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 December  2014  
 
Len  Brown  
Mayor  of  Auckland  
Private  Bag  92300  
Auckland  1142  
 
By  email:  len.brown@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz  
 
 
Dear  Your  Worship,  

AUCKLAND  UNITARY  PLAN  –  MANA  WHENUA  PROVISIONS  


1. Democracy  Action  is  a  group  of  citizens  concerned  that  the  Proposed  Auckland  Unitary  Plan  
(PAUP)  conflicts  with  fundamental  principles  of  democracy.  Democracy  Action  is  alarmed  by  a  
number   of   provisions   in   the   PAUP   that   provide   one   class   of   citizens,   defined   as   Mana  
Whenua,   with   new   and   substantial   powers   over   Auckland’s   resources   and   the   private  
property  of  its  citizens.    

2. We   write   to   express   our   concerns   about   the   introduction   of   the   mandatory   requirement   to  
seek  cultural  impact  assessments  (CIA)  from  iwi.  The  notified  plan  has  enabled  iwi  to  create  a  
resource   consent   process   with   the   power   to   influence   the   outcome   of   resource   consent  
applications  affecting  an  undetermined  number  of  property  owners.  We  have  been  contacted  
by   a   number   of   citizens   who   are   distressed   to   discover   that   there   is   now   a   requirement   to  
seek  a  CIA  from  iwi  before  making  alterations  to  their  properties.  

3. We   ask   you   to   neutralise   the   Mana   Whenua   provisions,   at   least   until   you   have   the  
recommendations   of   the   Hearing   Panel.   The   CIA   provisions   should   never   have   been  
immediately   enforceable.   They   have   had   the   effect   of   a   unilateral   decree.   The   Council   has  
admitted   that   many   of   the   sites   are   mistaken.   The   requirements   and   effects   are   very   badly  
defined,  they  are  blighting  development  prospects,  exciting  expectations  within  some  Maori  
circles  that  can  only  be  disappointed,  and  stirring  up  race  tensions.    

4. Our  members  are  participating  in  the  Hearings  process  but  this  will  take  years.  The  provisions  
need  to  be  suspended  now.    

5. These  rules  make  fundamental  changes  to  RMA  processes,  introducing  a  level  of  restriction  
on   property   owners   unseen   before.   We   have   been   told   of   a   professional   valuer’s   view   that  
new   subdivisions   will   be   the   most   detrimentally   affected   by   the   purple   circles   and   CIA  
requirements.   We   have   been   told   of   an   iwi   authority   bullying   a   property   owner   by  
threatening  to  demand  a  CIA.  
6. Your  Chief  Planner,  Dr  Roger  Blakeley,  told  the  public  the  CIA  process  isn’t  new,  and  has  been  
around  for  years.  Ms  Penny  Pirrit,  the  Council’s  Regional  and  Local  Planning  Manager,  told  a  
group  of  230  concerned  citizens  at  a  public  meeting  on  18  October:  

In   fact,   there   are   many   other   councils   across   New   Zealand   who   have   adopted   CIA  
provisions   for   very   many   years.   So   in   many   respects,   Auckland's   catching   up   with  
other  parts  of  the  country.    

7. We  have  searched  for  evidence  of  similar  rules  in  other  plans  but  cannot  find  any.  While  CIAs  
may  have  been  around  for  years,  this  is  the  first  time  in  New  Zealand  they  have  been  forced  
on  property  owners  by  the  Council  and  on  such  a  large  scale.  Associate  Professor,  Dr  Kenneth  
Palmer  gave  this  advice:  

The   policies   and   rules   relating   to   sites   and   places   of   value   to   mana   whenua,   inserted  
at   the   last   minute   in   the   Proposed   Auckland   Unitary   Plan,   which   lists   3600   sites   of  
value,   is   a   substantial   extension   of   the   power   of   regulation,   which   does   not   have   any  
precedent  in  earlier  district  plans  or  unitary  plans  in  New  Zealand.  

8. We  enclose  the  transcript  of  the  part  of  the  meeting  when  Ms  Pirrit  and  Dr  Blakeley  spoke.  Dr  
Blakeley   made   it   clear   the   Hearings   Panel   can   direct   the   Council   to   remove   sites   from   the  
schedules  or  make  other  recommendations  before  July  2016.  

9. If  the  provisions  and  overlays  are  allowed  to  remain  in  effect  during  the  hearing  process  we  
fear  the  public  will  lose  confidence  in  the  Council  and  iwi.  

10. We  enclose  a  letter  from  Dr  Blakeley  which  was  in  answer  to  a  list  of  50  questions  we  gave  
him.  From  this  it  appears:  

(a) There  was  no  public  consultation  on  the  sites  and  places  of  value  to  Mana  Whenua  or  
the   mandatory   requirement   to   do   CIAs   before   notification.   This   is   in   stark   contrast   to  
the  extensive  programme  of  consultation  with  Mana  Whenua  groups.  

(b) The  Council  added  the  3600  sites  and  place  of  value  to  mana  whenua  to  the  PAUP  at  
the  last  minute  without  even  checking  whether  they  existed  or  whether  they  are  of  any  
significance   to   Mana   Whenua.   This   is   disturbing   considering   the   size   of   the   potential  
impact  of  this  new  Overlay  on  Aucklanders.  

(c) The   Council   made   a   mistake   in   making   the   purple   circles   200m   wide   in   diameter.   The  
intention  was  to  only  make  them  100m  wide.  We  agree  with  the  view  expressed  in  the  
Archeological  Association’s  submission  on  the  PAUP  that  “the  affected  areas  around  the  
sites  are  in  most  cases  far  too  large”.    

(d) The  Council  heritage  staff  could  have  checked  these  sites  against  the  Cultural  Heritage  
Inventory  to  confirm  the  location  or  the  existence  of  the  site.    They  could  have  done  site  
visits.  They  say  they  are  now  doing  a  ‘desk  top  review’  but  do  not  have  time  to  do  site  
visits.   Considering   the   immediate   effect   of   these   provisions   on   property   values   this   is  
surprising.  
(e) Despite   the   lack   of   effort   in   determining   the   existence   and   value   of   these   sites,   the  
provisions   are   justified   because   of   the   need   to   take   a   “precautionary   approach”.   This  
goes  against  case  law  which  suggests  the  precautionary  approach  should  only  be  used  
on   a   case   by   case   basis   rather   than   because   the   Council   did   not   have   time   to   do   a  
proper  evaluation.    

(f) The   Council   acknowledges   that   in   many   cases   the   impact   from   earthworks   on  
neighbouring  properties  to  the  site  of  value  is  likely  to  be  minimal.  

(g) The  Council  did  not  do  a  proper  cost  benefit  analysis  on  the  Mana  Whenua  provisions  
and  does  not  even  know  how  many  private  or  public  properties  are  affected  (they  say  it  
could  be  between  4,084  and  18,041  but  it  could  be  much  more).  

(h) The   Council   is   amending   the   s   32   analysis   of   the   PAUP   during   the   hearing   process.  
Unfortunately  this  is  too  late  to  inform  submitters  and  councillors.  

(i) The   Council   is   facilitating   the   CIA   process   but   has   not   provided   property   owners   with  
any  protections  against  iwi  having  conflicts  of  interests  or  using  the  process  for  personal  
or  commercial  benefit.  

(j) The  Council  equates  iwi  representatives  who  do  the  CIAs  to  other  experts  such  as  traffic  
engineers.  We  think  there  are  fundamental  differences.  For  instance,  traffic  engineers  
base   their   findings   on   transparent,   scientifically   proven   facts   and   are   qualified.   In  
comparison,   CIAs   can   be   based   on   unverifiable,   subjective   claims   founded   on  
metaphysical   or   spiritual   values,   with   the   opportunity   for     information   to   be   withheld   if  
deemed   too   sensitive   to   be   made   public.   There   is   no   requirement   for   the   person   or  
people  doing  the  CIA  to  be  qualified  or  even  trained.  

(k) The   Council   is   breaching   its   own   rules   by   suggesting   ‘practical   solutions’   (i.e.   non-­‐
enforcement)   when   it   is   obvious   a   consent   application   should   not   include   Mana  
Whenua  issues.  If  the  Council  finds  the  rules  are  impractical  why  are  they  still  in  effect?  

11. There   are   clear   practical   and   ethical   problems   with   the   provisions   as   they   stand.   There   are  
also  legal  problems.    

12. We   enclose   an   opinion   from   our   lawyers,   Franks   Ogilvie,   and   a   memo   from   Dr   Kenneth  
Palmer.  Our  lawyers  have  advised  us  the  Council  and  council  officers  would  be  vulnerable  to  a  
challenge   in   court.   That   path   would   be   expensive   for   us   all.   In   summary   the   main   legal   points  
are:  

(a) There  were  flaws  in  the  process  leading  up  to  notification  which  resulted  in  councillors  
being  uninformed  and  mistakes  being  made  in  the  PAUP.  

(b) The   use   of   the   precautionary   approach   for   the   sites   and   places   of   value   to   Mana  
Whenua  is  inappropriate.    

(c) The  Council  has  ignored  the  statutory  prohibition  on  forcing  applicants  to  consult  with  
third  parties.    
(d) There   is   doubt   over   whether   the   Council   should   have   purported   to   give   the   Mana  
Whenua  rules  immediate  legal  effect.  

13. Democracy  Action  attended  the  009  Hearing  on  Thursday,  20  November.  We  gave  the  Panel  a  
proposal   (enclosed)   for   an   alternative   solution   which   would   see   CIA’s   or   something   similar   as  
part   of   the   planning   or   scheduling   process   for   sites   when   appropriate.   The   Panel   appeared   to  
be  surprised  at  the  mistake  by  the  Council  of  making  the  purple  circles  on  the  Overlay  map  
200m   wide.   They   asked   “what   can   the   Panel   do   on   a   mistake”.   The   enclosed   memo   is   in  
response  to  that  question  and  offers  an  interim  solution.  

14. Democracy  Action  is  advised  that  there  are  powers  to  enable  effective  suspension  of  the  rules  
until  the  end  of  hearings.    In  the  meantime,  the  legacy  rules  should  apply.    

Yours  sincerely  

 
Lee  Short  
Democracy  Action  
lee@democracyaction.org.nz    
 

cc  Auckland  Councillors  and  local  board  members  

Encl.  

1. Legal  Opinion  by  Franks  Ogilvie  


2. Legal  Memo  by  Dr  Kenneth  Palmer  
3. Letter  from  Roger  Blakeley  to  Lee  Short  
4. Memo  for  Panel,  20  November  2014,  on  ‘alternative  proposal’  
5. Memo  for  Panel,  25  November  2014,  on  ‘interim  solution’  
6. Extract  from  Transcript  of  public  meeting  on  18  October  2014