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Council to deliver many regulatory improvements

26 August 2002


Council to deliver many regulatory improvements

The Auckland public can expect faster turn-around, quicker approvals and improved case management when it comes to resource consents.

A report from an independent panel reviewing the Auckland City Council’s regulatory process has recommended a number of changes to improve resource consent processing and District Plan policies and rules which disproportionately trigger the need for consents.

The Auckland City Council currently processes between 7,000 and 8,000 consents each year – at least twice the number any other council deals with.

“The council’s aims are to improve customer service and meet our business objectives and I’m pleased to say the major outcomes will be of considerable benefit to both the public and council staff,” said Councillor Juliet Yates, chairperson of Auckland City Council’s City Development Committee, and Regulatory and Fixtures Subcommittee.

“The public will greatly benefit from the proposed changes to Auckland City Environments’ (ACE) procedures, aimed at simpler processing and reduced delays for both straightforward and complex consent applications. The appropriate assessment path must still be followed but the less time required will mean less cost for everyone.
“Plan changes will benefit both the homeowner who decides to put up a garage on a sloping section and the developer who aims at a new office complex,” she said.

Changes are also recommended to council staff resources and responsibilities. In addition to the procedural changes, a number of initiatives will encourage career paths and therefore the retention of staff at ACE – the council arm responsible for the assessment and issuing of resource consents.

Ms Yates said the recommendations reinforce the City Development committee’s programme of district plan review and priorities set for plan changes.

The review panel’s report, made public today, has had a number of initial actions proposed in response to its recommendations. Some recommendations have already been put in action, some will go through council committee processes, while others will be placed on the next council agenda.

“This review has been very thorough. It has been conducted by a very skilled group of external practitioners who have first hand experience with the procedures required by the RMA and that of council.”

On the review panel were Alan Bradbourne (convenor), John Childs, Mark Copper QC, Patrick Fontein, Bruce Holdsworth, Nigel McKenna, Ron Wright, and Peter Jordon.

“The new methods will assist the council in its careful equitable approach to resource management. There’s a big push on improving customer service but environment protection will not be compromised,” said Ms Yates.

ENDS

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