It has been a see-saw ride for Democracy Action, the lobby group fighting to retain democracy in Council decision making, since the Independent Hearings Panel fully agreed with DA’s submissions against the undemocratic ‘Taniwha Tax’.
First the Council voted to hand decision making on the IHP recommendations to the Development Committee chaired by the bureaucrats lapdog Deputy Mayor, Penny Hulse. Unelected members of the Independent Maori Statutory Board have voting rights on this committee. Members of the IMSB had made submissions in favour of the Taniwha Tax to the Hearings Panel thus giving them a conflict of interest.
Democracy Action riposted that the clear breach of the law left them no alternative but to seek a judicial review of the Auckland Plan. Had this happened the plan would have held up for years In the Environment Court.
This threat cause Hulse, her Development Committee, and the politically correct bureaucrats to cave in this morning. They voted to hand back decision making to the Governing Body, as was originally intended under the legislation. Cllr Cameron Brewer comments:
Councillors this morning voted to push the Auckland Development Committee to one side and we are now directing all Unitary Plan sign off through the Governing Body chaired by the Mayor. This is what eight of us argued for last week but lost 13/8. As I predicted then the legal issues and challenges came flooding in, and so after negotiations with the IMSB they agreed on their own to withdraw. I argued putting all of the IHP's recommendations straight through to the GB for full consideration is what the IHP themselves, public and legislation always intended as the process.
If ever there was a demonstration of democracy in action this has been it. The strength of democracy is that those voted in can be voted out.
Democracy Action has issued the following media release.
COUNCIL CONFIRM REMOVAL OF MANA WHENUA OVERLAY
After 18 months of hard work by hundreds of members and supporters, Democracy Action is celebrating Auckland Council’s decision to accept the recommendations of the Independent Hearings Panel to remove all of the Mana Whenua provisions from Auckland’s Unitary Plan.
Democracy Action’s Chairman, Lee Short, who was at today’s Council meeting, says, “The Council has rejected the recommendation from officials to keep the Mana Whenua overlay. That means sites of cultural significance will need to be properly verified before they are included in future overlays.”
“Democracy Action’s volunteers have spent thousands of hours working for this result – including visiting hundreds of the sites the Council had claimed were significant. The Council never bothered to check the sites, and we exposed that the Mana Whenua overlay was protecting sites including an old rubbish dump, an industrial storage site and even a subdivision.”
Earlier this afternoon the Council accepted the recommendation to remove the controversial “Cultural Impact Assessment” requirements, which officials agreed with the Hearings Panel should be removed from the Unitary Plan.
“Common sense has prevailed,” says Mr Short.
One thing this whole debacle brings into focus is which Councillors believe in democracy and which don’t. I can reveal those who voted in favour of retaining the Taniwha Tax are:
Mayor Len Brown (Goneburgers already!)
Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse
Cllr Mike Lee (of course)
Cllr Cathy Casey
Cllr Chris Darby
Cllr Ross Clow
This is a list of the very worst Councillors on the Governing Body.
They are the most undemocratic members of Auckland Council. This politically correct, tribal elite loving, bunch need to be voted out in October. They are affront to democracy and the Rule of Law.