Mayor Andy Foster yesterday joined a mau whenua group as it began an occupation of development land at Shelly Bay.
An announcement on Facebook  said: “Mau Whenua announced today they are occupying Shelly Bay. Please go and show them your support. Anyone who wants to camp out with them are welcome. Alternatively you can offer them food, water, items to keep them warm or just sit with them to keep them company.”
The Facebook page published photographs of Mayor Foster helping to erect one of the tents to be used by the occupiers.
“That time when the Mayor turned up in his suit to help us put up the tent! Settling in for the long haul whanau – nau mai haere mai ki Marukaikuru, Shelly Bay. There’s space for everyone.”
But Georgina Campbell reports in the NZ Herald  that the mayor Andy Foster says he wasn’t pitching tents with the protesters, but rather being a “good camper” and helping to fix a broken pole.
In a comment on the protestors’ Facebook page, the mayor wrote:
I’ve opposed this development at Shelly Bay from the beginning in 2015. The Special Housing Area anti-democratically stopped the community having a real say. The District Plan which has a special set of planning rules and heights, carefully crafted through the Environment Court, got essentially ignored. I remain concerned about safety on Shelly Bay Road for the thousands of people enjoying walking and biking. I’ve also read and heard at length about the sale of iwi owned land in defiance of specific resolutions passed at the 2016 PNBST AGM. I had the privilege of being at the handover from Defence in 2009 to Taranaki Whanui. It was a special occasion full of hope for this special place. For me the right thing to do has always been to step back and allow stakeholders to talk things through and have a real say in the future of this iconic piece of land.
RNZ’s Eva Corlett sent a report to Checkpoint from the Shelly Bay occupation site.
November 11: City Council confirms sale of its land for Shelly Bay development