Dunne concerned over park's future

Porirua City News | 2 March 2005

Porirua City News, 2 March 2005: Dunne concerned over park's future

Dunne concerned over park's future

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Photo: PUBLIC PARK: Ohariu Belmont MP Peter Dunne is concerned about the future of Belmont Regional Park now that Landcorp has offered almost one third of it for sale. He is pictured at the Belmont entry to the park and the Waitangirua farm owned by Landcorp and up for sale.

Photo: Jim Chipp

Ohariu-Belmont MP Peter Dunne is lobbying government ministers and Greater Wellington regional council trying to ensure the survival of Belmont Regional Park.

Owner Landcorp has offered its 35 percent of the park, Waitangirua Farm, for sale and if Greater Wellington regional council is unable to purchase it, it is likely to be offered to developers.

The government has told Landcorp the land is not needed for treaty settlements.

Mr Dunne says the government does not need the money the sale would bring to it as a dividend from Landcorp and sacrificing the recreational and environmental amenity is "just nuts".

He supports the residents and Friends of Belmont Regional Park and will be urging the regional council and central Government to come up with a plan to preserve public access to the regional park.

"My bottom line is that I want to see a solution which retains the entire area as it is," he says.

"Belmont Regional Park is a huge asset for Wellington and the region, and having a farm within it broken up for development contradicts the idea of having a park that people can roam in and enjoy themselves."

Mr Dunne has concerns about the process the sale proposal has taken to date.

The price for which it was offered to Greater Wellington is as yet undisclosed, and the council is understood to be negotiating some compromise deal, perhaps involving only a partial purchase of the land.

"That's what we have to be very wary of," Mr Dunne says.

"It might well be that at the end of the day that some compromise is necessary.

"If that is to be, there needs to be total transparency."

While Rimutaka MP and State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Swain is in a difficult position, because the two roles are conflicted in this situation, Mr Dunne says he could still convey his constituents' point of view to Landcorp.

Ohariu-Belmont Labour Party candidate Charles Chauvel says Landcorp must act responsibly.

"Landcorp seems to have taken the profit-maximising requirement into account without balancing that with its other obligations.

"The Landcorp board needs to show that it has understood all of the requirements under which it operates."