The changes, approved by just three Councillors and an unelected member of the Independent Maori Statutory Board, would have left nearly 100,000 affected residents facing housing intensification without any right to object. They had been sneaked through at the behest of Council planners, led by Penny Pirrit, at the eleventh hour just before Council finished for the summer break.
Around 150 and 200 members of the public crowded into the Town Hall to hear how the vote would go. They filled the Council Chamber and overflowed into a room downstairs where they watched the televised proceedings on a large screen. It was standing room only in both rooms.
I was there and will bring you more details tomorrow. Suffice to say at this late hour, having only just returned home from the marathon five hour meeting, that the vote to withdrawn the changes was won by 13 votes to 8.
On hand were fellow members of the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance, and Democracy Action. The Alliance immediately issued the following media release as soon as the vote was finalised.
FINALLY, A WIN FOR RATEPAYERS
Ratepayers can claim victory for today’s Council vote quashing the undemocratic last minute changes made by a committee of Councillors and Maori Statutory Board members, which were never consulted on until today.
“Today is the day that Auckland Council realizes it can no longer ride rough shod over the democratic rights of ratepayers,” says Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Jo Holmes. “No matter your views on the intensification issue, who wants a Council that ‘consults’ for two years on an issue, then completely throws out the process to deny the rights of those affected to have their say.”
“This was always about natural justice and democracy.”