Shelly Bay occupiers refusing to back down after court decision

Occupiers of Shelly Bay are refusing to back down in light of a court decision that delivered a win to the opposing side.
They are willing to do whatever needs doing, Mau Whenuas Catherine Love said, confirming the occupiers of the Miramar Peninsula site in Wellington were willing to be arrested if necessary. She said there were people on standby to return to bolster occupier numbers if moves were made to remove them.

She has previously said they were willing to stick it out for at least five years if needed.

[Occupiers] have given an undertaking, all actions will be peaceful and will not threaten the physical or spiritual wellbeing of others, she said, adding that there were still legal avenues being pursued.

The battle ground: Shelly Bay from above

Dr Love was speaking the day after a High Court decision that effectively made Mau Whenuas occupation, and its other actions, the only remaining barriers preventing the $500 million development going ahead.

* $500m Shelly Bay development clears significant hurdle in High Court
* Wellington councillors threatened over Shelly Bay: 'You'd both have been necklaced with a burning tyre'
* Open day at Shelly Bay: Occupiers host public to share their views on the controversial piece of capital real estate

Developer Ian Cassels has been planning his Shelly Bay Taikuru development for years with plans for 350 apartments and townhouses, hotels, a rest home and a ferry terminal. It was once described as Wellington's answer to San Francisco's Sausalito.

He has faced stiff opposition from many corners, including from film heavyweight Sir Peter Jackson, who has been scathing of it, and multiple court challenges.

Graffiti on the Wellington City Council "saw tooth" building at Shelly Bay, thought to have been painted by opponents of the $500m development.

Cassels bought the bulk of land there from Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust which looks after the Treaty of Waitangi settlement for Taranaki Whnui but it was alleged the sale was done without the mandate of members.

This is the basis of the Mau Whenua occupation, which began the day after the council voted to sell its land there to Cassels in late 2020.

Local business group Enterprise Miramar has also staunchly opposed it and had asked the High Court for a judicial review into the councils handling of it, with a focus on traffic congestion.

The request for a judicial review was denied this week.

Developer Ian Cassels is a step closer to his Shelly Bay development.

An Enterprise Miramar spokeswoman said the group was still weighing up its options on Thursday.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster, an opponent of the development, said judicial reviews, like the one out of the High Court, had a narrow focus and were not really about the merits of the resource consent that was earlier issued.

A council spokesman said the land deal in which the council sold and leased its Shelly Bay land to Cassels would be finalised around May.

But it would remain in council ownership until various conditions had been met.

These included Cassels putting in $5m of infrastructure, obtaining all consents, and putting together a memorandum on delivering affordable housing in Wellington.

Wellington City Council respects Mau Whenuas right to protest peacefully and we have endeavoured to work with them respectfully to ensure peoples health and safety on and around the hazards on site. We will continue to monitor the situation.


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