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Top-Level Advisor To Lead Taskforce

23 September 2004

Manukau City Council Appoints Top-Level Advisor To Lead Taskforce On Improving Consents Process

Council has announced the appointment of Mr Alan Bickers to assist the City Manager's taskforce responsible for improving Council's building and resource consent processes.

"We are very pleased that Mr Bickers has agreed to be part of the Taskforce. We want to improve our consents processes and there's really no one more capable than Alan to help lead that change," says City Manager Colin Dale.

Mr Bickers has over 30 years' experience in the local government sector and in 2002 was elected to the highest class of membership, Distinguished Fellow, by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ).

He is widely regarded for his ability to manage complex systems and processes particularly in the regulatory area. This has been recognised through ministerial appointments, among others Chairman of Transit New Zealand, the Crown Entity responsible for planning, development, operation and maintenance of 10,700 km of State Highways.

Colin Dale says the important task of addressing the recommendations made by Audit NZ on Council's resource and building consents process is now well underway.

"The Taskforce is working through each of the recommendations and providing feedback on any implications that arise. We want residents and ratepayers and the development industry to feel assured of a satisfactory outcome. We want to ensure quality outcomes for the City and the people who live and work here. We've been given the opportunity to improve how we handle applications for consents and we'll be taking full advantage of it," said Mr Dale.

Mr Dale says the Taskforce Terms of Reference have been carefully prepared to address accountability issues between councils, developers, owners and builders.

"This is a very measured approach as the Audit NZ report did not support a knee jerk reaction," said Mr Dale.

Mr Alan Bickers says the problems identified in the Audit NZ report can be seen elsewhere and are quite common in areas subject to development pressure.

"There are certainly some situations, in terms of rapid growth, resourcing, processing timeframes, skills shortages and lack of industry training, that are not unique to Manukau."

"Given my recent experience with a number of other local authorities, and understanding in what is a very complex area, I intend to add a level of robustness to the solutions coming out of the review," said Mr Bickers. "

ENDS

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