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Citizens protest wharf extensions

Citizens protest wharf extensions

Some of New Zealand’s most prominent citizens in business, sport, the community and the professions have come out in support of halting any expansion to Auckland’s Bledisloe Wharf.

Led by industrialist Sir Stephen Tindall and Sir Peter Blake’s widow Lady Pippa Blake, the people have put their names to a full page open letter to Ports of Auckland in today’s (20 March) NZ Herald.

The letter urges the port company to ‘Stop Stealing Our Harbour’ saying planned 100m extensions to Bledisloe Wharf will destroy views of the Waitemata.

“Auckland Council and its tenant Ports of Auckland act as if Aucklanders don’t care about the harbour,” says Stop Stealing Our Harbour spokesperson Michael Goldwater. “Well we do and these names are just the tip of the iceberg of people who will stand up and be counted.”

The group is expecting more than 100 boats on the harbour at a maritime protest on Sunday (March 22, 3.30pm) supported by a similar land-based demonstration on Queens Wharf.

“Len Brown is ducking for cover,” Mr Goldwater says. “He has turned down the opportunity to explain himself by attending the protest rally. And he hasn’t assigned anyone to stand in for him. He has misread Aucklanders on this if he thinks we are about to let them steal our harbour.”

The open letter says in 2013 Mayor Len Brown committed to a study of the social, cultural, environmental and economic effects of Ports of Auckland’s place in the city and all work ‘must stop on the extensions until the study is complete’.

It says Ports of Auckland snuck through the wharf extension resource consent just before Christmas with no public notification and no public consultation. 

“The Bledisloe extensions are the thin end of the wedge,” says Stop Stealing Our Harbour spokesperson Michael Goldwater. “They open the way for the port company to later on ask for permission to fill in the fingers, permission that will be much easier to achieve if the extensions are completed.

“The Waitemata Harbour is one of Auckland’s greatest assets, one we hold in trust for future generations. Through the port’s actions it is now under further threat,” Mr Goldwater says.

The two-finger extensions to Bledisloe Wharf will project 100m in to the Waitemata Harbour and construction is due to begin next month (April).

 

In addition to Sir Stephen and Lady Pippa, the letter is signed by more than 100 prominent Aucklanders.They include former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry, yachting identities Chris Bouzaid, Chris Dickson, Peter Montgomery and Barbara Kendall, business people Gary Paykel, Geoff Ross and Rodney Wayne and musician Don McGlashan.

Stop Stealing Our Harbour protest details:

What: Maritime and land protest against Bledisloe Wharf extensions by Ports of Auckland

When: 3.30pm, Sunday March 22

Where: On the water muster opposite Bledisloe Wharf and then proceed past Queens

Wharf – listen on Channel 27 VHS

On Queens Wharf public gathering at 3.30pm

Who: Opponents to ports land grab including Auckland boating groups

About Stop Stealing Our Harbour:

Stop Stealing Our Harbour wants Ports of Auckland to halt all work on Bledisloe Wharf extensions until a complete Stage 2 study is complete. It is an advocacy group comprising representatives of boating, political, business, and professional organisations as well as lawyers and architects.

ends

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