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Jean Batten process working effectively

21 December 2005

Mayor confident Jean Batten process working effectively

Auckland city's Mayor, Dick Hubbard, says the council and the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) are continuing to work together to investigate options for the Jean Batten building.

This follows recent announcements from both the High Court and the Historic Places Trust that may affect the building's future.

The Historic Places Trust yesterday placed a Resource Management Act (RMA) heritage order on the building, after last week registering it as a category one historic place. A heritage order provides strong interim statutory protection to the building, unlike heritage registration, which indicates the building's significance as assessed by the Trust. The heritage order also requires the Historic Places Trust to be included as a party to any negotiations.

The High Court last week upheld the Environment Court's declaratory judgement that BNZ's demolition consent would remain valid for five years from the date of its original issuing. The new lapse period was introduced through amendments to the RMA in 2003. The demolition consent was approved in 2002 when the lapse period, as set out in the RMA at the time, was only two years.

"Our legal advice was that the resource consent would be valid for five years so the High Court's decision isn't a surprise," says the Mayor.

"I want to emphasise that the moratorium between the council and the BNZ is still in place and both parties are working through an agreed process to investigate options for the building.

"I certainly respect the Trust's right to take a stance on the issue if they believe the building is at risk. However, we will continue to work with the BNZ, and obviously now with the Trust, to try and reach an agreement on the future of Jean Batten. I am confident the moratorium and the agreed process are working effectively."

ENDS

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