The Auckland Council has spent $12 million to acquire a 1.6-hectare property adjacent to the Manurewa Botanic Gardens to prevent it from being developed for housing. Mayor Wayne Brown emphasized that this purchase would enable an extension of the botanic gardens, protecting a valuable asset from inappropriate development. The property, located on Hill Road and zoned for two-story housing intensification, was funded primarily through debt. The acquisition occurred following a series of cost-cutting measures by the council, including service reductions, the elimination of 500 jobs, and the sale of some Auckland Airport shares, all aimed at addressing a significant budget deficit of $375 million. Mayor Brown defended the purchase, asserting that it was warranted because it would yield long-term benefits for future generations and expand open space. He emphasized the decision's significance in safeguarding one of the region's most cherished assets, guaranteeing access, and enhancing protection for the Gardens. Future funding for developing the land for the botanic gardens will be considered in the long-term plan for 2024 to 2034, with the possibility of partnerships or external funding. The property will be maintained as a regional park, ensuring its preservation for natural, cultural, ecological, botanical, and recreational purposes. Council members and supporters praised the decision, highlighting the potential for themed gardens, educational experiences, and resolving traffic management issues in the area.
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