Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


4 Councillors endorse Plan Change


4 Councillors endorse Plan Change 6

Mon, May 19 2014

Plan Change 6, as directed by the Board of Inquiry (BOI) in its draft decision, would give the region a swimmable, fishable, healthy Tukituki.

Four Regional Councillors — Barker, Beaven, Belford and Graham — heartily endorse the BOI decision. We believe farmers and growers can meet its requirements and prosper, and that HBRC and our regional ag sector should start working toward that end.

However, five Regional Councillors (Dick, Hewitt, Pipe, Scott and Wilson), the council’s investment company (HBRIC), and senior managers have a different priority. They want a dam … at any cost. And they fear the strong environmental protections required by the BOI will quash the dam, whose prime purpose is to promote intensified farming.

And so, since the BOI decision was announced on 15 April, they have worked mightily to undermine it. HBRC/HBRIC leaders have played semantic games as to whether or not they wish to seek ‘technical’ clean-up of the decision, as the rules permit, or to pursue a more far-reaching agenda based upon their opposition to the tougher environmental regime.

First, the staff initiated a request for a Ministers’ delay in the final decision of the Board of Inquiry regarding its plan for the Tukituki. Councillors — four of whom were reluctant to seek a delay — were not given an opportunity to review the final request before it was sent. And as it turns out, the request unilaterally reversed the posture that had earlier been agreed to by Councillors.

The BOI itself made no request for a delay, and when asked to comment on the HBRC/HBRIC request, said it had “no position” on any extension, adding: “The Board notes that if an extension is granted it will still release its final decision as soon as is practicable before the time limit for that decision.” That sounds like a Board confident of its decision.

Nevertheless, Ministers Adams and Smith extended the review period by one month in a letter released on 14 May, officially communicating a decision surely known beforehand by HBRC’s dam team.

However, on May 14, for the first time (a full month after the BOI’s decision), Councillors (meeting along with Maori representatives as the Regional Planning Committee) received a staff paper critically assessing the BOI decision. Based upon the interrogation that occurred, the Committee rejected the staff analysis, and declined to receive it. But at no time during the debate did staff indicate that the Ministers’ delay had already been granted, on the basis of arguments made in then-rejected staff paper.

Then, last Friday, HBRC/HBRIC filed ‘technical’ objections with the Board regarding the BOI’s Tukituki protection plan. These expanded upon the staff assessment rejected two days earlier. HBRC Councillors did not see in advance, let alone approve, the HBRC submission. This action breaks all precedent when HBRC submits on matters before external authorities.

So on what authority are objections about Plan Change 6 being voiced to Ministers and the BOI?

We — Councillors Barker, Beaven, Belford, Graham — believe the HBRC submission has no authority whatsoever. We have indicated that to Ministers Adams and Smith, asking them to provide an opportunity for we Councillors to officially submit in support of the Plan Change.

Perhaps mistakenly, we thought we — not the staff — were elected to make such major policy decisions.

This behaviour by HBRC/HBRIC leaders, with its breaches of important Council due process, constitutes poor governance at best, or contempt of Councillors’ role and responsibilities at worst.

Either way, they will be challenged.

Here’s Radio NZ’s report on the matter.

Tom Belford

P.S. With the scheme’s remaining touted investor, Ngai Tahu, pulling out of the project yesterday, you might be interested in HBRIC chief executive Andrew Newman’s spin this morning on Radio NZ.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Budget 2016: More Partnership Schools To Open

Seven new schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017. “The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

No Correspondence With English: Did Brownlee Make Up Sale Of Navy Ships ‘On The Hoof?’

Having revealed that several Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have not left port in years, New Zealand First is now asking the Minister of Defence to prove he did not come up with the idea of selling HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki until the media asked him. More>>

Housing Plans: Labour- Abolish Auckland Urban Boundary
The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis. More>>
Greens - State House Solution
The Homes Not Cars policy allows Housing New Zealand to retain its dividend and, in addition, would refund its tax, to spend on the emergency building of around 450 new state houses. More>>

ALSO:

Houses And Taxes: Post-Cabinet, Pre-Budget Press Conference

The Prime Minister said that the pre-budget announcements showed that his Government is “investing in a growing economy”. He re-affirmed the National Government’s commitment to lowering personal tax rates but that any such change must fit with the fiscal reality of the time. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news