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Interim wahi tapu extreme and unreasonable

Interim wahi tapu extreme and unreasonable

Whangarei MP Phil Heatley is warning landowners that they may face additional costs and unacceptable delays following a move by the Whangarei District Council to impose interim blanket wahi tapu conditions.

"This move condemns landowners to potentially expensive consultation with local Maori and could result in delays to development applications.

The Whangarei District Council has announced an interim agreement with Ngararatunua Maori that requires resource consent applications in much of the district's rural area to include cultural, archaeological, and historical impact assessments for the local marae to consider as a matter of course.

The interim agreement will remain in place until changes to the district plan are agreed on - a process that could take years.

Mr Heatley says the agreement will force more than 700 rural landowners to provide endless reports to local Maori for approval every time they apply for a resource consent.

"Specific sites of cultural significance, such as cemeteries and historic places, should be identified and protected, but if these sites are so significant surely Maori should know exactly where they are already.

"The blanket approach is absurd and unnecessary.

"It smacks of political correctness and the council should have resisted the marae's demands," says Mr Heatley.

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