Independent Commissioners Must Replace Councillors
The donation of campaign funds by developers to individuals seeking public office in Porirua illustrates just why it is so important to remove local body councillors from the resource consent process says Gerry Eckhoff, ACT Environment Spokesman.
"While there is no suggestion of bribery there is a question of just how councillors can accept funding from those seeking consents from councils and be seen as independent of the process. The question must be asked in the interests of transparency.
"It is imperative that councillors are totally independent and are seen to be independent so that the wider public can have confidence in the system.
"To ensure the process is above reproach ACT believes independent commissioners should replace councillors sitting on a hearing consents panel. It is wrong for councillors to sit in judgment on their own plans. Independent commissioners would give confidence to the public that vested interests cannot potentially influence the decision making process.
"The Porirua incident gives even more weight to ACT's call for a major rework of the RMA. This legislation is so fundamentally flawed that no amount of minor tinkering will add any public confidence to the RMA and it's laborious processes," Gerry Eckhoff said.