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Council to increase help for applicants contacting iwi

Media release

4 March 2014

Council to increase help for resource consent applicants contacting iwi

Auckland Council will contact iwi on behalf of applicants whose resource consents may need a Cultural Impact Assessment (CIA), removing one of the key areas of concern for people impacted by new provisions in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

This step is one of a number of moves the council is making to help applicants, following discussions over recent months with iwi.

While the requirement for CIAs has been around for many years, the council’s Chief Planning Officer Roger Blakeley says increased protection for Auckland’s cultural heritage and values means more people are now likely to need them.

This protection was called for during feedback on the draft Auckland Unitary Plan and the rules came into effect when the plan was notified on 30 September 2013.

Dr Blakeley says: “It is important for Auckland to protect its cultural heritage and values – and for the rules to be workable.

“We’re working closely with iwi to find ways to get the right balance: providing protection, while easing the impact on landowners. Providing a facilitator to contact iwi on applicants’ behalf is just one of the steps we can take to help make the process more straightforward.”

Dr Blakeley says the outcome of a CIA is not an approval of an application, it is simply advice that needs to be taken into account by the council, who makes the decision on a consent application.

The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan requires applicants to ask iwi whether a CIA is needed if their consent has an environmental impact (such as discharges to air or water) that may have an adverse impact on Mana Whenua values, or if it is in an area that has a site of significance or value to Mana Whenua, based on archaeological records.

Other steps being taken to streamline the process include:

- Working with iwi to refine maps covering areas of interest, so it is clearer which iwi have a specific interest in individual applications

- Establishing clearer guidelines for when a CIA is required

- Working with iwi on ways to streamline the process

- Iwi are also discussing themselves how they can provide greater certainty for applicants

Submissions on the proposed plan closed last week and these will be summarised and published by the end of May.

Dr Blakeley says there are widespread views on the Mana Whenua provisions and he expects there to have been many submissions on the issue. These will be heard by the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel.

“The next step in the process is to listen to what Aucklanders have to say through the submissions and hearings process.”

If applicants have any questions they are advised to call the resource consents team on 09 301 0101.

Ends

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