Posted on May 23, 2016
The NBR has reported my concern that Auckland councillors are being gagged over the unitary plan. The report mentions that a “gagging edit” has been sent to councillors telling them not to attend any unitary plan meetings, speak with ratepayers about unitary plan issues or “like” anything on social media related to the unitary plan.
Staff have regularly advised councillors to be careful of putting themselves in a conflict situation which might impact their ability to vote on unitary plan issues in August. Yet councillors (and local board members) manage conflicts most weeks in our roles. It always comes into sharp focus when we sit on Hearings’ Panels or receive hearings’ decisions. It’s part of the job.
In the article I say that this is an overreach. It’s part of a decision the Mayor has supported to control information as we head to the end of the plan making. We should be engaging with the community to let them know what’s coming!
I have argued for greater engagement with the public during this period to help both remind people what we have been doing with the unitary plan over the last three and a half years, and to prepare for July’s receipt of the Independent Hearings Panel’s report.