HRRA: Down but not out!

The appeal total this week is $30,100. Times graphic.

This week’s decision in the High Court to disallow the Howick Ratepayers and Residents Assn Inc’s  (HRRA) appeal against the last minute upzoning of properties along the ridgeline opposite Stockade Hill which will allow multi-storey apartment development comes as a huge disappointment.

All is not over by any means, and we will fight on to protect our precious views.

The only question the judge was asked to resolve was whether the Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) approached the matter of “scope” correctly in relation to certain areas of residential zoning.

The judge decided that the IHP did not make a mistake in rezoning the area between Ridge Road and Picton Street as Mixed Housing Urban and was not “out of scope”.

We went into this process believing that “out of scope” meant there were no submissions received asking for the upzoning of the properties concerned opposite Stockade Hill, according to the information available to us publicly.

The council analysed all submissions. There were 145 submissions asking for the area to remain Single Housing or Heritage Zone and not a single submission was made against this according to the “Submissions Received” listed by the council.

The judge in his ruling complimented our counsel Michael Savage on the way he presented our case. We know he has done the best we could have hoped for us.

Unfortunately we still need money to cover the legal costs incurred and we beg for your help.

Please contribute to our costs. Bank account 12-3089-0123712-02 (Name please) or through Givealitle.co.nz (key word Stockade).

The ruling has come as bad news for us and Auckland 2040 and the Character Coalition who lodged a major appeal across 29,000 properties upzoned apparently without justification all over Auckland.

These groups had massive resources, legal advice and experience in planning matters for every hearing, yet the HRRA has battled alone without any of these resources and our submissions were presented by the HRRA alone.

We are proud of what we have achieved for Howick.

The judge said that the HRRA had already been very successful in their submissions to the IHP.

He noted that as a result “The council accepted a recommendation of the IHP which resulted in modified zonings of certain land at Howick being included in the PAUP [Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan].”

Ultimately the ruling is good news only for those who favour the greater intensification of Auckland such as a range of key lobby groups and powerful developers, and individuals seeking profit at the expense of those views and the enjoyment of the community.

We can be proud of what we have achieved, but we cannot rest until we succeed in protecting our precious historical and iconic views.

Had we not taken the court case, we would have seen development before Christmas and potentially before the new council was even sworn in!

We have a number of other initiatives on the go.

The first step now is to gather our people and our resources and present our petition with over 6500 signatures to Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and the council and explain how angry the people of Howick are about  the potential loss of our precious views.

We need every supporter to crowd into the  council on the day we present it. We will let you know when.

People power is more important than a point of law to a politician!

By: Gayleen Mackereth

Gayleen Mackereth is the chair of the HRRA.