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Thousands of submissions to Unitary Plan not seen

MEDIA RELEASE 2nd July 2013

[statement from David Thornton]

Councillors and Local Board members have not seen thousands of submissions to Unitary Plan.

Notes from public meetings can’t be found.

The thousands of Aucklanders who attended and organised public and community meetings on the draft Unitary Plan will be astounded to learn that notes from those meetings, prepared by Council staff, have mysteriously disappeared and have not been seen by most elected members.

Equally disturbing is the news that individual written submissions made by the public have not been made available to councillors and local board members.This information came to light at a meeting today of the Auckland Plan Committee which was called to approve the next steps in the consideration of the 22,700 pieces of feedback received during the engagement on a first draft of the Unitary Plan.

Today's meeting included a report from workshops which had considered a summary of matters raised in submissions, although the actual written submissions were not made available to the workshop.

The Unitary Plan process is costing ratepayers millions of dollars and those ratepayers have a right to have a full and open discussion on the proposed plan.

This cannot happen if elected members are not given all the relevant information upon which to make reasoned decisions.

If councillors and local board members, elected by the community, are not able to obtain the information they require, a situation may arise leading to the council becoming dysfunctional.

This chaotic situation must not continue and, while work on amending and rewriting the plan should continue once the missing submissions and meeting feedback is made available, the Plan itself must not be notified before the local elections, and until the newly elected council can review the whole process so far.

Ratepayers want value for the millions of dollars being squeezed out of to pay for the development of this Unitary Plan.

ends

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