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Hutt council’s backyard survey despicable, say landowners

Media release from Lower Hutt Landowners Group
Kathryn Cretney, spokesperson for the group fighting the Hutt Council’s unusual plans to prevent landowners using private backyards containing native trees, says the Council has commissioned a survey designed to make it appear that some residents favour the plan. “It’s a despicable attempt to pit neighbour against neighbour,” Kathryn said.

“No other council has single-mindedly pursued an agenda to take control of residents backyards, and used such underhand techniques.”

Kathryn said the survey was masquerading as a public opinion poll, when it had been clearly designed to generate a result that suggested residents support tough restrictions on normal use of private land, and that the cost should be borne by land owners.

“The Council wants to use people who don’t have native trees on their land, or don’t own land, as a weapon against the 1,000 landowners who will have their backyards closed off.

“The majority of homeowners, and those in the survey, would be appalled to know that the Council plans to use the survey to justify stopping homeowners building a deck, a vegetable garden or tree house.”

She said the survey could not be sincere because the Council had already mapped out which backyards to close off as part of its “Significant Natural Area” project nine months ago.

The survey tells participants from an existing, closed, panel that they are helping the council “understand the value residents place on areas of native bush” and “what approach council should take when considering how these areas are protected and enhanced.” In particular, the survey asks if ratepayers are prepared to meet some of the cost of the protection.

Kathryn said the Council had so far deliberately largely avoided public consultation, and was taking a ‘divide and conquer’ approach.

“They are avoiding face to face contact with real people because they can’t manipulate the outcome. Council staff and scared Councillors have refused to attend public meetings.”

The Council held a closed meeting with some landowners in July, is attempting to meet privately with each affected landowner, and had removed maps from its website that would enable affected landowners to identify each other.

“The scale of the Council’s undemocratic pursuit of an agenda will not play out well for them when this matter comes to Court.”

The Hutt Landowners Group is holding a public meeting, attended by Mayor Ray Wallace, this Tuesday at 7pm in the Eastbourne Combined Services Club.

1 comment:

  1. ngaire lambourn, 23. September 2018, 22:41

    no way should this happen. i stopped it happening at 1066 Coast Road many years ago when the council came on people’s land with the excuse they were looking for possumns. i refused entry so no part of 1066 Coast Foad was included in it way back then.