Press Release. 13/1/2021
The NZ Outdoors Party is outraged by conduct by the New Zealand Transport Authority and their representatives who tried to force entry onto private Taranaki farmland this week during the holiday break.
The farmer was in hospital having surgery and had been told to avoid any stress for at least a week. Meanwhile family and friends were trying to protect his farm from entry by a large number of surveyors engaged by the Transport Authority. Kiri McKee, NZ Outdoors Party candidate for Te Tai Hauauru and other Outdoors Party supporters were present at the scene when the NZTA representatives arrived. There were discussions as to the lawfulness of their forced entry and those present blocked access until the NZTA representatives left. After the transport agency contractors returned and tried to force entry later that day and again the next day, they were served with trespass notices and police assistance was sought by the landowner.
The statutory Public Works Act process requires negotiations in good faith by the Minister of Land Damien O’Connor prior to any compulsory take of private land. “The actions of the NZTA were surely premature and unreasonable” say Alan Simmons co-leader of the NZ Outdoors Party. “Government organisations must act not only lawfully and in the interests of the public they represent, but they must also be reasonable and fair. Large numbers of crown representatives turning up during the holiday break, and demanding entry for a week of surveying while good faith negotiations are supposed to be ongoing, even after they have been told of the farmers health issues, comes nowhere near the standard of conduct we expect from our civil servants.”
The NZ Outdoors Party organised a walk up the Maungapepeke valley last month to view the wetland and kahikatea swamp forest that will be lost if NZTA follows through with its proposed diversion of SH3 around Mt Messenger. A large number of members traveled from as far away as Northland and the South Island to see for themselves what was likely to be lost. With wetland, large numbers of kiwi and rare bats present it seems inconceivable to many New Zealanders that the NZTA will push ahead with this project and destroy such a beautiful part of NZ.
The NZ Outdoors Party calls on the NZTA to abandon its plans and instead upgrade the present highway and leave the valley and the farmer in peace, and calls on conservation interests such as the Department of Conservation, Forest & Bird, tangata whenua and other community interests to make a stand for our remaining wildlife, and not be bought off by money or other promises.
The NZ Outdoors Party is committed to walking the walk to raising awareness of our Great NZ Outdoors and educating, connecting and empowering communities to have their voices heard.
Contact. Alan Simmons. Co Leader. 0274 980 304