Chris Darby and Ross Clow are the latest Councillors to have eleventh hour doubts about ‘out of scope’ changes to Council’s submission on the Unitary Plan. Both Councillors are in wards where a large numbers of residents will be affected by the changes.
According to the Herald Chris Darby was only saying a few days ago that he continued to support the out of scope changes.
On February 10, Mr Darby said resetting the council's "decision-making to square zero is to turn our backs on addressing Auckland's housing crisis.
"We cannot absolve ourselves of responsibility by throwing in the political towel now.
"I'm not coivnced (sic) we've got the balance right but at this stage I'm prepared to see things tested through the public hearings process and reserve my final position for mid-year," he said.
He is a strange choice of Councillor for the North Shore. He is weak. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a case of too little too late for him and this election sees him consigned to the ranks of out of work second hand cars salesmen where he belongs. A similar fate should attend the other flip-flopping Councillor, Ross Clow.
Meanwhile the bureaucrats, at the behest of the Mayor, have tried for a second time to bully Councillors with threats and intimidation.
Councillors yesterday received a second briefing on the proposed changes behind closed doors, described by one as a "brow-beating".
Councillor Chris Fletcher said she had received a veiled threat from officers that she may not be able to vote on the plan at the final stages in August.
She said there was a suggestion that councillors who oppose parts of the plan and take a public position may have a conflict of interest when the council makes final decisions on recommendations from an independent hearings panel.
Penny Pirrit, director of regulatory services, said councillors were reminded of obligations to come to decisions with an open mind so there can be no allegations of predetermination.
"They were not told that speaking out on changes could lead to them being unable to vote on the Unitary Plan, nor was this implied."
The mayor declined to comment.
The final word is left to Michael Barnett, CEO of Auckland Chamber of Commerce, who was reported as saying:
"You'd think that given the huge changes Auckland is going through, the council leadership would want to operate in a way that ensures people are comfortable with its processes," Mr Barnett said.
It was stupid, he said, to destroy the special character of the inner-city suburbs when large areas of Auckland's south and west were seeking to intensify and grow their population and business opportunities.
Whether or not the 'out of scope' changes would be withdrawn will be decided at a full public meeting of Council tomorrow at 2pm at the Town Hall. I’ll be there to report back.
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