How the decisions fell
From Auckland Council after the conclusion of the Governing Body yesterday:
Auckland Council’s Governing Body urges government to protect our marine environment
Items 1 – 4 were administrative
Item 5 – Acknowledgements and achievements
The Mayor Len Brown acknowledged the passing of Dave Walden, Bill Mudgway (The eye in the sky), Rev Peter Davis and Josh Martin; a student of Pakuranga college student aged 17. A moment of silence was observed.
Item 6 – petitions
There were no petitions.
Item 7 – public input
There was public input from Steve Abel, representing Greenpeace New Zealand, regarding the Block Offer 2016.
There was public input from Penny Bright on the need for a ‘cost-benefit’ analysis of the Auckland Council amalgamation.
Item 8 Local board input
Waitakere Ranges – Greg Presland and Saffron Toms regarding the Block Offer 2016.
Waiheke Local Board – Shirin Brown regarding the Block Offer 2016.
Items 9 & 10 there were no Notices of Motion or Extraordinary Business
Item 11 – Block Offer submission
Auckland Council’s Governing Body met today and approved the submission to government on the areas proposed to be offered for petroleum exploration permit applications in 2016.
In the submission Auckland Council recognises the vulnerability of the Maui dolphin population and importance of the marine environment and is seeking a number of changes to the offer.
Mayor Len Brown says “I fully support this submission. This is the third time we have made a submission to Government and our position has not changed, we urge caution and seek balances that look to protect our environment. ”
The changes that Auckland Council are seeking include: that government remove any overlap of the block offer release areas with the North Island West Coast Marine Mammal Sanctuary and recommends the area is at least 12 nautical miles offshore.
That government continues to require any permits it grants for activities within the sanctuary adhere to the Department of Conservation’s acoustic disturbance code and that this requirement also applies to any activities within 20 nautical miles of the sanctuary’s seaward boundary.
Auckland Council is also seeking the application of the highest international standards to ensure that risks of oil spills and other discharges are minimised.
Since 2012 government has run an annual Block Offer tending process to coordinate allocation of permits to explore for petroleum (and gas hydrates).
Large areas on offer are subdivided into a grid of ‘blocks’ (roughly 15 x 18kms) so prospective bidders can identify the combination of blocks they are interested in.
Exploration is administered by New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals (NZP&M), part of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.
Prior to releasing proposed block offer areas for tender, NZP&M carry out consultation with iwi and hapu and has also chosen to consult with potentially affected local authorities.
The final decision on areas to be released for tender each year is made by the Minister of Energy and Resources.
This is Auckland Council’s third submission on Block offers and reiterates previous recommendations to minimise any potential environmental impacts.
The first vote which was an amendment by Councillor Cathy Casey and would have opposed the Government block offer while if the offer did proceed that strong mitigation measures are ensued via the Council’s submission. That vote failed 9-11 with Deputy Mayor Hulse displaying her disappointment at the lost vote:
The main vote to allow the offer would later pass 12-8 after Hulse decided to support the main vote.
Item 12 – Report of the Hearing Panel on the confirmation of Legacy Bylaws 2015
Governing Body confirmed seven full bylaws and residual parts of 12 other by laws, made by Auckland’s former local authorities, to avoid them being automatically revoked on 31 October 2015.
The details include: to confirm the legacy bylaws related to freedom camping, electric and barbed wire fencing adjoining public lands, wharves, construction in the road corridor and other public places and on-site waste water management so they remain in force until 31 October 2020.
To confirm the Auckland City Council Bylaws with regards to billboards so that it remains in force until the relevant provisions of the Proposed Unitary Plan become fully operative.
Item 13 – Unitary Plan committee – amendment of membership
The Governing Body appointed Councillor Calum Penrose to the membership of the Unitary Plan committee. The Unitary Plan committee has eight councillor members and two independent Māori Statutory Board (IMSB) members. The membership has been increased to nine by the addition of Councillor Penrose.
Item 14 – Nomination to University of Auckland Animal Ethic Committee
The Governing Body nominated Simon Randall, Chairperson Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board to the University of Auckland Animal Ethics Committee. One lay member of this committee must be appointed on the nomination of the Council. Mr Randall is the current member and is available for re-nomination.
You can watch the footage of the Governing Body HERE.