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Council Official’s Comments put Engagement Process at Risk

Media Release
Councillor Dick Quax
Sunday, 2 June 2013

Council Official’s Comments put Engagement Process at Risk

Auckland Councillor Dick Quax says that the degree of political commentary by a senior Auckland Council official while the draft Unitary Plan was out for public feedback was disappointing and is an indication that thousands of submissions are likely to be ignored.

“A senior council official wrote an opinion piece just prior the closing of the feedback praising the mayor’s stated position of greater urban density.”

“Some of the claims made by the official are a matter of opinion – not facts based on any evidence.”

For example says Cr Quax, claims by Roger Blakeley chief planning officer that there will be less pollution as a result of greater urban density is quite misleading.

“Greater density leads to more cars per square kilometre resulting in more air pollution. Furthermore, with more impervious surface there will also be more water pollution from contaminated storm water.”

“Dr Blakeley’s claim urban sprawl is eating up productive horticultural land should be taken with a grain of salt when one considers that horticultural activities in the region grew by nearly 7,000 hectares between 1996 and 2010.”

“It is lifestyle blocks on Auckland’s urban periphery which produce no economic benefits which have increased by almost 37,000 hectares.”

“His most outrageous claim is that Auckland’s parklands are under threat from development. Is he telling Aucklanders that there is a plan, not yet made public that the Auckland Council intends to sell parks for urban development?”

Cr Quax says council officials need to refrain from making political statements during a time of public consultation otherwise there is a risk of the process becoming a farce.
Ends

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