Wellington Scoop

“Incorrect and misleading;” Ian Cassels responds to Peter Jackson’s Shelly Bay criticism

Developer Ian Cassels has responded to Peter Jackson’s criticism of the Shelly Bay development, saying that Sir Peter’s published statements “repeat a series of falsehoods and present an entirely incorrect and misleading account of what has happened and what is likely to happen.”

Mr Cassels has sent his comments by email to Peter Jackson and has published them on his company website. He states:

The proposed redevelopment is not a “modern day land grab”. Such a suggestion is offensive to all concerned and wrong. At the core of this proposal is our partnering relationship with Tarnaki Whanui (Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust (PNBST) a relationship which multi dimensional and is delivering real outcomes to the members of Taranaki Whanui.

It is also simply wrong to suggest, as you have, that any “deal” was “done” in China, while I was participating on a Wellington City Council led business tour to China. The purpose of that trip, which included a range of local business leaders, was to showcase Wellington and its economic opportunities. However, there is no Chinese investment in the Shelly Bay – Taikuru.

He continues:

On the issue of the land valuation, you are correct to state that there have been a number of different valuations of the Shelly Bay development area over a number of years. But to characterise this as some kind of conspiracy is completely false and misleading. Valuations of this nature are necessarily made on the basis of a range of assumptions. The valuation you rely on – “over $23m” – makes assumptions that are simply not correct. The later valuations reflect more accurately the likely use (and therefore value) of the land. At the time some of the blocks of land at Shelly Bay were sold the total value of the land was assessed at an amount that was reflected in the transfer value and terms agreed.

It is also wrong (not to mention defamatory) to infer, as you have, that TWC and the Council and/or Mayor are involved in some sort of conspiracy to conceal the true infrastructure costs. Likewise it is wrong to say, as you have, that ratepayers will face a “financial hit” at some future date when “the undisclosed, astronomical cost” of widening the road becomes known. The scenario you so colourfully describe is fanciful..

As developers of this project we firmly believe the infrastructure costs required by the project (including water, waste water, public amenities and the widening of the road) will fall within the budgeted $20m. Council has agreed to pay $10m of that amount. In the event those essential costs for the purposes of Shelly Bay – Taikuru are greater than budgeted, any additional sum will be paid, not by Council, but by TWC.

The basis of payment for infrastructure costs is clearly recorded as a resolution adopted by Council in the Minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2017. That cap provides certainty to the city and to ratepayers. Any suggestion otherwise is mischievous and misleading.

Your latest suggestions about the ownership of land at Shelly Bay are simply incorrect. Our understanding is, and we have no reason to doubt that understanding, that Tai- Kuru is the vehicle through which Taranaki Whanui has chosen to structure its interest in the land. TWC and PNBST have committed to a partnership at the highest levels, across a number of different projects, which all have their own unique partnership requirements specific to the needs of those projects. The way that PNBST structures its commercial engagements in each of those projects is fundamentally a question for them to decide, as the representative of their members.

Ian Cassels ends with an offer: “We would be happy to meet with you at a convenient time if that would assist.”


  1. Benny, 1. May 2019, 8:36

    Is Shelly Bay a SHA or is it not? Until yesterday, I was under the impression it was still considered as such (and therefore, not requiring consultation), which surprised me for the reason the Court of Appeal rejected the original resource consent in a first place. But as one commenter suggested yesterday the designation has lapsed . So is Shelly Bay still an SHA or not? And will the community be consulted or not?

  2. Paula Benefit, 1. May 2019, 9:31

    The questions about lawful land ownership (and Iwi ) consent remain.

  3. Andy Foster, 1. May 2019, 20:50

    Hi Benny – unfortunately what we have is the same consent being reconsidered (as directed by the Court of Appeal) so because the consent was lodged just before the expiry of the SHA it still has to be considered under HASHAA. That is quite infuriating because it still means no opportunity for public submissions, or for expert evidence outside of that provided by Council and the applicant, but the Commissioners will be able consider evidence put before the High Court and Court of Appeal.

    Paula – there are a lot of questions about a raft of aspects of this project.

  4. TrevorH, 2. May 2019, 7:08

    It seems clear this matter, about which there is so much dispute and whose implications are so far reaching for both Wellington and the Iwi interests concerned, requires a full and independent investigation. The Auditor-General needs to step in.

  5. Scott, 3. May 2019, 7:13

    There’s still no answer about the 3 individual sales of blocks of land. They were sold on the same day, to the same party, but separated into 3 sales so that none of them reached a threshold where they would need approval for the sale.

  6. Tony Jansen, 3. May 2019, 10:07

    The AG needs to step in here. There are questions to be asked and answered about the Council’s relationship with TWC. Then we can get on to looking at the relationship between the Council and the interests developing the Convention Centre.

  7. michael, 3. May 2019, 15:40

    We also need to look at the council’s relationships and transparency with other property developments. The proposed removal of the small park on the corner of Dixon/Victoria Streets is another instance where the needs of the people are being disregarded for a property development. In 2016 a public excluded council meeting agreed to remove the encumbrance requiring the park, depending on the outcome of consultation. But it was not until April 2019 before WCC called for public submissions regarding the removal of the green space, after granting Willis & Bond resource consent for a building on the site, which one assumes makes it a done deal. Where is the fairness and transparency in this regard? And how does the council get away with this kind of behaviour?

  8. Mark Spencer, 3. May 2019, 17:13

    Yes I agree Michael this is some dodgy and obfuscating stuff from the Council that talks about transparency and openness.

  9. Keith Flinders, 4. May 2019, 11:03

    Tony Jansen: Some years ago I lodged a complaint with the Auditor General about Mainzeal being awarded a WCC construction project, one of many they got the same way, without a public tender being advertised. The response from the Auditor General’s office was that they were advised by the WCC CEO that all procedures and checks had been followed, so that line of enquiry led nowhere.

    I am concerned about the behind closed doors relationship between the WCC and Willis Bond too. Spending of ratepayer funds should be completely transparent and open, so as to remove any doubt that everything is above board. The situation of secret deals and meetings the public are excluded from isn’t appropriate.

    I am not suggesting that there is anything amiss here, but how are the public meant to be convinced?