Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Public Rebuke for Historic Places Trust Chief

Public Rebuke for Historic Places Trust Chief

A public meeting in Alexandra last night (21.05.08) called on the NZ Historic Places Trust Board to censure the Trust’s senior management for ignoring local concerns regarding significant heritage issues in Central Otago, most contentiously Meridian Energy’s proposal to build Project Hayes on the Old Dunstan Road.

NZHPT Trust Chief Executive, Bruce Chapman, was invited to explain to Central Otago branch members and supporters the changing nature of the Trust’s organisation and role. Mr Chapman explained that despite having 26,000 members, the Trust is a Crown Agency and derives 80% of its funding from the Government. Limited resources means however that the Trust is forced to establish priorities and make hard choices as to where those resources will be focused.

Challenged by former Branch Chairman, Graye Shattky, regarding the Trust’s behind-the-scenes negotiation with Meridian Energy and subsequent withdrawal from the Environment Court Appeal against Project Hayes wind farm, Mr Chapman took responsibility for the decision. While he still believed that no mitigation measures could completely preserve the heritage values of the Old Dunstan Road, threatened with extensive modification by Project Hayes, his assessment was, “that better heritage outcomes would be achieved through negotiation than by conducting an expensive appeal which, in his view, was likely to fail”.

Responding to Mr Chapman, speakers made clear the “sense of betrayal” most present shared with regard to the Trust’s failure to consult the local Branch and take account of the District’s concern to protect the Old Dunstan Road, presently threatened by Project Hayes on the Lammermoor Range and by development proposals at Poolburn.

Dr Mike Floate, Immediate Past President, Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust, told Mr Chapman that the direct result of his decision was that Meridian was now claiming in the Environment Court, ”that the NZHPT was not opposed to Project Hayes and that the Trust’s heritage concerns had been satisfied.”

“The truth is Mr Chapman, as you have acknowledged, only Meridian’s abandoning the Lammermoor site can remove the risk of destroying forever the road’s significant heritage values,” said Dr Floate.

Grahame Sydney, presently completing a television documentary which will include never-before-told stories of the Old Dunstan Road, informed the meeting that the Trust’s Wellington bureaucracy had seriously underestimated the effect on the public of their decision, pointing to, “the power and respect with which the NZHPT was regarded by the public and therefore their acceptance that the Trust’s withdrawal indicated that there was nothing to be concerned about”.

The Old Dunstan Road

The lively debate was finally brought to a close by the passage of a resolution calling on the NZHPT Trust Board to censure senior management for failing to take account of the strong feeling and concern in Central Otago with regard to heritage matters. The resolution was described by Mr Shattky as a “symbolic gesture, which might stir the Trust Board to reconsider the interaction between management and membership.”

Asked what the outcome for the meeting might mean for the future of the Central Otago Branch, Mr Shattky thought that some members were likely to re-consider where best to direct their energy and time on behalf of heritage.

“Central Otago’s valuable heritage, requires strong advocacy from groups capable of providing leadership on specific matters when necessary and not afraid to speak out publicly regarding the heritage aspects of statutory matters such as resource consent applications and plan changes. Because the Branch is not permitted to act independently in this regard, its reduced role might be likened rather to a ‘committee selling cakes to buy battleships’.

“Given that other local groups such as the Maniototo and Central Otago Environmental Societies have risen to this challenge, it may be that the time has arrived for the Trust to recognize that the interests of New Zealand heritage might best be served by arranging an amicable divorce between the regulatory functions and the membership and advocacy functions.” said Mr Shattky.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election