10 Dec 2018

Hastings District Council to foot Te Mata Peak bill

1:14 pm on 10 December 2018

The full cost of removing the controversial track built up Te Mata Peak will be borne by Hastings District Council to acknowledge the mistakes it made in allowing it to be constructed in the first place, Craggy Range winery says.

The controversial walking track up the Eastern side of Te Mata Peak.

The controversial walking track up the Eastern side of Te Mata Peak. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Ratepayers will foot the $650,000 bill for removing the zig-zag walking track built a year ago on land owned by Craggy Range, which prompted outrage from local iwi who were not consulted.

An independent review later found the public should have been consulted before a resource consent for the work was issued.

The council was now seeking a resource consent to remove the track and restore the land to as close to its original state as possible.

Craggy Range said it was only right that the council picked up the tab.

"We have put about $500,000 into this project now, and we are certainly not looking to recover any of that from anyone, despite being given a binding resource consent to do the project.

"I guess the council must have looked at it and decided that they wanted to make a contribution given the errors that were made at their end," Craggy Range chief executive Michael Wildling said.

Craggy Range and Ngāti Kahungunu were finalising the purchase of 50 hectares of land next to the current track, which would be gifted to the public, he said.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst declined to comment, referring only to a statement issued to media on Friday.

"The council wanted to show leadership to set a clear direction for our community and stakeholders in terms of the future of our beloved Te Mata Peak," she said in the statement.

"Council has been working with the Te Mata Track Reference Group, which includes key stakeholders and community groups for over a year, and we have been given a strong message that the community is ready to move on and wants a clear way forward," Mrs Hazlehurst said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs