"Trust Us" Council Sails Blindly Forward
24 May 2013
“Trust us” Council Sails Blindly Forward Over the Unitary Plan Cliff
In what may prove to be Mayor Len Brown’s political epitaph, Auckland Council has rejected a Notice of Motion lodged by Cr George Wood to extend the period for public input on the pre-notification draft Unitary Plan. The rejection has stunned Manurewa civic leaders, who described it as reckless and dangerous.
Manurewa Local Board chair Angela Dalton said the majority faction of Auckland Council are saying “trust us” on the draft Unitary Plan, but have shown little regard for either evidence or growing public anxiety about Len Brown’s blueprint for a compact city.
“49 per cent of Auckland could end up littered with apartment buildings and townhouses, piled-high in the streets and neighbourhoods of thousands of my constituents. That is a huge change, one that requires evidence and community buy-in. Yet the Mayor and the majority of councillors continue to push on with intensification at all cost. It is an appalling process,” Angela Dalton said.
Manurewa-Papakura ward councillor Calum Penrose said he voted for an extension to the public consultation period because the public and local boards need more time to have their say.
“The draft Unitary Plan is more than 1,800 pages long. It contains dozens of maps, an enormous addendum of complex policy issues, and would apply for 30 years. I am astonished that the Mayor seems incapable of trusting Aucklanders for another fortnight. I would sooner we take every opportunity to have a thorough and deliberative consultation process now, because the consequences of getting this wrong will be permanent,” Calum Penrose said.
Fellow Manurewa Local Board member Simeon Brown said Manurewa had lead the way in challenging the fast-track to the draft Unitary Plan, with advocacy to Environment Minister Amy Adams.
“Manurewa urged caution and a slow-down nearly a year ago when we sought Minister Adams’ agreement to reject Auckland Council’s attempt to give its draft Unitary Plan more weight at the time of notification. 12 months later, thousands of Aucklanders are coming onboard with our precautionary approach. Only the Mayor and his few remaining council disciples, continue to ignore the plea for caution,” Simeon Brown said.