by Cr Teri O’Neill
My duty is to the Eastern ward people, to young people – and personally as a pākēha councillor, my duty is to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations. This has been a very difficult decision to make – I know that my decision will have disappointed people but I am proud to support mana whenua and I stand by my decision.
Over the last year, a large amount of information has been presented and my understanding of the issue, legal, consenting and process have deepened.
I believe for everyone in the East, it is in our best interests to have a diverse, inclusive and thriving city. There have been several questions and concerns raised with me on both sides from people who support and do not support the development.
I made my decision in the end by meeting with anyone and absolutely everyone from the ward who wanted to have my ear. I have listened carefully to all the various parties respectfully.
There are two key large things that have weighed on my mind throughout this process:
Recreation, Transport, public space and infrastructure:
The ratepayer can be assured that we will be paying maximum $10m on infrastructure costs, sea wall repair and heritage protection is in place and will become a contractual requirement of any development agreement.
I would also like to acknowledge that Wellington has many open and lovely spaces, though there is a difference in public and private land, and land that is generally owned versus land given as a treaty settlement. Iwi and hapū have made many sacrifices for pākehā – as a colleague of mine Cr Paul said, ‘- iwi have sacrificed some of their most precious whenua to create our roads, our schools, our hospitals.’
It is important to me to support Maori economic development and housing.
In the end of the day, WCC are not equipped to mediate or determine a grievance within Taranaki Whānui iwi. If the Mau Whenua case succeeds next year – then we can exit the deal. Council needs to do better at valuing maori in our city – and partnership starts with built relationships with people coming from both sides.
We could not delay our decision as doing so would continue to allow harm of tangata whenua to see families torn down and fights litigated in the paper every day. Not to mention the developer can still hold us to the clear decision from the full agreement of the council commitment to sell and lease the land in 2017, and the full resource consent to build in 2017.
The vote that took place on the 11th was on the key commercial terms to which we sought conditions to support the road, seawall and public space obligations. The KCT also outlines significant “off ramps” to allow an exit of the deal.
I understand that on both sides there are very valid concerns – I have been on a journey to support and not support the development but at the end of the day and in the balance of considering many issues, meeting with many people and on all the information I have I went with the decision to support the KCTs of the council land at Shelly Bay.
My values, listening to the views of the community are why I made this decision to support the Iwi partnership at Shelly Bay.
I do appreciate everybody’s want and love to protect the peninsula. I will likely be organising a meet up sometime next week for a more in-depth kōrero for people who might want to have some more questions answered.
Teri O’Neill is a Wellington City Councillor for the Te Motu Kairangi / Eastern ward