Shelly Bay

PHOTO: ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF Shelly Bay, on Wellington’s Miramar peninsula, is an old military facility.

Controversy over Wellington’s Shelly Bay has ensnared iwi, the council and politicians for years. Investigative journalist Nicky Hager uses official documents to lay out the roles of money, power and wheels-within-wheels on this most contentious of developments.

Any time I am asked whether we have corruption in New Zealand, I say we are very lucky. We live in a country where we will never be pulled over by a police officer or taken aside by an immigration officer and expected to give them a bribe. But our luck in living here can make us complacent about the kinds of compromised and non-transparent processes that we do have.


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The classic area where this occurs is local government (e.g. city councils) which has the dangerous combination of not many people watching closely what goes on but decisions worth massive sums of money to contractors, property developers and others.

We have one such issue in Wellington right now. It’s over the fate of an old seaside military base at Shelly Bay, on the Miramar peninsula. While the issue is often in the news, it has become so complex that many struggle to follow the sorry tale.

In simple terms, the issue revolves around three players: local iwi who owned land in Shelly Bay, a property developer who wants to build 350 expensive apartments there and Wellington City Council, which owns a key piece of Shelly Bay land and also would need to fund infrastructure necessary for the development.



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