Wellington Scoop

Oriental Bay in Shelly Bay


by Lindsay Shelton
The redevelopment plan for Shelly Bay seems designed to turn the long-neglected waterfront area into a clone of Oriental Parade.

The proposal – most of it on land owned by the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust – has the support of the city council which has given it a resource consent, and of the Government which has made it a special housing area.

In February last year, the Trust was planning to sell the land to Ian Cassells and his Wellington Company for a development of 300 homes. But it failed to get the necessary 75 per cent approval from its members. Neville Baker, chairman of the Trust, said at that time the sale was necessary to enable the Trust to recover from financial difficulties surrounding its beginnings.

By September – a month before former Trust chairman Sir Ngatata Love was jailed for fraud involving another property project – things had changed.

Quoted by the DomPost, Mr Baker said the Shelly Bay proposal was now structured as a joint venture, so the consent of members was no longer required. The joint venture would see profits shared and allow the trust to take part in the development at a number of stages.


When details of the new plan were announced by the council on Friday, the number of homes had increased to 350, including 260 apartments and 58 town houses. There’s also to be a rest home with 140 beds, and a boutique hotel.

And now there are three participants. It’s being described as a partnership between the council and a joint-venture company set up by the Trust and the Wellington Company.

The land, owned for a century by the New Zealand Defence Force, was bought by the Trust for $16 million in 2008, as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

In the same year, there were discussions between the Trust and Peter Jackson about building his Film Museum in Shelly Bay. But the museum plans were abandoned after Sir Ngatata Love’s partner Lorraine Skiffington sought payment of up to $750,000 for a consultancy proposal.

The latest plan will not only use all 4.5 hectares owned by the Trust but will also use a hectare of land owned by the city council, which is talking about “sale and long-term lease.” (It will retain other land for green space and a public park.) There’s also to be a “council contribution” to the development. The council’s announcement refers to its history with development on the waterfront

It is a mixed-use development – a model has been used for the development of Wellington Waterfront – involving the long-term lease of public land for commercial and retail, complemented by public space improvements … We want to make sure that this development also features high quality open and green space … We think a joint approach to funding the public infrastructure for this development is the best way to achieve that, subject to ongoing commercial negotiations.

Since Friday’s announcement, there’s been much interest in the subject of how much will be paid for the sale or lease of the council land. The interest goes back to revelations about earlier council dealings with developers, such as the deal for redeveloping the Overseas Passenger Terminal where Willis Bond negotiated a 125-year lease of a dollar a year. This attracted critical comment from the Port Nicholson Trust’s Peter Love who said it was a joke and questioned whether it could give the best financial return for ratepayers.

A similar deal had been negotiated with the council for Willis Bond’s redevelopment of Chews Lane – again, a dollar a year, but this time for 250 years.

Now of course, the Trust is in the role of developer, negotiating with the council for the best possible deal. The Willis Bond dollar a year leases will no doubt be discussed during the negotiations.

Dave Armstrong : Is it another council handout?
Rosemary McLeod: Where’s the transparency?


  1. Traveller, 1. May 2017, 8:42

    Any affordable housing?

  2. Trumped, 1. May 2017, 9:36

    There are too many unanswered questions. I see that Cr Calvi-Freeman is going to improve the roading. How? Motorway/Highway? Traffic lights? instead of a quiet/tourist scenic drive?

    Why did he and Cr Calvert (consultation guru) not ask that the resource consent go to the Council and to the public for their views? They, the mayor and Council could have, despite the fact that it apparently complies with the District Plan. It is such an important decision/impact for the Eastern Suburbs and the City.

    Will there remain walking access from the road to Watts (Miramar) Peninsular?

    It seems from the picture, that the Council has already extended the SHA and made a decision to lease at least the wharves? Has it?

    Before the public can make any decision, we need to know what exactly the proposed project is i.e. what has been consented by the officers. We do not know. Where can we get the documents?

    Before the public can make any decision about “sale or lease”, the public needs to have at hand the proposal (resource consent); the financial arrangements for the lease deal, the total cost to the ratepayer (including the cost of infrastructure); the environmental impact; the affordable housing proposed (and the definition of affordable housing – apparently there is no social housing planned) Will Cr Calvert make sure that this is all available to us and all questions above are answered? It is of concern that the final commercial details seem to be open ended…

    So, what is the public going to be consulted on? “Do you want Council to sell “this (wherever it is) tiny”: piece of land?” It is right to be concerned about this waterfront land and public assets, from the experience of past deals.

  3. Mary M, 1. May 2017, 9:44

    SBL is listed one of the trust’s wholly-owned subsidiary companies, it is not a joint venture company.

  4. luke, 1. May 2017, 11:04

    We need the houses, hurry up and build them. Even if not ‘affordable,’ they add to supply which will drive price rises down eventually.

  5. Michael Gibson, 1. May 2017, 11:06

    Trumped continues to make such excellent points. I am certain that I am not the only person to have asked the WCC for the records of the public-excluded meeting when the Shelly Bay decision was made.

  6. Anabel, 1. May 2017, 13:41

    Luke that is incorrect. We continue to have record numbers of immigrants, lots of greedy landlords and foreign property investors, and the govt cutting the public housing supply. So there will be no filling the demand with 350 luxury beachfront apartments and homes.

  7. Mark Shanks, 1. May 2017, 14:35

    @ Traveller and Anabel – absolutely the priority is for affordable housing, not profit and condos for the already wealthy. Why shouldn’t Shelly Bay be a model low cost housing area? Surely that would serve Maori and the wider community best and also require less infrastructure and not create an eyesore like Oriental Bay. The artist impressions look absolutely awful!

  8. Mary M, 1. May 2017, 17:39

    Mark. You are right that it is an ugly development. This project is not “affordable” housing. The developer would not sell his 3/4 – million dollar apts to wealthy immigrants if they were told they would be living next to poor people in public housing.

  9. KB, 1. May 2017, 19:55

    The renderings look great, this looks like it will be another nice place to live or visit. Although being so close to the flight path of the airport runway is probably going to put quite a few off.

  10. Bogbrush Pete, 2. May 2017, 8:09

    The “rendering” looks like an arrangement of assorted cartons.
    Leave the place alone, it’s peaceful as it is.

  11. Mark Shanks, 2. May 2017, 8:19

    @KB…nice? – surely your tongue is firmly in your cheek or our aesthetics are widely dissimilar. A Joni Mitchell song comes to mind when I look at the artist impressions of the proposed Shelly Bay developments and when I walk along Oriental Bay. There’s hardly anything living there except people… and I don’t like their chances of survival the way we are going – extinction via greed.

  12. Richard Keller, 3. May 2017, 19:01

    What discussion has been had elsewhere about the future of sea water incursion along Shelly Bay? There certainly is no such discussion here. Recently we have heard reports that insurance may someday be unavailable to properties on coastal areas. Also we have heard continuing concern from Island nations in the Pacific region about losing their land to rising sea levels. And of course it looks like the USA will not undertake any significant action on limiting rising global temperatures (more likely the Trump administration will take actions likely to increase temperatures). Surely at least a reference to this should be a part of any discussion of Shelly Bay area which is at sea level.

  13. Esjay, 11. May 2017, 18:15

    Who will pay for the sewage infrastructure? Who will pay for the road widening? Has there been a study undertaken on the increase of traffic congestion and how that will impact on increased traffic flows of the airport?