Council Votes 7-4 For Te Uruhi Gateway Amid Supporters’ Haka — And Angry Protests

Kāpiti’s proposed Te Uruhi Gateway at Paraparaumu Beach has been voted through after a day-long debate which include a haka in the District Council chamber and angry protests.

The Kapiti council faced a government deadline for $4.45 million project, with half to come from the Covid Recovery fund.

Vote went 7-4

It wasn’t until after 5.30 pm when the councillors and mayor voted 7-4 to give the go-ahead. The four anti votes came from councillors Jocelyn Prvanov, Gwynn Compton , Martin Halliday and Bernie Randall.

Photo: Guy Burns

Before his vote Compton said he had problems with the business case based on pre-covid figures. He suggested the process behind the proposal could be investigated by the Auditor-General.

Cr Gwyn Compton — voted against

Halliday said the proposal could affect the council’s reputation and he wasn’t comfortable with the forecast income figures.

‘Like a juggernaut’

Prvanov said the Gateway proposal was like a juggernaut.

The Gateway day of decision started with a room crammed with representatives of the two iwi – Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai and Ngati Toa Rangitira, and members of the public who had signed the 2000 signature petition against the proposal.

It was so full that one of the major submitters, John Barrett of Kapiti Island Nature tours had to wait outside before he made his submission- in favour of the centre. 

A 30-year kaupapa

Barrett said the proposal was a 30-year kaupapa for him, and the working model for the business was bang-on.  He said visitor figures would increase  but the entrance facilities for the trip to the island were third world.

Te Atiawa chair Andrew Baker says the land at McLeans Park was a generous gift by Ngati Toa reflecting the mana of the name Te Uruhi.

But the owner of the other Kapiti island service, Kapiti Eco tours Gren Cooper said the figures for the centre were not achievable and the numbers were made up.

Visitor numbers down

He said his visitor numbers for the three months- November to January were all down on the same months last year. He said the process had deliberately disregarded him and the costs could drive him out of  business.

Kapiti island resident Chris Webber speaking for his brother Karl Webber said the decision should be delayed. He said while it might appear that all iwi members supported the centre it was  a question of which Maori you speak to.

When councillors spoke before the vote most said they had reservations. But James Cootes said the combined iwi presence and submissions were a powerful moment while Angela Buswell said her hand was on her heart.

What a discussing display, from the mayor down to the Iwi.( All ready decision made ) Iwi were allowed to say & do what they wanted to do. Yesterday’s display has made me very anti

It was a disgusting show of Iwi, who stood up and did their challenge, which seemed to take over them, as being processed, and didn’t give a dame who they were hurting in the process. I was horrified at what was allowed in the council meeting, when the Mayor said he wouldn’t stand for anything that was inappropriate.
Shame on you Guru.

What is so special about the building that it will cost 10x the current building cost for single story buildings in todays market.

I think, that writing names next to the votes is not very professional. Votes should be anonymous (or even secret) but disclosing and naming “those against”, seems a bit gone overboard, unless you name the full list of attendees. And by the way, doing that would possibly alienate a lot of attendants in the future. There is a subtle difference between (a) asking an audience “those in favour” … “those against” rising anonymously their arms and recording the just the numbers – and (b) writing in a public article the names of those who are against (only). THAT is unfair, and unprofessional. The more so, when in the end what is relevant, is the proportion of the the numbers of votes in favour versus those against, but not really their names.

There was a price of $5,000,000 quoted for the 200 square metre building, $25,000 a square metre? Do we have a council that has any idea of cost/benefit/ratios? seems not. Madness, it seems, can it return 5% on the investment? Have they signed any tenants to lease it @ $250,000 a year. It will be another drain on the ratepayers $

I attended the meeting as a concerned ratepayer and left appalled after revelations of the abuse of process. One of the councillors was overtly hostile to some ‘anti’ speakers and the Mayor threatened one and tried to shut down another. Obviously consultation was the last thing on the minds of the proponents of this genuine ‘White Elephant’. I agree wholeheartedly with the suggestion that the Auditor General should be requested to investigate the integrity of the process.


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