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Ratepayers Demand Apology from ARC Committee Chair

Chairman; David Thornton

media release 26 September 2005

Statement from chairman, David Thornton

Ratepayers Demand Apology from ARC Committee Chairman

Auckland Regional Council committee chairman Paul Walbran said today on NewstalkZB news bulletins that “Ratepayers did not know what they were talking about’ in relation to my objections to the ARC giving financial support to a legal challenge relating to gold-mining in the Coromandel.

I find his remarks offensive, arrogant and demeaning and have asked for an apology for his remarks.

The full text of my email to Mr Walbran is set out below.

26 September 2005

Paul Walbran
Regional Strategy and Planning Committee
Auckland Regional Council

Dear Paul,

Financial support for legal appeal on Coromandel mining case

I am greatly offended by your remarks, on NewstalkZB this morning, that ‘Ratepayers don’t know what they’re talking about’ in relation to my objections to the ARC giving financial support to councils taking further legal action in relation to a gold-mining issue in the Coromandel.

This case is about the legal definition of a ‘prohibited’activity in a District Plan – as defined under the Resource Management Act.

The courts have decreed that prohibited status should only be given to an activity ‘when the activity in question should not be contemplated, in the relevant place, under any circumstances’.

The original Environment Court definition sets out compelling reasons for this view in relation to mining in specific areas of the Coromandel peninsula, and warns strongly against a loose definition of ‘prohibited’ in planning law.

It now seems that the Green elements on the ARC are unhappy with this – presumably because it would prevent Green Party local politicians from using the ‘prohibition’ classification to permanently ban all sorts of activities in the Auckland region.

If the definition of ‘prohibited activity’needs to be clarified it should be done in Parliament and not through the courts at the ratepayers’ expense.

You should be aware that I personally have considerable knowledge of the Resource Management Act – not least arising from my experience as a Hearings Commissioner for six years, and as a former Chairman of the Planning Committee of the North Shore City Council.

I believe you owe me an apology for your demeaning and arrogant remarks reported on Newstalk ZB this morning.

David Thornton


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