoration and for increased levels of service for the cones?
• What technical issues are involved – such as reservoirs and other infrastructure?

The working party will recommend a position for the council to consider for a response to the Minister.

The Mayor says that the Crown’s timeframe is extremely short given the complexity of the issues under consideration and the need to consult with other stakeholders, where appropriate.

ENDS

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