Councillors trying to sidestep two pieces of legislation that govern the Unitary Plan processes
I see nine Councillors are trying to defy both the Local Government Act and the Resource Management Act which governs the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan processes by trying to force open more public submissions on the Plan itself, specifically around the rezoning which is due to be heard by the Unitary Plan Hearings Panel next year.
The Notice of Motion to the Governing Body of Auckland Council which was subsequently struck down was the following:
“That the Auckland Council should not seek to allow the up-zoning of residential properties without first undertaking full public consultation with the Auckland community so as to facilitate good faith and natural justice with affected property owners.”
The nine that signed it: Dick Quax, George Wood, Chris Fletcher, Cameron Brewer, Denise Krum, Cathy Casey, John Watson, Mike Lee and Sharon Stewart.
Now the Unitary Plan processes are governed by two Acts of Parliament:
- The process itself (so submissions, the Hearings etc.):
- The Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act 2013 (the Act) establishes a stream-lined process to help deliver the first Auckland Unitary Plan. The Panel established under the Act started hearing submissions in September 2014. The Panel is scheduled to complete the hearings in April 2016 and is required to release its recommendations to the council no later than 22 July 2016. Source: How Will Council Approach the Unitary Plan Hearings Panel Recommendations
- The Resource Management Act 1991 given that the Unitary Plan is essentially an RMA document and required as such by the Act
As I said above the Mayor was right to strike down the Notice of Motion Application for the following reasons:
And the Mayor is right to strike the Notice down as it would be in breach of the legislation that the Unitary Plan Hearings is set under.
People had their chance to submit on the zones when it went out for submissions in 2013 and 2014. Even if you supported the zone your house sat on you should have still submitted simply saying I support the Single House Zone my house at XYZ 123 road sits on for ABC reasons. It subsequently means you are then a submitter and thus allowed to participate in the Independent Hearings Panel when called.
Now given submitters like myself have called for Rezoning across the City the Panel must weigh off our submissions against other submissions including Council’s.
Simply put this is a matter for the submitters, the Council and the Panel and it seems Councillors have led residents up the garden path by not telling them to submit in the first place.
Others have said similar to what I have said above in that while not perfect the opportunities were there and they have been missed.
As a result we have potentially nine Councillors both leading residents up the garden path and knowingly contravene those two Acts of Parliament I have mentioned above through that Notice of Motion.
The Hearings Panel and for that matter the Ministers of Local Government, and for the Environment would have stated to Council by now if the two Acts had been contravened and public submissions should be opened back up on the rezoning.
But they have not and so this applies (as said by a fellow commenter):
I don’t see why those ratepayers who sat back and did nothing when the PUP was set should now be allowed to complain. If they had bothered to make submissions in the first place they’d have the right to participate in the process. Even submissions in support of any proposals (such as zoning) affecting their community or more broadly would have ensured they were later invited to have a say at hearings on those topics. We took time to submit on several topics, including a ‘further submission’ on someone else’s submission when it related to our property. It has meant going to several hearings, and now, where Council’s position on some of the issues has changed, we get to respond.
If those nine Councillors continue to try to contravene the Local Government Act AND the Resource Management Act the way they are now I believe in them reconsidering their positions come #Auckland2016.