Posted on March 7, 2016
Auckland Mayoral Candidate and Orakei Local Board member Mark Thomas has written to CEO Stephen Town asking he sort out the confusion that exists regarding council’s status in front of the Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel.
“Aucklanders will be very concerned to hear reports that council is ‘withdrawing’ from being present to assist the Panel consider submissions.”
“Media reports today imply council staff will not participate in the hearings now underway on residential zoning and other matters as a result of its recent decision to reverse position on plans to up-zone more than 20,000 residential properties without notice.”
“This change actually means council now returns to arguing the original notified Unitary Plan residential up-zoning. Staff must be present to support this, as they have been for the last two years.”
Thomas attended part of the Hearings Panel today. Council lawyers and experts were there, as they have been most days for the last two years, presenting councils’ case and assisting the Panel.
“Council’s decision to revoke the out-of-scope up-zoning means staff cannot now advance that position. However they should also be there to explain the change and assist the Panel with any queries it has.”
Unlike other mayoral candidates, Thomas has regularly attended panel hearings over the last two years. He has seen council regularly update, revise and at times withdraw its evidence.
“When this has been done before, staff have explained the reasons to the panel. I have asked Stephen Town to continue to make council staff available to do this now.”
“Council got itself into this mess and we have the responsibility to help the Panel understand it.”
“This is particularly important given the Hearings Panel Chairs’ statement that they will proceed to consider other submissions made on the now revoked out-of-scope submissions.”