There is no doubt Council officers have misled their elected representatives by withholding important information on which to base their decisions. The officers have their own agenda which is to deny elected representatives any real voice in running Auckland. They would rather deal with the unelected Maori Statutory Board on whom they intend to confer co-governance status with 50% of the say on all Council matters.
DOCUMENTS REVEAL COUNCILLORS FITTED UP WITH PAUP PROVISIONS
Democracy Action has today revealed internal Council documents indicating a disturbing lack of consultation with elected officials about the controversial cultural impact assessment provisions in the 7,000 page Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. Democracy Action founder, Lee Short, says:
“The documents reveal the normal process of regulatory decision making did not take place. They indicate that while the provisions were mentioned at one Council workshop, Councillors were either not there or have no recollection of anyone highlighting the significance of the issue. It appears there was no informed consideration of the cultural impact assessment provisions by elected members.”
“The only evidence of formal approval provided to the Councillors was to a resolution that did not even refer to cultural impact assessments. Council officials brought their own ball to the game and ran with it tucked under their jersey, then claimed it was officially approved because the ref never saw it.”
“The letters to Auckland Council CEO, Stephen Town, show that Councillor Mike Lee, and several of his colleagues, were not briefed or made aware of the controversial cultural impact assessment requirements prior to them coming into effect. That is despite the provisions creating a significant new burden on ratepayers, requiring applications to buy cultural impact assessments for certain resource consents. With no cost controls the impact could be thousands of dollars in payment, plus delays. There is also the risk of misuse of power by unelected groups.”
"Last week Environment Court judge David Kirkpatrick, who is chairing the independent hearings panel, told media that people didn’t need lawyers and the process isn’t too complex. We understand his objectives, but -we do not agree. The 7,000-page Unitary Plan is hugely complex. It is beyond most people to work out how it inter-relates. The Council itself has made a 26 volume submission with hundreds of proposed amendments. Judge Kirkpatrick’s comments don’t align with the daily enquiries Democracy Action is getting from Aucklanders frustrated and confused by the convoluted hearings process.”
Democracy Action is coordinating efforts to challenge certain parts of the Unitary Plan’s Mana Whenua provisions. Last month, Democracy Action held its first public meeting, attended by more than 230 people. More information, including the internal correspondence referred to above is available at www.democracyaction.org.nz
The incompetence of elected councils these days is not the fault of those elected to them. It is competence in the constitutional sense of what they are allowed to do. They are not allowed to manage road repairs, parks, rubbish collections and all the other things their electorate thinks they are going to do. These are for officers to manage and the politicians must not interfere.