Legal Advice provided by Council advises against withdrawing any evidence to the rezoning topics
The independent legal advice given to the Governing Body of Auckland Council before the February 24 Unitary Plan vote is out and can be read below:
Source and further commentary: Unitary Plan Roosting Chickens
The part of the advice that really stood out and is made extremely clear:
The advice is pretty unequivocal and it has to be asked have the 13 Councillors who voted for the withdraw constituted negligence on their part by exposing Council to detrimental legal and practical consequences to Auckland and the community (the City)?
From Radio NZ:
Delay in Auckland housing hearing decision
The independent panel considering Auckland’s Unitary Plan has put off deciding whether housing proposals withdrawn by the council remain valid.
A political revolt by councillors had forced the council to withdraw some of its higher density proposals, and witnesses supporting it.
Housing New Zealand told the panel it wanted to adopt some of the evidence and still wanted to cross-examine council witnesses.
The panel chair, Judge David Kirkpatrick, said a decision would be made later on the status of the evidence, which the council not longer supported.
A lawyer for Auckland 2040, which has led opposition to some higher density, has argued that evidence not supported by the witness who authored it cannot remain valid.
The panel decision will play a big part in deciding the role that the council can play in the final and most contentious hearings on the Unitary Plan, which is due to be completed by October.
As I see it the Panel will go one of two ways:
- Out of Scope to go invalid (legitimising the Council vote) and the Panel contravening itself from earlier decisions
- Out of Scope becomes In Scope (nullifying the Council vote)
Also not to forget that the Government is refusing to rule out intervention. While Commissioners are the nuclear option the other and most likely option if Government IS to intervene would be to enshrine into legislation the Recommendations from the Panel while bypassing the Governing Body of Auckland Council. Appeals would still be able to lodge however, Government for stability sake might prevent any Plan Changes (especially Public (Council led)) for two years.
Annoying we are going through these motions when the Out-of-Scope material was already legal: Correcting Auckland 2040’s Unitary Plan befuddlement