Inaccurate and incomplete displayed maps generate unnecessary fears
I was made aware last night that someone (most likely to be a Councillor) had leaked confidential maps that were legally privileged under Section Seven of the Local Government Act to Bernard Orsman of the New Zealand Herald.
The maps published into the Herald today were of the South and North. The Isthmus maps have not been released yet.
None-the-less conveying my disappointment in a Councillor leaking those maps has not only breached my trust as a submitter to the Unitary Plan but breaching my own natural justice would be an understatement (and that is still putting it short).
My thoughts last night when I found out:
Whoever decided to leak those confidential Unitary Plan Zone Maps to Bernard Orsman of the New Zealand Herald not only have you breached confidentiality and thus most likely legal privilege until those maps were released next month but you have betrayed the trust of 9,400 submitters including myself who require Council handle such sensitive matters of the Unitary Plan (as it deals with property and property rights) with the due care warranted as we expect.
I do not expect those (and I am looking at Councillors here who leaked it) for petty political gain (as that is all it is) to release such sensitive information like the maps unauthorised. As how as a submitter am I meant to trust you to exercise your impartial discretion if you go piddling confidential information to the media.
The answer is I wouldn’t
In reply to the article published today I have started the complaint process to the Herald of which I will kick to the Press Council if the Editor does not deal with it as I see sufficient.
Below is the letter sent:
To the Editor in Chief of the New Zealand Herald
I draw your attention to the article titled Leaked plans for Auckland suburbs: will high-rises be built in your backyard? by Bernard Orsman in which I am making a complaint against.
Your title is inaccurate, misleading and subjective and not in the spirit of fair and frank reporting. The definition of High Rise per the Auckland and Unitary Plan (both legal documents under either the Resource Management Act and/or Local Government Act) is any building over nine storeys in height.
The only two places those type of buildings (high rise) can be built is either the Metropolitan Centre Zone and the City Centre Zone – both business zones NOT residential zones.
Town Centre Zones (again a Business Zone not a residential) of which Manurewa and Papatoetoe are, are restricted to eight storeys if not even less.
The maximum height the Terraced Housing and Apartment zone allows is 15 metres or five storeys unless there is an overlay over the top allowing more height.
Again high rise is 9 storeys or above.
Mid Rise is 4-8 storeys which the Town Centres and THAB zones are allowed
Low rise is up to 3 storeys (12 metres) which the Mixed Housing Urban Zone allows.
Your interactive map showing the zones is also misleading and inaccurate as while you show the base zones you do not show the overlays that can either reduce or increase the height limits of the zone in question.
The maps also given to you are incomplete and were not due for initial completion thus ready to be released to the public until next month. Therefore you run the extreme risk of having published incorrect maps that might have not been taken to the Unitary Plan Panel nor given to submitters and made available to the public.
And finally in publishing these maps you have breached Section 7 of the Local Government Act which deals with confidential and legally privileged information between Council, any submitter to the Unitary Plan, and the Unitary Plan Panel.
I therefore request your story on the grounds of breaching Section 7 of the LGA as well as major inaccuracies, incompleteness and subjectivity be withdrawn from the online edition completely and an apology to Auckland written in the next edition.
Failure to do so will result in a Press Council Complaint based on the grounds mentioned above.
I look forward to your reply
We will see where this goes but my disappointment in those in Council playing petty games and point scoring again would be an understatement to say the least.