Wellington Mayor Prendergast Aware Of Husband’s Letter Over Wellington’s Controversial Hilton Hotel Proposal

LAWFUEL – The NZ Law Newswire – Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast was aware of a letter written to the Ministry for the Environment by her husband, a property developer with hotel interests, seeking to prevent funding from the Ministry to help fund legal opposition to the proposed controversial Hilton Hotel development on Wellington’s waterfront.

The letter was provided to LawFuel.com, the legal news website.

The letter was written in October 2006 by Rex Nicholls, who was a member of the Wellington Civil Trust, and had previously been a chair of the trust, and sought to prevent any funding for the Trust to take legal steps to oppose the decision to build the hotel. Mr Nicholls saw “long term danger” in the Trust associating itself with Waterfront Watch in its objection to the hotel development. He saw Waterfront Watch as representing “all that is negative and damaging” to Wellington.

Ms Prendergast said although she was aware her husband had written the letter, “it was nothing to do with me either professionally or personally.” She said she was aware of the letter, as was the Wellington Civil Trust.

The Ministry replied to Mr Nicholls on November 2, when the Ministry said it had received no application for funding from the Trust in respect of any opposition action in respect of the hotel. The letter said that any application would be forwarded to an independent Advisory Panel.

Mr Nicholls disclosed that he is part owner of a hotel himself and said in his letter he had no interest in whether a hotel was built or not. “My concern is for the status and longevity of WCT which I consider will be badly damaged by being associated with this negative action,” the letter said, referring to the WCT’s association with vehement Hilton opponents Waterfront Watch.

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