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

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Nauru: Scholars Urge Minister To Act On Deteriorating Democracy

“Since the 2013 election in Nauru, there has been a series of disturbing developments on the islands that indicate a severe deterioration in the state of its parliamentary democracy and in the rule of law,” say the scholars. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: NZ Begins Presidency Of UN Security Council

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed the start of New Zealand’s month-long Presidency of the United Nations Security Council in New York. More>>

ALSO:


Labour: Cash For Charter Schools, Mould For State Schools

“Recently released financial statements show the Whangarei charter school He Puna Marama received $3.9 million in government funding to the end of last year. Yet their audited accounts show they only spent $1.4 million on education, leaving almost $2.5 million over two years unaccounted for." More>>

ALSO:

Kiwirail Plans Shift From Electric: National Urged Not To Take Backwards Step

The National Government shouldn’t drag New Zealand backwards by replacing its climate friendly electric trains with carbon-polluting diesel trains, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Capital Connection:

Harmful Digital Communication Bill Passes: Focus Must Be On Education

InternetNZ acknowledges the passage of the Harmful Digital Communications Bill into law this afternoon, and says that the sooner the education efforts at the heart of the legislation start, the better... More>>

ALSO:

3-Year Transport Plan: No Plans On Six Northland-Election Bridges

The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. More>>

ALSO:

Gaza Blockade: Māori TV Crew Returning Safely From Israel

A Māori Television crew will be flown back from Israel after their boat was detained by the Israeli Navy while attempting to break the Gaza blockade. More>>

ALSO:

Family Violence: Increasing Reporting But Fewer Resolutions

“We are aware the Police have embarked on a significant programme of change in how they respond to family violence. The data suggests that adequate resourcing including investing in staff training, support and culture change will be required for this to be effective.” More>>

ALSO:

Health: NZ Children Still Suffer Rickets From Lack Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency continues to cause rickets in young New Zealanders, new University of Otago research has found. The researchers say that their finding suggests that at-risk mothers and children should be better targeted for Vitamin D supplementation. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news