Ngati Whatua may have been sold a pup by the Government with the inclusion of the officers and trade training school sites of the old Fort Cautley at Narrow Neck according to Andrew Williams, former Mayor of North Shore City and New Zealand First candidate for North Shore in the upcoming election.
“It is surprising to find that the land is included with the 250 Navy residential properties the Treaty settlement just announced by the Government,” said Mr Williams, “as the previous National Government’s plans to sell part of the former military camp land for high cost residential housing was challenged by community groups led by the Tamaki Reserve Protection Trust in 1997. This resulted in a High Court decision that the Government was unable to sell the land and it should revert to the public reserve that is the Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve in the hands of DOC and North Shore City Council. (now Auckland Council).”
“The announcement by the Minister of Defence and local North Shore MP Hon Wayne Mapp that there will be a 15 year lease back of the land by the Navy, and the fate at the end of the lease will be subject to public consultation is completely inadequate”, said the former North Shore Mayor. “The Government is heading into a mess with the Ngati Whatua Treaty Settlement involving the transfer of Navy land at Narrow Neck currently used for the Officer and Trades Training School.”
“Presumably the same legal principles of the previous High Court case apply to the remaining piece of the land, and the underlying right of the Government to sell the land to Ngati Whatua must be questioned.”
“There must be immediate public consultation over the land’s future and ultimate use to be fair to both the community and to Ngati Whatua. It would be entirely inappropriate with the sensitivities surrounding Treaty settlements for Ngati Whatua to be left fighting the Devonport community and Auckland Council over legality of title, land use, and heritage issues associated with the transfer of the land from the Government. They may wish to seek alternative compensation as part of the overall Treaty settlement on the table.”
“These issues must be faced up to now and the public must be fully informed of the details of the deal with Ngati Whatua and the impact on the Devonport community of the future intended use of all the ex-Navy land.”