Council staff 'deliberately sabotaged' Christchurch District Plan on consents
ORIGINAL article posted Sep 3, 2 pm
A Christchurch councillor has called for an independent inquiry over allegations council staff tampered with the area's district plan, removing a clause that would have made it easier for residents to rebuild and repair earthquake-damaged homes.
David East alleges staff deliberately removed the clause from the final version of the policy after it was earlier agreed and signed off.
East, councillor for Christchurch's Coastal ward, is calling for an inquiry into the allegations of tampering, which he said had seriously affected residents in the area.
He told a media conference on Monday the alleged omission had caused "undue and unnecessary financial stress" to residents and could have caused millions of dollars of economic loss.
East said he had written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta advising them of the situation and calling for an inquiry.
He said: "It is my view that the alleged tampering has impacted on numerous Christchurch property owners in South New Brighton, Southshore and the Redcliffs communities."
East said the clause had been approved by an independent hearings panel set up to make decisions on the district plan, but was removed before the plan became operative in December.
"This alleged omission has caused undue and unnecessary financial stress and has seriously impacted on the health and well-being of numerous property owners," he said.
"I have worked with several people and [council] staff over a number of years to address and attempt to overcome the many obstacles that have been put in our path.
"The number of personal agendas, prejudices and dogged adherence to planning rules that have prevailed in this area has frankly been quite outrageous."
His calls for an inquiry were backed by members of community leaders in the area, who suggested there had been an "abuse of power".