Posts by Duncan McKenzie
Hard News: The flagging referendum,
I see that Auckland Airport flies both flags. The Jack flies above the Fern. From my understanding of flag etiquette, the convention is that the conquering flag flies over the conquered flag. Presumably the Airport company knows how the referendum is going to turn out.
Speaker: Correcting Auckland 2040's…,
In terms of providing for intensification, the council has alternated between bold and timid. Interestingly, timidity breaks out in the election years.
Bold: Intensification proposed in the Auckland Plan and the subsequent Draft Unitary Plan
Timid: Winding back the intensification in the notified Proposed Unitary Plan
Bold: Evidence lodged with the Hearings Panel
Timid: The recent backtracking of many Councillors.
As the cliché goes, more flip-flops than a jandal factory.
What I am curious about is how the council's latest outburst of timidity could influence the Hearings Panel. The evidence supporting more intensification has been lodged. Individual Councillors cannot appear unless they were submitters two years ago. It would be highly irregular (if not improper) for the Council to tamper with the lodged evidence (by withdrawing it or persuading the witnesses to recant at the hearing).
So the cold-feet Councillors are left with telling the electors that "we did our best, we were thwarted by the system, so you should vote for us anyway".
Speaker: Correcting Auckland 2040's…, in reply to
Speaker: Correcting Auckland 2040's…,
A significant cause of the problem has been the central government imposed process with its deadlines that the Council has had to work to within.
The starting point is the goal of wanting around 70% of population growth to be accommodated in the urban limits. That seems to have been widely accepted - at least as an aspirational goal - until its implications started to become apparent.
The first step in the Unitary Plan process was the publication of the Draft Plan in March 2013 (no legal effect, published to elicit feedback). It suggested quite a bit of intensification. Cue outrage.
In order to get the Proposed Plan notified (marking the start of the formal process) before the 2013 elections, the Council compromised quite a lot on the intensification proposals. The outraged had won for the time being.
There has been however a growing realisation that meeting the 70% growth goal (if that goal is to be anything other than aspirational) will mean a more pro-active approach to intensification. This has annoyed those who thought they had prevailed at the Draft Plan stage.
The Council's new proposals are in fact the expressed opinions of experts who happen to be employed by the Council and who will be providing their evidence to the Hearings Panel. In a number of cases those experts are of the opinion that it would be sensible to up-zone some areas where no submissions were received - the "out-of-scope" changes. As Ben says, it is up to the Hearings Panel to decide how to deal with those - it does have the powers but may chose to use them sparingly.
As to the concerns of the folk who have belatedly become aware - I do have some sympathy but as someone who has taken a close interest in the process from the beginning, I would be annoyed if that process was to be disrupted by people who have just woken up.
Speaker: Scoop.co.nz's Operation…, in reply to
My employee (XXX) sent the following email around. Is this intentional or have we got the wrong end of the stick?
"XXX is not a licensed commercial user of the Scoop website which means that staff are not licenced to access or use their site.
Specifically, note that:
3.3.2. ‘Use’ encompasses, but is not limited to, downloading, sharing, e-mailing, direct linking, copying, reading, extracting, scraping, selling content, by employees, workers, agents or automated devices, or anything else what-so-ever that could be reasonably held to violate Scoop’s copyright pursuant to applicable copyright law and Scoop’s limitations of use.
Even reading XXX's content that Scoop republishes is prohibited under their Terms and Conditions.
Therefore, please do not access or use Scoop services (including through Google alerts or similar aggregator systems) until notified otherwise.
On the bright side, as it is an aggregator of information, the information contained on Scoop – unless created as original content by Scoop or its staff – is generally available elsewhere. "
Busytown: Beware of the Leopard,
IANAL but ...
Invite the Council to consider three or maybe four things
Do the RMA regulations require an accurate application number on the submission form? (The answer is no - Councils design their own form which follows the regulations but often seek additional information).
Do the submissions clearly identify the aspects of the proposal that are being opposed (The answer seems to be yes - submitters clearly oppose removing the trees),
Did the wrong application number disadvantage any party in that they failed to be informed about your submission (I am guessing no - NZTA would have seen everything).
Also worth considering - did any advice you received from the Council (help desk or web site) lead you to use the wrong number?
In the end, the Council has to weigh up what is the greater risk - hearing you guys, or refusing to hear you and having the hearing possibly invalidated.
Hard News: When a riot went on,
I look back on this in the context of the times - the eighties and not long after the Labour govt was elected. I worked for the Ministry of Works - Roger D would have been plotting our demise at the time - out of the Bledisloe Building alongside Aotea Square. When I left work that evening the concert was starting and the yobbos were already on the walkway roof with their beers (and bladders).
My wine club was having its annual dinner that night in Ponsonby - (wine clubs were a predecessor of share clubs but thankfully I never made the transition). Several members arrived late in a state of high agitation about rioting street kids - they couldn't get their cars out of the Civic carpark.
One of the broken windows was that of the DFC on the opposite side of Queen St - not that many years later it was the DFC itself that was broken.
Hard News: The Waterview Bore,
I was the planner for the community groups that were responsible for persuading the Board of Inquiry for the Waterview Connection to get serious improvements to the project. I also live close to the southern end of the project (near Alan Wood Park) and I continue to be involved with the community liaison for the project.
NZTA were not keen on funding the 2.4 km of cycleway parallel to the tunnel, which would have left a gap between its (proposed) termination in the middle of Alan Wood Park and Point Chevalier. Thankfully, NZTA were required to fund Auckland Council/Auckland Transport to do the project. It does involve bridges across the railway and the Oakley Creek and some private land acquisition so perhaps I should not have been as disappointed as I was when I learned that it was going to take as long to build as the motorway itself (projected completion 2017). So it will not be able to fulfil one of the roles we saw for it – to provide access to alternative open space for those of us living in the vicinity of Alan Wood Park for the duration of the project.
I argued for much more open space retention at Alan Wood Park, but because so much of it was railway land which was loaned to the Council, it appeared not to count. (The ownership issue meant that there was very little investment in the park, so the land was kind of rough, not very park-like, and quite lightly used). What’s left of the park is now very constrained with a huge pit and topsoil dump (and continuing rock-breaking and blasting) – and the extent of these works has come as something of a surprise to locals, even those of us who have had continued involvement in the project.
We did go into some detail about what might be involved in direct motorway connections between SH20 and Point Chevalier – these would have added a level of complexity to the already complex interchange that would have been even more destructive to the community, so we conceded that.
The project does involve some improvements to Oakley Creek, including “naturalisation” of the Creek at its southern end, as well as the more formal protection of the Creek mouth (where there are many pre-European and European archaeological sites). This is at the expense of course of a motorway alongside and above the Creek (and some shortening of the stream bed). Between these extremes, the Creek will be largely untouched. (I must put a plug in here for Friends of Oakley Creek, a tireless community group who have had huge input into improvements along the course of the Creek).
We also got some quite major changes to the buildings at either end of the tunnel – relocating a vent stack at the northern end, and getting most of a supermarket-sized building at the other end placed under the ground.
The project is a monster, but not as monstrous as it could have been!
Southerly: One Hundred and Thirty-one…,
There is some potentially good news for cyclists in Auckland.
The NZTA in its Waterview Connection application stoutly resisted providing a cycleway parallel to the proposed 2.3 km tunnel extension of SH 20 from Allan Wood Park through to Point Chevalier. Submitters (incluidng the community groups I was the planning consultant for) considered that this extension should be provided. The Board of Inquiry, in its draft report and decision (warning, 400 page document) agreed with us. It will be Auckland Council/Auckland Transport's responsibility to secure the route (it is mostly through Council park but there will be a rail crossing involved, as well as passage through Unitec grounds) and once they can certify that has been achieved, NZTA is obliged to come up with $8 million.
My clients are delighted, Auckland Council a little stunned, and NZTA rather grumpy.
There is a lot that could go wrong (NZTA could appeal on a point of law, Auckland Council fail to meet its obligations and forfeit the money), but here's hoping...
Hard News: The Cycling Superhighway,
Writing reports is a political game really.
Sorry Christopher, I've been in that game a damn sight longer than Daniel Newcombe. If what went in under his name was his genuine opinion I would have to respect that (even while disagreeing with it). If it wasn't his genuine opinion then that's either downright unprofessional or a forgery. I cannot respect that.