Dear Mr Little,
As an Aucklander, I am disappointed that you recently criticised the removal of the Sites of Significance overlay and requirement for CIAs in the region’s Unitary Plan (Waatea News 11/8/16). But then again, you may not be aware of the facts.
But I did have a problem with Council staff and the Independent Maori Statutory Board (IMSB) taking to Auckland with a coloured pen, marking 3,600 very broad-brush areas as Sites of Value to Mana Whenua. This affected many thousands of private homes in residential suburbs without identifying the reason for their supposed value to tribal groups. The Plan also stressed that the IMSB had only processed 35% of Auckland in this way; so much more was to be claimed.
I did have a problem with the fact that Councillors voted this part of the Plan through based on a quick and superficial PowerPoint from staff, without knowing any real detail or the significant impact it would have on Aucklanders.
I did have a problem with the fact that for the last 4 years, these affected homeowners seeking resource consent were immediately required to contact all 19 tribal groups to see if they had an interest in each homeowner’s property. Homeowners then had to get each tribal group to process a Cultural Impact Assessment in whichever way they wished, taking however long they wished to take. Then to top it off, the homeowner to pay whatever each tribe demanded. With the people I interviewed, this meant about 13 tribal groups, thousands of dollars paid with no receipts, and a few extra months added onto the consent process. I don’t recall anything “of significance” being found.
After enough complaints were lodged with Council, the staff did take over the “liaison” but the process was still greatly flawed, slow and expensive. Real Estate agents weren’t able/or didn’t want to advise property purchasers about it and there was nothing on LIM reports yet the Sites of Value could have a dramatic effect on property values.
So the onus went onto ordinary Kiwis to spend their own time, energy and tax-paid earnings in fighting this very corrupt and unjustified imposition on their homes!
Then after 2 years of presenting their case to the Independent Hearings Panel, the Council staff and the IMSB still couldn’t produce evidence to support their extensive claim on thousands of private properties.
So rather than (as you reportedly said) the Auckland Council voted against enhanced protection for Maori sites in the Unitary Plan, they actually voted against an unsubstantiated, unidentified, and very corruptible process. And then only at the Independent Hearing Panel’s behest and with the threat of legal action hanging over their heads!
Who Do Your Stand For?
So one year out from election year, who do you respect, Mr Little? Is it just the greedy and power hungry who will use any means to gain control over the public and their tax-paid money? Do you care at all about the ordinary Kiwi who is struggling to earn a living and raise a family; people who treasure their homes; people who want to know their government representatives are working in their best interest and not against them? Please tell me, I'd love to know.