WCC Election 2019: Shelly Bay: Ian Cassels steps into the fray. Now what?

Developer Ian Cassels has responded to Peter Jackson’s criticism of the Shelly Bay development, saying that Sir Peter’s published statements “repeat a series of falsehoods and present an entirely incorrect and misleading account of what has happened and what is likely to happen.” – Wellington Scoop

I encourage you to read the full email, link below, for context.

The email starts;

“I am writing to you directly to set out some basic facts about the redevelopment of Shelly Bay – Taikuru” – The Wellington Company

But, when you read through the email several times the facts still seem quite unclear and on balance, it appears that we are now in the position of “he said she said”, where all parties are accusing the other parties of being in the wrong and none, other than Peter Jackson, providing any compelling documentation to back up their positions.

Murky indeed. I don’t think we are getting any closer to answering the questions that Peter Jackson asked originally, answered. We are still yet to hear from our Eastern Ward Councillors. We are still yet to see how the WCC is going to restore trust in their leadership and future process.

The email goes on to say:

“There are a range of other factual inaccuracies in your publications which we object to but which we will not itemise here.”

Well, that’s at odds with the first statement, which is to “set out some basic facts.” I think people want to see the extent of the objections by The Wellington Company along with supporting evidence so that they can judge for themselves.

The email finishes on an ominous note;

“… should you continue to defame me and my company I will have no option but to respond.”

I imagine that right now several lawyers around the country are cheering. Both parties here have extensive means to engage in any lengthy and expensive litigation.

I also imagine that the WCC is cringing right about now because any case would presumably require them to produce evidence to the court and could see Officers, Councillors, and Mayor summoned to appear to testify. As it would other parties involved.

The process would likely take years given the complex nature of the situation and the number of players involved. It would be very, very expensive.

Over on the “Maori Land Matters – Take Whenua Maori” Facebook page, they’ve responded to The Wellington Company’s email to Peter Jackson. There are several lengthy posts that are well worth reading to provide more context for the current situation.

You can also sign up for information from the group here, regardless of whether you are part of the iwi or not.

It’s all quite tiring.

We’re no closer to transparency on the issue of Shelly Bay, and while Councillors are promising to speak out, they generally aren’t, except for a couple.

Let’s recap on our players;

  • The WCC. Involved in a war that they probably don’t quite understand and told that they cannot fight. They can be attacked, but they must not respond. Residents, generally, think that they, the Council, are wholly responsible for this battle, when in fact they are only a small player, but an important one.
  • Peter Jackson has the largest army with more volunteers joining every day. He’s untouchable, and while his demands are not met, he’s likely to keep engaging in the fight. Questions are raised by Peter Jackson and not answered by any of the other players.
  • The Wellington Company enters the fray with much trumpeting and promise but doesn’t appear to be able to answer questions other than to assert that other parties have got it wrong. Has launched a shot over the bows of Peter Jackson, which is likely to have little effect.
  • PNBST “management” have had one slap back at Peter Jackson, which was ineffective and didn’t answer any of these questions; they have currently disappeared from the field.
  • PNBST iwi members are gathering themselves around the edges and running quite the campaign against the PNBST “management” in the background; their voice will grow and we might see legal action coupled with future protests.
  • The Miramar BID has gone surprisingly quiet after being the original force that started at least some of the war.

What happens now?

We can expect a broad statement from the WCC on the situation in the next couple of days. It’s unclear what that may be, but chatter suggests it is coming. They are likely to lay down the facts around what they are responsible for and call for a truce. They may move Justin Lester away from being the primary spokesperson on Shelly Bay.

We could see one or more Eastern Ward Councillors breakaway and make their own statements, given they are under increasing calls to speak out about what is suddenly the largest issue in their ward.

I suspect we won’t hear anything out of Peter Jackson for a few days, but, that he will return with more questions and potential issues.

The other players are likely to remain silent while they watch to see what happens next.