Transcript from VIDEOof the statement Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel delivered at the community meeting on September 11, 2018 (8:40pm) at the New Brighton Club. (umms and ahhs removed)
We've received a very last-minute invitation, the chief executive is here as well. We thought it was very important that if we could make it here, that we come.
I've heard two really important messages here tonight. And that is, fix the problem first and we are absolutely committed to doing that. There's a notice of motion on the council agenda [see below] for Thursday asking for all stops to be pulled out essentially to get the advice we need for the mechanism of fixing the problem.
We are absolutely committed to putting that wording into the district plan. It's very difficult under the current situation as you've heard, the previous government decided we didn't have the right to change our district plan for five years after the independent hearing panel process. I'm trying to get that fixed as well, but this is something that does take priority.
I've indicated to the minister that section 71- it sounds like a simple process- it is actually a very lengthy process because you've got to get sign off from so many different people before it's put into place. So I've actually talked about whether there's something in the order in council that we could use to correct the plan. Because for me, the plan doesn't accurately reflect finally what the ultimate decision of the independent hearing panel was.
It won't stop people having to apply for a resource consent. I want people to understand that because the resource consent will be clearly guided by the "policy statement" rather than the "avoid" statement. So that's a commitment from me. I know that's going to be carried unanimously on Thursday because I'm confident that every counselor wants this procedure resolved. It's something that needs to be resolved. That's issue number one.
Issue number two relates to finding out how this happened, but I want to find out how this has happened. I've actually done a lot of research myself. I wish that I had seen the letter from the chair of the independent hearing panel. I found out about it when it went public. It helped me understand where to go looking for the sequence of events. So I've got a really good understanding of what's happened and I am very confident the plan wasn't tampered with, which was the allegation that was made publicly.
But what I am clear about is what happened and I know because of the way this has been raised people aren't going to have confidence in my reading of all the material and so I'm very keen to support the chief executive in seeking a full independent inquiry as to how this happened. But the priority is to get it fixed first.
After audience raised issue of transparency within the council...
Fair enough- because I need to say this. Darrell Latham wrote an excellent article for the Star back in July - Bay Harbor news. I read that article and I immediately sent an email to the chief executive and I said is this correct? Is this the issue? Is this the same as South Shore? Is this what's been going on? Can you please give me a simple one pager so I can understand it.
Then one page arrived in a matter of days. At the end of it it says that there's going to be a hearing on a Main road application and that will give us the answer that we are looking for.
Unfortunately the hearing panel that heard that particular consent said 'yes you can build' and a number of resource consents have been issued in this area since the district plan came in but they said that on this particular one it was decided on its own merit, its own facts, its own case, it shouldn't set a precedent. Well that was hopeless because we need a precedent.
I actually need to know what the law means -what the district plan means - and we need it to mean what the independent hearings panel said it would mean. So I'm grateful that Darrell wrote an article that actually help me understand what was happening and I'm really grateful that John Hanson pointed me in the right direction of where to look for what happened.
But all I know is the independent hearings panel made a very clear decision and it needs a policy to back it up.
About public not having money to fight it case by case...
Yes. The district plan requires a resource consent under the restricted discretionary as opposed to under the non-compliant. Non-compliant doesn't mean you can't apply for a resource consent just means the checks is much higher.
I'm hopeless at describing these things in a situation like this - a resource consent allows for - activities are allowed under the district plan and if it's a permitted activity you don't need a resource consent. If it's a prohibited activity, then it's prohibited. Everything in between requires a resource consent.
So the resource consent is still required. What the policy will do though is that it will make it crystal clear that the exemption for residential units- not subdivision- will be allowed.
Audience asked how long will it take?
At the moment you don't- at the moment somebody thought it was a good idea to prevent us from changing our district plans so we have to get a solution and I think that will involve central government.
I've already raised it with the minister to give her a bit of a background, a bit of a heads up about what we might come with. Section 71 is one mechanism but you have to get all of significant partners to sign off on it, but if I'm right, and there is a potential to use the order in council that's there at the moment, then I would ask her whether we could correct, in retrospect, something that was incorrect when the plan was decided.