Monday, December 4, 2023

Police station land will soon be for sale

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Auckland Council agency Panuku is close to putting the property occupied by the Howick police station on the market. Times photo Wayne Martin

Attempts to stop the sale of land occupied by the Howick police station in east Auckland appear to have failed.

As the Times has previously reported, the council’s finance and performance committee voted late last year to dispose of numerous council-owned properties across the city.

Among the sites to be sold is 34 Moore Street, the site of the former Howick police station, as well as the small portable building that serves as the current Howick police station accessed from Fencible Drive.

Counties Manukau East Police say the six officers based in Howick will relocate to Ormiston and continue to serve Howick and Flat Bush along with the wider area as required.

“We can reassure the public this change will have minimal impact and they can expect to see their community officers still maintaining the same strong presence in Howick.”

About 200 people attended a public meeting on the issue in Howick on May 26.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown and Botany MP Christopher Luxon have since spoken with a council manager and written to council agency Panuku in an effort to stop the sale and to get the Moore Street property subdivided so police can stay.

The two MPs say it’s possible the property’s purchaser could continue to lease the land to police before it’s developed.

“The police said they’re committed to retaining a physical presence in Howick once they do have to vacate, however what that looks like is not yet determined and any change would need to be ‘cost neutral’.

“We [Brown and Luxon] agreed at the public meeting to go back to Auckland Council and

Panuku to make the case this land should be subdivided to allow the police to continue to stay in Howick on the existing site.

“A subsequent discussion has been had with council, who have made it clear they’re not entertaining this idea and are determined to sell the land.”

Brown and Luxon say it’s clear mayor Phil Goff has no intention to revisit the 2020 decision to sell the land and that decision is “disappointing”.

The two MPs will keep working with police to ensure the local community officers can stay in Howick and continue the “excellent work they do”.

A Panuku spokeswoman says the organisation is working through preparatory processes to sell the property.

It’s providing iwi and mana whenua partners with early notification of the opportunity “allowing a limited contestable period for initial expressions of interest before being taken to the open market”.

“Auckland Council manages its assets, including property, to meet service delivery needs, not as a landlord.

“34 Moore Street is destined to become a mixed-use development including homes, aligning with the vision for the site outlined in the Howick Village Centre Plan.

“NZ Police entered into their current lease under certain terms, knowing Auckland Council wanted to sell the property.

“It is not up to Auckland Council to tell the NZ Police where they should site their operations.

“NZ Police has been kept updated throughout this process, as we would do for any of our tenants currently leasing a site that will be sold.”

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