Mayor receives petition opposing reserves’ sale
– The Times 1 March 2021
A group of passionate local residents battling to stop the sale of four east Auckland public reserves have shared their message with Auckland’s mayor.
Auckland Council wants to dispose of green spaces it owns at 111R Golfland Drive, 9R Fortyfoot Lane, 76R Aberfeldy Avenue and 31 Aspiring Avenue/17R Hilltop Road.
The Howick Local Board voted late last year to retain the reserves but the council’s finance and performance committee overrode it and voted to put them up for sale.
The move is part of an effort by the council to raise money through its emergency budget.
A lengthy legal process, which involves final signoff by the Government, must be worked through before the reserves can be sold.
Among the people opposing their sale are Botany MP Christopher Luxon, Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown and Howick ward councillors Sharon Stewart and Paul Young.
A group of east Auckland residents are doing what they can to stop the reserves from being sold.
They circulated a petition signed by people from more than 450 local households calling for them to be kept in public hands.
Five of those residents recently wrote to Auckland mayor Phil Goff to highlight their concerns regarding the sale of the reserve in Golfland Drive.
Goff wrote back to them on February 22 saying revocation of the parks’ Reserves Act status is among the statutory processes that must be completed before they can be sold.
“The revocation requires public consultation, which is scheduled to commence in the near future and provide 30 days for the public to provide feedback,” Goff says.
In his letter Goff also acknowledged receipt of the residents’ petition, which was given to him by Howick ward councillors Stewart and Young.
“I have passed this petition to the staff responsible for the management of the public consultation process so that it can be considered as formal feedback, before a final decision is made.”
A spokesperson for Conservation Minister Kiri Allan told the Times there is “quite a process” to go through before any decisions on revoking the parks’ reserve status are made.
“In considering the revocation and disposal of reserves the council is required to follow procedures set out in Section 24 of the Reserves Act, including an initial consultation with the Department of Conservation (DoC).
“Following that, if the council wants to proceed that decision will then need to be publicly notified.
“The council would then send a copy of any objection to DoC, with a resolution from council in relation to those objections.
“The final decision on whether to revoke the reservation has been delegated to officers in the department by the minister.
“The minister may decide to withdraw that delegation, however in most cases it is DoC that will make that decision only after careful consideration has been given to the purpose of the reserves, the content of any objections and council’s views in relation to the objections.”
The spokesperson says DoC’s decision will be based on the council’s report of its assessment of those objections.