Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Town, thinks he can save his and Brown’s ‘plan’ by stacking some unelected ‘think tank’ with their own lackeys (Youth Council, Generation Zero, Transportblog) and somehow this will influence Councillors to make a different decision in August and improve public trust in Council process? They must be crazier than I thought.
Peace talks aimed at breaking the impasse over housing density in Auckland appear to have fallen over at the first hurdle.
Council chief executive Stephen Town yesterday floated the idea of an independent group gathering the views of Aucklanders on an issue that caused division among some residents and damaged political relationships.
He said the feedback could help guide councillors as they make final decisions on the Unitary Plan in August.
Last night, Richard Burton, of the community group Auckland 2040, said the idea was "nutty" and he would not participate.
"This is a kneejerk, face-saving solution," said Mr Burton, who has become the voice for property owners concerned about higher-density housing in the suburbs. The council should approve the Unitary Plan and if it believed there was a shortage of housing it should introduce a plan change with evidence and public consultation, he said.
Last night, Mr Town said the thinking behind the idea was it might be seen as a more constructive and positive process independent of council. (my italics)
Generation Zero spokesman Leroy Beckett said it was smart and necessary for the council to reach out to all sides to find common ground.
"This is another case of council arrogance but this time it over-reached itself," councillor Mike Lee said in his Ponsonby News column.
The Ratepayers' Alliance has issued a hard-hitting media release this morning that calls Stephen Town's move 'grotesque'.
This Council is out of control
Auckland Councillors have been completely blind-sided by a move from Auckland Council officials to undermine the Councillors’ decision last week to remove unnoticed, last minute, changes to the Draft Unitary Plan.
Since the NZ Herald reported this morning that Council Chief Executive, Stephen Town, had floated the idea of an “independent group” gathering the views of Aucklanders on housing density, Ratepayers’ Alliance representatives have spoken to Councillors who expressed surprise, shock and a complete lack of knowledge of what the Council had done.
Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Carmel Claridge, says:
“Who on earth is in charge at this organisation? The governing body makes a very clear decision and within a week officials are undermining elected representatives.”
“Whose decision was this? The Mayor, who voted to keep the last minute changes, or the Chief Executive who is supposed to be a servant of the people?”
“What makes this move particularly grotesque is despite the brouhaha last week, the Council wants to appoint a new sock puppet group, pay them the earth, and use them in lieu of consultation on officials’ desired changes.
That isn’t consultation. It gives absolutely no say whatsoever to the people that are actually affected. It’s a complete sham and is exactly the sort of thing that got Council into this mess in the first place."