AUCKLAND COUNCIL UNITARY PLAN CHANGES A LAST MINUTE SHAMBLES
The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is slamming today’s revelation by the NZ Herald that just three councillors plus an unelected Maori Statutory Board member approved the dramatic changes to the Unitary Plan that rezone tens of thousands of properties for more intensive housing and apartments.
Reacting to the news, Alliance Spokesperson, Carmel Claridge, who attended last week’s meeting of some 700 concerned property owners, says:
“These radical last minute ‘out of scope’ changes have had no public consultation whatsoever. They have made a complete farce of the Unitary Plan process, and the efforts of the thousands of Aucklanders who submitted on the original draft.”
“To rub salt into the wounds, one of the crucial votes was supplied by a member of the unelected Maori Statutory Board. How is it that the Maori Statutory Board get consultation and decision-making power, but those who live in the suburbs directly affected don't get a word in?”
“Auckland Council should run a transparent consultation processing, put these changes to a full Council vote, and respect democracy by stopping those who aren’t even elected from having more rights than those who own the residential properties which are affected.”
Councillor Christine Fletcher has this to say about the process and the bullying that goes on within Council.
"I have been bullied by a number of people who are trying to suggest I'm anti-intensification. I'm in favour of intensification, but I'm not in favour of a botched process.
"It has been entirely predictable this was always going to be controversial. Therefore any work we undertook had to be evidence-based and democratically taken. That hasn't happened," she said.
Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said the council decided the high-level principles for the Unitary Plan would be made by the whole-of-council Auckland Development committee and the detailed evidence would be made by the Unitary Plan committee.
Christine Fletcher is not the only Councillor who feels bullied by Brown’s and Hulse. Councillor Sharon Stewart walked out of a meeting yesterday because Brown, who was chairing the meeting, simply refused to acknowledge her right to speak. Hulse works in a similar way. Cllr. Sharon Stewart said “The reason why many Councillors don’t attend …is because of the way we are treated.”
All the good will to make Auckland a great city that was apparent at the start of the Supercity five years ago has evaporated under Brown’s command. Brown and Hulse have systematically undermined democracy, granted race based privileges to unelected representatives, and silenced opposing voices.
The Ratepayers’ Alliance is right, the whole thing is a shambles.