Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More

Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


One Plan, Three Councils And A Fair Bit Of Confusion

Future consent costs for West Coasters wanting to develop land, mine or to build has again been raised with the West Coast Regional Council.

The Government told the council in 2019 - using an Order in Council - to develop a combined district plan for the region on behalf of the three territorial authorities, Grey, Westland and Buller.

Work on that, the Te Tai o Poutini Plan (TTPP), is now mid-way through public hearings and is expected to be fully adopted in 2025.

Parts of the TTPP are already legally applicable but once fully adopted the current outdated Buller, Grey and Westland district plans will be superseded.

Cr Allan Birchfield, a gold miner, this week queried the cost to resource consent applicants in meeting the TTPP's planning requirements.

Specifically, he wanted to know if mine operators under the TTPP would be required to pay for mandatory ecological reports when seeking new land-use consents on already permitted mining land.

"They're very expensive -- seven to $10,000. That's a huge cost," Cr Birchfield said.

Council chief executive Darryl Lew said while the regional council was charged with developing the TTPP, the one district plan would be the responsibility of the three district councils to implement the rules.

He said Cr Birchfield's query could come down to how each district council interpreted the new plan.

However, there was now a push to ensure all three district council planning departments adopted a standard approach to the TTPP.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Mr Lew said a West Coast Local Government planners forum was now being formulated to bring the three councils together on the TTPP.

It would meet for the first time soon.

"While we're doing some good work in getting the hearings finished for the TTPP, with a unified plan and single rules for the whole region, which is a good thing. That won't be realised unless there is a consistent approach by the district councils," Mr Lew said.

He said the aim of the forum was to formulate a unified approach to the TTPP, but it was not the regional council's role to direct that.

Cr Frank Dooley said what Mr Lew said made "absolutely no sense" to him as he under the Order in Council included an ongoing obligation by the regional council to monitor the TTPP.

That included ensuring the TTPP was reviewed in a timely manner.

Cr Dooley said he was personally concerned about how the future plan's rules would be implemented.

He said this was in light of what he observed with his local Buller District Council, after waiting more than six months for a simple building consent.

"That is a massive concern for me -- people are up in arms ... You can never get any answer," he said.

Resource Management Committee chair Brett Cummings, also a miner, said the process of seeking an ecologist report for mining proposals "seems a bit confused" -- particularly when it was subject to other bodies like the Department of Conservation being involved.

Mr Lew said the Order in Council required the regional council to employ the staff to formulate the TTPP and to maintain its direction.

"My reading of the Order in Council does not indicate us carrying out the consenting and operation of the plan: this is for the district councils."

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.