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Independent Hearings Panel website goes live

Media advisory
12 May 2014

Independent Hearings Panel website goes live

The Independent Hearings Panel set up by the Ministers of Environment and Conservation to consider submissions to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, now has a dedicated website.

The website will include all information relating to the Unitary Plan hearings including how the panel plans to review the submissions received.

Panel chair Judge David Kirkpatrick says, “We will consider just over 9,000 submissions, which raise around 100,000 points regarding possible changes to the Unitary Plan.

“We have a limited amount of time in which to do this job and it is a challenging prospect, however we believe with careful organisation we can deliver, on time, sensible recommendations for the Unitary Plan.

“The website will provide submitters with everything they need to take part in the hearings process, including the topics being considered, scheduling of hearings and progress being made by the Panel,” says Judge Kirkpatrick.

The pre-hearing meetings are expected to start in August 2014 following publication of the summary of submissions and the further submissions phase. The hearings, where members of the Panel review the submissions on a particular topic in the Plan and hear presentations from submitters and expert witnesses, are expected to start towards the end of 2014.

The hearings and pre-hearing meetings are open to the public and media. Mediation sessions and conferencing of expert witnesses will not be in public.

An overview of the hearing programme will be posted on the website this July, showing hearing topics, when the hearings are expected to take place and how much time is allocated for each.

Once the hearings have concluded the Panel will agree what changes it will recommend to the council, and present these in a public report.

The Panel has to complete this task by July 2016 so that Auckland Council has time to consider the changes and make its decisions by the statutory deadline of 30 September 2016.

The Independent Hearing Panel website is www.aupihp.govt.nz

ENDS

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