Waiheke Island marina developer ‘pleased’ after police action

The developer of a 186-berth Waiheke Island marina says it is “pleased” after police swept in to make arrests and remove protesters today.

But protesters are strongly objecting, saying they were carrying out a “peaceful” protest and police had no right to remove them or their belongings from the occupation of the moana. Protesters claimed on social media between 50 and 70 police arrived around 8am this morning to take action.

Kennedy Point Boatharbour said this afternoon: “The company is pleased that the police have responded today to the untenable situation that has developed on-site and supports their objective of ensuring that the site is made safe for all.

“The heightened police presence and activity on site today is clearly a direct consequence of the protesters’ illegal actions in recent days, which have included forcibly trespassing into an active construction zone and occupying pontoons installed for safety purposes, and then gaining access onto construction equipment within the construction zone and refusing to leave,” the company said.

The protesters sang waiata as two people were taken away in a police boat: “Send you aroha to Pūtiki,” said one protester appealing for more people to arrive to shore up numbers.

But Kennedy Point Boatharbour said today: “The police on the ground are doing the job that the New Zealand public expects of them in these challenging ‘stand-off’ situations, and they are to be supported in what can only be a difficult and traumatic job.

“The company continues to respect the rights of people to protest peacefully.But where protests are aimed at unlawfully frustrating the rights of other citizens, as has occurred at Kennedy Point, they can no longer be called peaceful,” it said.

Inspector Gary Davey of Auckland City Police said staff had been deployed to the island.

“There have been ongoing issues between developers and protesters at the site for an extended period of time. Earlier this morning, police arrested and removed three people that were trespassing on a pontoon inside the construction zone.

“Police remain present at the site and we are monitoring the situation. Our focus is on ensuring the safety of all parties, from protesters present to construction workers and the wider public,” Davey said.

Police recognised the public’s right to protest peacefully and lawfully. A further update will be provided at a later stage today, he said.

This is day 129 of the protest at Kennedy Point in an attempt to stop construction of the marina.

A protester stopped work since Saturday by climbing high up on one of New Zealand’s biggest maritime jackup barges.

A spokesperson for Kennedy Point Marina said earlier this week that work had been stopped for the last few days because a protester was high up on equipment on the site.

Heron Construction won the contract for the 186-berth marina and has anchored in the bay its massive orange and yellow demountable jackup barge Tuhura with an excavator on top.

A male protester entered the 18m by 9.9m steel hydraulic barge on Saturday, a Heron spokesman said yesterday. The barge is a drilling rig to enable piles to be driven into the seabed for the new marina.

This is the 129th day Protect Pūtiki members have been at the site, attempting to get Government ministers and Auckland Council to take notice of their attempts to stop the construction of the marina with floating car park, storage, laundry and cafe.

Some time ago, one protester stripped naked to try to stop construction workers tying cables and video shows that altercation at Kennedy Point.

Protect Pūtiki wants Auckland Council and Government ministers “to mandate a process that will enable all affected parties to come up with an outcome everyone can live with”.

But Kennedy Point Boatharbour’s Kitt Littlejohn says the company has a valid resource consent and should be allowed to proceed to build what it is legally allowed to.

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