Wellington Scoop

Peter Jackson describes Shelly Bay as an “outrageous modern-day land grab”

Peter Jackson has released more substantial criticism of the Wellington City Council for its handling of the Shelly Bay development process. In a Facebook post published last night, he writes that an independent review of the project is “very much needed, given the council has not adequately evaluated the infrastructure needs of the Shelly Bay development and associated costs.”

He adds: “Additionally, an investigation is needed into the role the WCC played into a seemingly illegal sale of Taranaki Whanui land to a private property developer.”

Responding to a letter from Councillor Diane Calvert, he writes:

Councillors have sat back and watched while $23 million worth of iwi land was sold to a developer for a price vastly less than its real worth… The truth is your continued silence makes you all complicit in this outrageous modern-day land grab. Voting against an urgent review can only be seen as the WCC attempting to shield itself from further scrutiny.

He alao asks the city council for answers to a number of questions:

How can you let the Government Minister grant the Shelly Bay SHA designation, which only referenced “10+ dwellings”, and then watch it expand to 352 dwellings? Don’t you have a duty of care to request that the Government reviews its original decision?

– How can you let the Government grant Shelly Bay a SHA designation, when HAASHA requires housing areas to have sufficient infrastructure, including storm water, sewage, water supply, sea wall replacement, power supply, road widening etc. You all know Shelly Bay infrastructure will need to be completely replaced to support a development of 350 plus dwellings, so where is your duty of care?

– Where is your duty of care when you haven’t even asked for a detailed traffic plan?

– Where is your duty of care when no one has sighted the developer’s building design?

– Where is your duty of care when it’s been stated multiple times that the wharfs are to be demolished, yet they are present in every design this developer has released? Does that mean these “designs” are falsified?

– Where is your duty of care when your own officers say one car park per dwelling is inadequate?

– Where is your duty of care when the developer states that 127 uncovered car parks will be located in “the mews”, when drawings released to date show this to be impossibility?

– Where is your duty of care when your own traffic consultants describe the proposed coastal road “improvements” as not meeting code?

– Where is your duty of care when a 1.5m combined pedestrian path and cycle way is supposed to accommodate two way pedestrian and two way cycle traffic?

– Where is your duty of care when the developer will give no guarantee that he will even see the project through to its completion?

– HAASHA refers to “Affordable Housing” – there is none of that in the Shelly Bay Master Plan.

– Why are you allowing the developer to ignore Government recommendations regarding rising sea levels? I know Mr Cassels has announced that everyone will live above their parking garage (and he’ll presumably be providing gondolas), but the “public use” buildings – Shed 8 (restaurants), the Microbrewery, boutique hotel, etc. are all sitting at ground level – well below the height of Government sea level guidelines. This is an important question – a few years from now, when the businesses occupying these buildings are regularly flooded, the owners will look around for someone to sue and they’ll quickly learn that the WCC allowed the developer to ignore Government guidelines. At that point ratepayers are once again on the hook.

You should be providing Shelly Bay with public transport, but the truth is that a regular sized bus can’t get around the corners of Shelly Bay Rd. The ferry service is a nonsense answer to this. Your own officers say it will have little impact on traffic flow.

He ends his response with this:

I suggest that you and your colleagues give up any notion of “partnerships”,”stakeholders” or “memorandums of understanding”. You’ve hidden behind these euphemisms for far too long. The truth is the WCC has supported the developer from day one, with a single-minded zealotry that cries out for investigation…


  1. Peter Kerr, 30. April 2019, 9:35

    The fans have been turned to “ON”. Detritus is in the air.

  2. Caraka Bae, 30. April 2019, 10:26

    This was a brilliant post by Sir Peter. For someone who must have a million other things he could be doing, I applaud him for taking the time and effort for putting this together. I must admit it gave me a few laughs despite its serious nature. I particularly enjoyed the final word to the eastern ward councillors and regret that I voted for some of them in the past.

  3. michael, 30. April 2019, 10:42

    At last someone who can gain media attention is challenging the WCC. Hopefully this will induce our council representatives to consider all the issues raised regarding Shelly Bay and investigate further.

  4. Benny, 30. April 2019, 11:03

    This project was already controversial for its impact on the land, the traffic, the residents, the rates, etc. Now, backed with solid references and great understanding of how events unfolded, Sir Peter Jackson shines a light on WCC’s operations, and how the councillors, elected members, have acted over the years in regards to this project. This is so disappointing. Sir Peter is right in saying a judicial investigation is required on the sale of this land, on the traffic reports, on WCC’s role. I commend him for using his voice.
    Also, getting more and more painful is the silence from Eastern councillors on this issue. I don’t doubt their good faith, but they need to speak out, explain what they think, and what are their plans for the peninsula moving forward.

  5. Tony Jansen, 30. April 2019, 12:13

    It has taken a major celebrity to open this up to public scrutiny. The mainstream media have been totally uninterested until now. We must now ask serious questions about certain property developers and our elected and appointed officials. In particular we need to ask some serious questions about the SHA vote. Is it time for a visit from the SFO or an audit by the government?

  6. Alf the Aspirational Apterxy, 30. April 2019, 12:48

    Can a person be knighted twice? Well done Sir Peter. Time to call in the SFO?

  7. Save Shelly Bay, 30. April 2019, 14:52

    Chris Calvi-Freeman, Sarah Free, Simon Marsh – suspect the public is curious to hear your thoughts on the latest revelations? [via twitter]

  8. Rondell, 1. May 2019, 7:42

    Disappointed by the mainstream media making this mostly a Peter Jackson versus Justin Lester thing. It should be about Wellingtonians fighting for transparency from all parties involved.

  9. Kevin Wakem, 4. May 2019, 16:15

    The proposed development at Shelly Bay to my mind is so inappropriate. There will be no affordable housing for most people. It will be an Oriental Bay-type enclave for the wealthy, wait and see. Watts Peninsula is iconic, a beautiful part of Wellington’s scenic drive, best used as a regional park with its native bush and bird life kept intact. The existing Eastern Walkway could be linked in right up to Massey Memorial. The area has unspoiled small bays and beaches which are well used and appreciated by citizens and visitors for picnics, etc., including Shelly Bay. Also there are historic military and Maori remains on the peninsula, as well as Massey Memorial itself. The City Council needs to protect the area, not merely see it as a rates revenue opportunity. At the end of the day the developer and the Maori Trustees would really only be interested in the bottom line, it’s human nature after all. I say Eastern suburbs people get behind Sir Peter on this one. And that includes you Eastern ward councillors, show some attitude.