Mobil site deal waits approval

Ngai Tamarāwaho hapu wants to acquire the Mobil site on Chapel Street in Tauranga. Photo: Ryan Wood.

Tauranga City Council errors have opened the way for Ngai Tamarāwaho hapu to obtain the Mobil gas station site on Chapel Street at no cost.

The council is currently waiting Department of Conservation approval for the sale, according to documents obtained by retired Mount Maunganui lawyer Rob Paterson under the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents show Ngai Tamarāwaho is offering to take ownership of land and pay for it using the $150,000 a year lease payments made on the Property by Mobil Oil NZ.

The land value is $1.34 million, while improvements are valued at $610,000 giving a capital value $1.95m.

The current lease expires in May 2022, which would see $1.05m paid off by the time the current lease expires. The hapu is offering to pay $1m, and the council is to meet all legal costs.

Hapu spokesman Buddy Mikaere says the offer is in response to ‘shabby' treatment of the hapu by the Tauranga City Council.

For the past 10 years Ngai Tamarāwaho has discussed with council the acquisition of the Mobil site and two others nearby as part of their Treaty of Waitangi settlement. The hapu had an expectation the Mobil site would return to them as part of their treaty claim following construction of the harbor bridge.

In 2012, council stopped the hapu acquisition process because it wanted the lands under discussion at Dive Crescent and The Strand Extension for the construction of the second harbor bridge, the Dive Crescent off ramp, and for a proposed pipeline across the railway bridge.

Council removed the lands from the Office of Treaty Settlements land bank so they were no longer available for treaty claim settlement. The OTS discussed it with the wrong iwi, and the council failed to correct that, says Buddy in his letter to the council.

As a result of the Ngai Tamarāwaho complaint the city council promised it would find an alternative piece of land, and told the hapu about the Mobil site in 2012. When the hapu accepted, the council instead decided to clarify its whole approach to selling surplus land to iwi.

'The treatment has not been in a manner that would be expected in the light of the treaty relationship that has been established over the years between the hapu and the Tauranga City Council,” says Buddy.

'In this respect we note in particular the highway developments across the hapu rohe (area) and around the Waikareao estuary and the contributions made by the hapu to the cultural life of the city and the CBD in particular.

'The failure to consult with the hapu has been particularly offensive.”

Buddy believes a 'generous interpretation” of that treatment would say it was largely due to ignorance, and Ngai Tamarāwaho note in particular the failure of the office of treaty settlements to act without regard for local protocols and custom compounded by failure of due process and administrative error.

The poor performance of the OTS does not in the hapu's view absolve council's actions with the 80 Dive Crescent property, he adds.

'We believe that the council was so keen to have a second harbor crossing project succeed, that in putting that project together it chose to overlook the long standing relationship with the hapu for expediency's sake. Similarly with the council's precipitate actions concerning the strand extension and the pipeline project.”

Rob Paterson says the situation is secrecy at its worst, because the public isn't informed and he doubts even elected members have been kept informed.

'Māori interests have presented no evidence of any cultural significance in respect of the site and other than they for some reason felt aggrieved about perceived Dive Crescent and The Strand extension issues no other cogent case for this nonsense is presented.

'The proposal floated by Ngai Tamarāwaho at a discounted price to purchase the site at $1m is a creative Clayton's offer, no cash will be found, and ownership simply 'deferred” for six years with council meeting all associated legal costs.

'I cannot believe council would transfer title until payment in full was received. The proposal as it stands is to the complete detriment of TCC Ratepayers – quite unbelievable in fact,” says Rob.

The city council is awaiting a report on the matter from the Department of Conservation, as the Minister must approve the sale.

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Posted on 26-10-2016 11:57 | By Tumeke Tauranga

Kia ora - let's see all the M?ori bashing comments that this article will evoke...

A rethink is required

Posted on 26-10-2016 12:48 | By Puppet

Iwi claims aside, I have never been happy that this piece of land is used for a service station. Firstly, it's an absolute waterfront site and could be developed for the enjoyment of residents. Secondly, it's environmentally dangerous to have massive amounts of fuel stored right on the edge of the inner harbour in this way.

More rorting by council staff

Posted on 26-10-2016 13:31 | By CC8

If any of this was performed in the private commercial world , due diligence would have been exercised, a $2m error would impact severely on someone! Current council staff will no doubt find someone who has already left , to whom they will attribute the error, or blame a consultant .When will the "council" wake up and get rid of these incompetent employees . Due diligence.. still needs to be performed. Is this group entitled to a claim...of any sort?Why half rating valuation?, why not full market value ?... they still get the current lease payments. Surely a better deal for ratepayers would be that they can buy the land at the end of the lease, AT market valuation.... and do what they like with it, like any other business deal. Or TCC could keep land and income.


Posted on 26-10-2016 13:33 | By Crash test dummies

Are the losers again, what a rip off. Never would a deal be done like that is the real world. What a joke, TCC get to keep the income then "give away" the land for nothing. No one would do a deal like that basically it is a giveaway. ---@ Tumeke Tauranga---Sounds like you are bracing for it all already, perhaps one should think about "why" rather than complain afterwards? Treaty Settlements?-- That was all a done deal with multiple and growing numbers of local iwi. Surely after many full and final settlement locally these issues would all be over by now? Is it that the local tribes are now looking to done with settlement at a Government level and are now moving down the food chain, Councils are next? All treaty settlements were to be on an "all done and over basis". ---Sweet heart deals---This has the look of a really sweet deal for someone and a $1.05m deal is really low, the fair value is like around $1.5-$2.0m or so. So it is under value for now reason and the rent just goes to Council until the tab is clear. Wish I could have that deal, just sit and wait six years then the land for free, what planet are they on? ---Fair deal---Anyone can buy the site, it must be at a fair price and they have to pay in full. That is the real world and how it must be. If TCC want to sell it as it is surplus then the current policy allows he local tribes to buy like anyone else. Looks to me that some kind of "SWEET-HEART" deal is in the mix here? Buddy says--That the tribes have been treated badly? Welcome to the real world of dealing with TCC like everyone else gets that treatment it normal.

Shouldn't be a service station on this site

Posted on 26-10-2016 13:47 | By The Sage

All the above aside I do not know how Mobil has been allowed to continue to operate on this site. The traffic is not policed. Cars, sometimes with boats on, turn right into busy traffic right at this junction by a very busy set of traffic lights. Often, coming from the town down Chapel Street, cars are queued onto the road. In a city with morre than its share of traffic accidents I would have thought common sense would have seen something done about this.

What a deal

Posted on 26-10-2016 15:48 | By normal local

I really hope that TCC aren't going to give this site away like that.Yet again us ratepayers lose out. And who wins..The Treaty will live on forever if iwi keep getting everything they ask for. It has to stop.While traffic going into the Service station can sometimes be a pain, the traffic going into Bay central is worse.The Mobil is a great service station and brings competitive pricing for us unlike the other BP and Z stations around the area with their inflated prices.

No Maori bashing, just a few facts ...

Posted on 26-10-2016 16:09 | By Murray.Guy

I understand, Judea-based Maori hapu Ngai Tamarawaho have had their Treaty settlements addressed by the Crown. This land was not, is not, part of that settlement process. I recall in 2012/13 discussion in regards a desire by Ngai Tamarawaho to acquire this land and I had NO issue with that provided it was at commercial value. Staff advise at the time was to hang on to it as it was envisaged the Waikareao cycleway / walkway would eventually follow the waters edge at this location. Certainly no advice from staff that they had offered to Ngai Tamarawaho and certainly no obligation to discount or gift it. Likewise, no open dialogue with the community and or elected members has ever taken place in regards Dive Crescent, albeit seemingly confirmed that an under the table deal, understanding, may have taken place some years back.

A joke

Posted on 26-10-2016 16:59 | By roseh

Well one could expect some Maori bashing.This treaty thing has gone way to far and will continue to do so if every time they want something they get it.No one has the guts to stop it.My husband was part Maori and must say he felt the same .We should all be one

Tauranga warrior

Posted on 26-10-2016 17:42 | By Rezknight1

Yup Tu Meke & there they gooo...all the trump fans in the houseeee...haha ha..

@ Rezknight1

Posted on 26-10-2016 18:12 | By Crash test dummies

As I recall the phase is "Once" were Tauranga Warriors ....

@ Murray.Guy

Posted on 26-10-2016 18:17 | By Crash test dummies

Thanks Murray, that clarifies a lot, there appears to be a strong case of a lot of hidden stuff here, that is going on. The only losers are TCC ratepayers. There has been a lot of meetings between TCC staff and the tribal folk all about how to get the hands on lands currently owned by TCC. The target properties are those with income. The plan is then to look for a "discounted" sweet-heart deal as Buddy says he wants. The current TCC policy is clear, not 'sweet' deals, the local tribes can bid and buy6 property that is surplus and up for sale. However TCC staff have also re-written the land sale (surplus) policy and they want all land to be sold off to the local tribes for little or nothing. I just can not see how that can be done and be legitimate.

here we go again

Posted on 26-10-2016 18:19 | By old trucker

I said watch this space for what has been signed off, this would not have happened overnight, the out going (ratbag) mayor would have known about this and has kept quiet, Mobil has been there for years,also a new TCC BUILDING, has been signed (believed) whats wrong with the old Westpac bank they are in , they have spent thousands on thick one way tinted glass,thats all they need, NOTHING gets done there so no need to build a BIGGER castle,BUT ah, they badly need it NOT,BE interested to see what else has been signed off,the new Mayor should grow a pair and get rid of at least 200 so called deadwood staff,but he wont,because he has probably already been told to TOE THE LINE,my sixpence worth.Thankyou No1 in the Bay.

Open Market

Posted on 26-10-2016 20:07 | By Jitter

This piece of land should be sold on the open market. I understand that a local group have already offered TCC a realistic commercial price for this land. This piece of land has nothing to do with the Treaty it is just local Maori being greedy. What Rob Paterson states is 100% correct.If local Maori are so keen to gain ownership of this piece of land they should be paying the full commercial price from their own treaty settlement funds and not expect TCC to hand it to them on a plate. TCC were hoping to sell the land and use the proceeds to reduce council debt.

mobil site

Posted on 26-10-2016 22:22 | By tutae.kuri

Thank goodness this has seen the light of day. It will be difficult for council to give this Site away under the covers now without the Ratepayers giving it a well deserved thrashing.I and Friends and Family are sick and tired of our hired Public Servants doing whatever they want without going to The People. I note City Hall has been reinfested after the recent Election Process. If you didn't vote, you deserve the mediocrity that will become apparent.


Posted on 27-10-2016 04:23 | By Kenworthlogger

Name any other ethnic group that is handed cash and land for free? Cant? Funny that!! And you wonder why their is bashing? People are fed up with paying.... Fair enough too....


Posted on 27-10-2016 10:03 | By surfsup

These stories always generate comments, some good some bad, perhaps the paper could do some research into the various claims and counter claims and then the readers would have a much better understanding of the issues and whether the claims are correct or complete bull.

It's all about: MONEY MONEY MONEY

Posted on 27-10-2016 13:50 | By Laurie

Yes some heads should roll at TCC for getting us into this mess. They shouldn't give approval to this 'sweet deal' but probably will due to fear of being branded racist for not fulfilling their Treaty obligations - you know the partnership & principles that are non-existant in the original signed Treaty document.A condition of sale should be that Mobil's lease is not to be renewed - I wonder if they would be so keen to buy without the 'cash cow' grazing on the land??

And there it goes...

Posted on 27-10-2016 14:03 | By Tumeke Tauranga

As mentioned in the article, land beside the Bridge was originally designated to be set aside for Treaty settlement. When the harbour bridge extension was put in, it was taken out of the OTS package with a promise of other land instead.It is very easy to make comments based on race when you dont know the full history behind it.

@ Tumeke Tauranga

Posted on 27-10-2016 15:37 | By Crash test dummies

The entire situation is the problem, there are no treaty entitlements, then once you verify and accept that truth then you will view the mobile site and others generally in a far more realistic manner. At that point your view will be somewhat different and a lot more realistic rather than preconceived and predetermined. this item is just a small part of a huge Rort.

OTS Land adjacent the harbour bridge

Posted on 27-10-2016 16:04 | By Murray.Guy

Again, as an elected member, never made aware by staff, never seen any documentation in regards the 'promised land'. I do know that no land owned by the community of Tauranga could be used for any Treaty Settlement process without it first being offered to the OTS and if accepted by the OTS then the council/community was compensated for that land. I can only assume the land referred to is south of the bridge, the location of the former sea scout clubrooms, the area that the NZTA spent a few $million on creating significant cultural components (which sadly cannot be seen or accessed easily to appreciate. Furthermore, I have vivid memories of frustration, Mayor Crosby, staff refusing to allow elected members (Council) and the community any meaningful participation in local OTS processes and outcomes. Any updates by the OTS always in confidential.

@ Mr Tumeke

Posted on 27-10-2016 16:08 | By Laurie

Actually I do know the history behind it - none of us can know the exact history for obvious reasons.So land beside the bridge was set aside for Treaty settlement to redress historical land seizure.Mr Tumeke why do you think the land was originally seized - was it because the British thought it would be a good idea one day to just go and seize some land for the hell of it & risk their lives doing so - no obviously not so you tell me truthfully why it was seized?

take take take!....but never return

Posted on 27-10-2016 23:20 | By tamati03

no good brown people getting their land back for nothing. cant have that. they must pay full price! someone must pay full price! after all, council inherited all of tauranga for free... can't give what equates to 'a drop in a bucket' back for nothing.

@ tamati03

Posted on 28-10-2016 11:54 | By Crash test dummies

Mostly right, last part got a bit lost. The end result is that the sparse local tribes had very few locations that they occupied. In fact so sparse that Hobson almost declared NZ a unoccupied land to claim for the Queen and country. Quiet rightly so should he have done it all that way, no need of a treaty then either. In end result the locals sold off the land, in fact the Elms was part of a large track of land (entire peninsula) sold at fair value of a large track of land (entire peninsula) to a minister at the time. Hobson looked at the deal and accepted it as fair to the locals. Elsewhere in NZ he did reverse some land deals but not this one. SO it was sold fair and square, so definitely not fair to come back 176 years later and wanting it for fre

@ Murray

Posted on 28-10-2016 17:02 | By Crash test dummies

The OTS does not matter, there is no claim entitlement in the first place, so no claim base exists at any level anywhere.

Yes Crash test Dummies

Posted on 05-11-2016 17:46 | By Cydifor

You are right - the land in Tauranga was BOUGHT from Maori. I have seen the information when I was lent an old book on the history of Tauranga.

The real issue here...

Posted on 19-11-2016 12:37 | By morepork

... is not whether the land was promised to local iwi or not (although that definitely needs to be resolved), but rather that it was all done SECRETLY. As ratepayers we deserve to have accountability and TRANSPARENCY from our elected representatives and there should be no "back door", "under-the-table" deals entered in to. What if Rob Paterson had never publicised what was going on? I can see no argument that makes it OK for Council "deals" to be SECRET. You can't blame iwi here; if everything had been open and above board, a much fairer resolution would have been obtained.

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