Government over-riding due process
From the Office of the Mayor Phil Goff and the Chair of Maungakiekie- Tāmaki Local Board Josephine Bartle:
Aucklanders denied say on Point England’s future
The Mayor of Auckland and the Chair of the Maungakiekie- Tāmaki Local Board have expressed their concern about elements of the Point England Development Enabling Bill.
The legislation passed by the House of Representatives last night, allows for large-scale housing development on 11.7 hectares of the reserve in Tāmaki, enabling local iwi Ngāti Pāoa to build 300 houses on the reserve land as part of its Treaty settlement.
Mayor Phil Goff and Board Chair Josephine Bartley accept that Parliament has a sovereign right to dispose of the land and are not opposed to a Treaty settlement with Ngāti Pāoa. However, they remain concerned about the use of special legislation to lift reserve status outside normal statutory processes.
“While council is supportive of action to accelerate house building in Auckland, this bill raises a number of issues,” says Phil Goff.
“This legislation prescribes to Auckland Council what it must do with land vested in and administered by council under the Reserves Act 1977. This prescription circumvents the statutory powers of a local authority responsible for public reserve land under the Act.
“That the minister intends to micro-manage Auckland’s future rather than give residents the opportunity to have their say sets a worrying precedent. Going forward, the minister needs to promise Auckland that he will consult council and Aucklanders on matters that affect their future.”
Josephine Bartley says, “Our community has been denied the right to shape its own future. There is nothing more that residents can do now. Sadly this bill may further endanger wildlife and reduce green space in Maungakiekie-Tāmaki and Auckland.”
“Auckland Council will now engage with the government to ensure the loss of reserve land is properly managed and that decisions are made by locally elected representatives with public consultation,” says the Mayor.
Minister Dr Nick Smith interfered in what was clearly Council business. Not the land going back as part of a Treaty Settlement but using legislation to force a zone change under the Unitary Plan rather than using the standard Private or Public Plan Changes. Plan Changes will factor in the revocation of reserve land under the Reserves Act including privately held reserve land vested to Auckland Council (which the Point England land would have become until the Plan Change was complete).
The land currently is zoned Open Space Recreation and was done so by the Independent Hearings Panel later endorsed by the Council. It was made very clear in the hearings why land was zoned Open Space Recreation and the high bar needed to flip such land to a Residential or Business Zone. Government has effectively rode roughshod over the Unitary Plan and established practices that guide such a zone flip through passing the legislation last night.
I have no doubt if Government had handed the land back as is with the Open Space Recreation Zone underneath it a Public Plan Change (so sponsored by Council) would have occurred allowing a full robust analysis and debate to occur with the City on flipping the land to a Residential zone.
Disappoint is also directed at the Greens who abstained on the Third Reading of the said legislation. If the Greens want to earn Auckland’s respect and vote then they are not doing it by abstaining on matters like this.