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Council staff unable to promise improved consents process

Council staff unable to promise improved consents process despite cultural facilitators

Auckland Council staff have been unable to give assurances to council members that consenting processes will improve despite council hiring extra people to facilitate dealings in the process between applicants and Maori, says Councillor Dick Quax.

“This means the Council has hired extra staff to perform functions which council executives have no idea they can carry out effectively and efficiently.

“This is ridiculous and unprofessional. I questioned officials whether applicants would just deal with the Iwi identified by the facilitator as relevant to the resource consent application. They were unable to provide an assurance that this would be the case.”

It was recently disclosed that nearly 4000 sites of value and significance to Maori in the Auckland area would require a “cultural impact” assessment by mana whenua from up to 19 Iwi before work can begin on these sites under resource consent council rules.

“Should a tribal group from as far away as the Waikato feel they have an interest in the particular site covered by the consent application there is nothing to stop their involvement regardless how dubious their links might be.

“The reality of all this, is that Council is now running a parallel consenting process with 19 Maori tribal groups having consenting authority in Auckland.

Ends

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