Thursday, April 18, 2024

More time for further submissions on plan changes

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Cr Mike Lee made a plea to extend the further submission time for the council’s plan changes under the National Policy Statement for Urban Development. Photo Waiheke Gulf News

By Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter

Funded by New Zealand on Air

After two proposed amendments and a squabble between councillors, the public has been given a bonus week for further submissions on Auckland Council plan changes.

At Auckland Council’s Planning, Environment and Parks committee on December 8, Cr Mike Lee made a plea to extend the further submission time for the council’s plan changes under the National Policy Statement for Urban Development.

While no new submissions can be received, people who have already submitted will be able to support or oppose other submissions.

Cr Lee called for a four-week extension saying that he was making the request on behalf of the public.

“The community’s resources are more limited than the council and the council is finding it difficult to meet these government deadlines. I think there’s a question of fairness here,” Lee said.

He said having submission periods over Christmas was a “cultural no-no”.

Cr Christine Fletcher said members were “skilled practitioners” in going through documents but 70 hours of reading for a layperson could be daunting.

“We are trying to arrive at an outcome that is going to be fundamentally changing to all of our communities across Auckland, why would we want to short change ourselves,” Fletcher said.

Cr Chris Darby agreed that an extension may be in order but asked staff about the pressure that would be placed on them as a result.

Chief of Strategy Megan Tyler said with a four-week extension council would not be able to meet the hearing panels deadline.

“This timing is not ours, it is of the government’s making. I think it’s really important to understand that the further submission process only relates to those that made submissions, there is nothing new that can come out of this process,” Tyler said.

Tyler said they had already extended the time frame from December 19 to January 13 and a further extension would cause the work programme to be “crunched” throughout the year.

After the first amendment was lost with 11 votes against and 10 votes in favour of the extension Cr Darby put forward another amendment for an extension of a week.

Cr Alf Filipaina said he was amazed that councillors were considering an extension at all.

“Yes, people are talking about our community and the impact but we have not spoken about the impact on the staff,” Filipaina said.

He called for a division and said he wanted to see which members would be supporting the staff.

Cr Daniel Newman appeared to take offence to Filipaina’s comments and said he would be supporting the extension

“It has got everything to do with the wellbeing of my community Cr Filipaina,” Newman said.

Filipaina warned Newman not to use his name like that again.

“Cr Newman I am just letting you know now, don’t ever say my name again in regards to something I have not done,” Filipaina said.

The deadline for further submissions is now January 20, 2023 and the second extension won with 13 votes in favour and eight votes against.

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