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Single resource consent process at risk

Media statement                      Monday, February 24th, 2014

Single resource consent process at risk

The draft Auckland Unitary Plan's Cultural Impact Assessment provisions could allow unacceptable dual resource consent processes to develop, the Employers and Manufacturers Association says.

"As it stands the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan's Cultural Impact Assessments (CIAs) would add uncertainty, cost and time delays to the issuing of resource consents," said Kim Campbell, EMA's chief executive.

"They would deter investment and prevent businesses achieving the economic growth required under the city's Economic Development Strategy," Mr Campbell said.

"The proposed Plan needs to be clarified and refined or we could see a dual resource consent process developing, one conducted by the Council, and another by iwi.

"At present its far from clear how land and other resources subject to development would be treated under the Cultural Impact Assessments provision.

"We recommend that the proposed Unitary Plan is adjusted to give certainty to the processes required, place a cap on the costs involved, clearly identify a competent authority licensed to undertake these assessments, and a time table under which they must operate.

"Without these simple procedures a resource consent applicant has no way of knowing which iwi to engage with, what their requirements may be, or when their requirements might be provided.

"The proposed Plan should list the relevant Mana Whenua that may be impacted, and remove the requirement for assessments to go to all potentially affected iwi for them to confirm that they are not adversely affected by a consent application.

"The Council's proposed Plan at present falls short on a number of other factors including:

§  Lack of certainty. Under the present proposals it is almost impossible for applicants to determine whether Mana Whenua values exist in relation to a project or assess whether they may or may not be adversely affected.

§  Discretion. Applicants will have to contact relevant Mana Whenua to determine whether a rule under the assessments applies. The rules are set out in Section 3, 2.7.4 of the proposed Plan.

§  Consultation. The proposal contravenes s36A (1) (a) of the RMA as applicants are required to engage with Mana Whenua to prepare information. The RMA prohibits councils requiring an applicant to engage with a third party.

§  Some resource applications may have effects which are so minor they should not be required to be assessed in line with s88 and schedule 4 of the RMA. These are not excluded from the ambit of the cultural assessments.

§  The proposed Plan is unclear how anyone can undertake and/or apply for a Cultural Impact Assessment.

"While business accepts that the community may want to protect many cultural assets with measures such as these, it seems only reasonable for the community to pay for the costs of their protection and not the business adversely affected.

"The current proposed Unitary Plan would add significant extra processes, cost and risk on business for work for which the Council and the community at large should undertake."

ENDS

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