Waiheke’s Kennedy Point marina opponents challenge injunction

Waiheke Island’s Kennedy Point Marina protesters are in court today, challenging an ex parte injunction issued late last year banning them from the construction zone.

Justice Thomas Gault presided over the High Court hearing today where a reserved decision is expected.

The Protect Pūtiki Ngāti Poa-led group has continued to make its objection to the marina development known by being near the site.

This morning before the hearing, they went on a hikoi from the ferry terminal to the High Court on Waterloo Quadrant.

Emily Māia Weiss has vowed to continue challenging the scheme where violence erupted last year between protesters and security guards.

In November, interim injunction orders were granted barring 32 protesters from the Pūtiki Bay marina site after fears of renewed action when lockdown measures were being relaxed.

On November 9, the Herald reported how Justice Ed Wylie in the High Court at Auckland granted Kennedy Point Boatharbour’s application against the protesters which said there was “an urgent need” to act because pandemic restrictions were being relaxed.

Affidavits were presented then saying protesters were planning action so the developer wanted to head that off in advance.

Those named in the action included Emily Maia Weiss (Randall) of Otahuhu and Warren Matahaere. They have both featured prominently on social media opposing the project which has a resource consent, despite other lengthy legal action which has failed.

In November, Tony Mair and Kitt Littlejohn’s business went to court via McVeagh Fleming to win “without notice” injunctions to restrain 30 named defendants and two partially named defendants from trespassing within 20m of parts of the coastal marine area where it is building.

The sealed order says those named must stay 20m away from any marina construction equipment, materials or installed components.

“Kennedy Point says that there is an urgent need to have the matter resolved before the Auckland region moves into less stringent Covid-19 restrictions,” the judge said.

The developer is concerned a less stringent lockdown back then last year would enable protesters to gather to disrupt the ongoing construction of the marina.

It filed evidence then that suggested that was the intention of a number of people opposed to the scheme for the floating car park, marina services buildings, a cafe and the marina in the bay.

The protesters say the bay at Pūkiki is “under threat from the construction of a 7.3ha marina by developers Kennedy Point Boatharbour. Among the plans of this marina are 186 berths sized from 10m to 30m, two septic tanks for blackwater and greywater sunk into the seabed and Aotearoa New Zealand’s first floating car park.

“Hundreds of steel piles could be drilled into the seabed of the moana here at Pūtiki Bay to float the concrete structures of the marina,” the group says.

After the November victory, Littlejohn said: “The company has taken this unprecedented step as a direct response to the ongoing, aggravated trespass activity by protesters since construction began which has put them, company personnel, contractors and the public at risk.

“The interim injunction recognises that the company has an arguable entitlement to legal rights enabling it to lawfully exclude persons from the construction area so that the marina can be built in a safe and timely manner.”

The marina company undertook a two-year legal process to get a resource consent for the marina which involved extensive public engagement and direct consultation with mana whenua, he said then.

The consent was only granted after a publicly notified submission period and two public hearings where the effects of the development were thoroughly assessed.

“The project consent has now been upheld by every court in New Zealand and the company has met and continues to meet the conditions of its consent.”

The injunction won’t prevent persons wishing to protest against the project, Littlejohn said.

“All of the foreshore areas at Kennedy Bay that are not within the marina’s construction area will still be accessible for those who wish to peacefully express their views.

“However, the injunction will prevent them from going into active construction areas, putting themselves in danger and forcing works to stop, interfering with equipment and materials, and blocking vessel movements.

“The company continues to respect the rights of people to protest peacefully, and the injunction will not prevent that. However, because of non-peaceful and unlawful protest activity over a sustained period, the company has been left with no option but to take legal steps to ensure public safety and better enable it to manage the construction of the marina,” Littlejohn said then.

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