In a death knell for local democracy, the Point England Development Enabling Bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday night with 62 votes in favour, 43 votes against and 14 abstentions.
“Local communities have been shut out of this process. They have written to the local MP to request a meeting, but were refused. Yet the local MP stood in the House and claimed to have met with locals who opposed the Bill. That’s not leadership, that’s arrogance” says Labour’s Maungakiekie candidate, Priyanca Radhakrishnan.
“My National Party opponent has also refused to front up and debate this issue or engage with locals on it. I’ve given her countless opportunities to do so – at public meetings or a public debate, but she has refused to show up on each occasion.”
Minister Smith’s obsession with the few cows that graze on a corner of Pt England reserve as justification for carving up the reserve for housing is a foolish and dangerous rationale.
“Lifting the reserve status of a park is not something that should be taken lightly, or pushed through parliament. This short-sighted Bill sets a dangerous precedent for the sale of public parks across New Zealand.
“In fact, there are cows, sheep and horses grazing on Auckland’s second largest public park – Cornwall Park – which is also in the Maungakiekie electorate. Is Nick Smith planning to sell parts of Cornwall Park as well?” asks Priyanca.
In a recent press release, the Minister from Nelson touted the fact that the Okura Creek is one of the “most polluted in Auckland”. The Okura Bush Scenic reserve and creek is an hour’s drive away from the Point England reserve. However, if the third reading debate is anything to go by – the Redvale community in the electorate of Rodney should get ready to have their reserve sold off by the government.
“Perhaps Nick Smith and the Prime Minister should visit Omaru Creek and the Point England reserve. It would be a great opportunity for the National Party to hear the community’s concerns first-hand, for the first time.”