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Ed Sheeran

Mau Whenua stands firm against Shelly Bay deal

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Protest group Mau Whenua says it’s not lifting its occupation at Wellington’s Shelly Bay in the wake of a deal between Port Nicholson Settlement Block Trust and developer The Wellington Company.

The trust's commercial arm Taranaki Whānui Ltd will be part of a joint venture that will own and develop a number of the existing waterfront buildings and other heritage buildings.

A wharenui will be built on a green space reserve, and tribal members will be eligible to participate in a home ownership programme in the wider Shelly Bay Taikuru development as well as Wellington Company developments in Mt Cook and Te Aro.

Mau Whenua leader Catherine Love, who was a member of the Port Nicholson board when it spent the bulk of its commercial redress on the former defence base and then failed to come up with a plan to develop it, says the trust is trying to sugar coat a bad deal.

She says the trust had no legal right to sell the land, so the Wellington Company does not have valid title.

"They claim iwi will retain the land. In fact we own no land at Shelly Bay. We have no financial interest in the development right now. So they are doing a favour to their mate in The Wellington Company, trying to act as a sales person for this latest proposal that is a lemon for our people and in no way addresses the fundamental issue, who owns the land? We believe it is iwi," Dr Love says.

The Port Nicholson Settlement Block Trust’s most recent pubic accounts shows it has been able to build up assets worth more than $42 million after using the money it got from the sale of land at Shelly Bay to invest in the purchase and lease back of crown properties.

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