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District Plan Committee (3)

As time goes on, there will be far greater interest in the working of this Committee - it will effect every aspect of the way in which this District develops over the next 20 to 30 years.

To reiterate - it comprises Cr. Peter French as Chair, Cr Hoadley, David Taipari, Morrie Dunwoodie, Board Chair Allison Henry and Ian Munro - an Auckland planner.

It is charged with reviewing the current District Plan, and in particular, the "robustness of the Coromandel Peninsula Blueprint" which has absorbed so much energy over the last few years, and "how it will be used to inform the DPR".

The confirmed minutes of the first business meeting of the Committee on 18 February were released this week and they reinforce that Council is 'required by the Proposed Regional Policy Statement to give effect to the Blueprint document'. Well that certainly puts the kibosh on any ambitions that the Committee may have had to ditch the Blueprint, or any part of it.

This is further emphasized where staff state that 'there would only be changes to the Plan where there are known problems with the current Plan provisions, and where changes could be supported via robust monitoring and technical information'. Wow, take that!

Clearly David Taipari had major concerns surrounding the level of iwi consultation/ input into the Blueprint. Staff would have been biting their tongues on that - getting the local iwi to the table was a frustrating and at times futile exercise, though David would argue that at usual, pakeha ignorance of tangata whenua protocol and sensitivities were responsible, and that they always reserved the right to reject the final product. 

I note that later in the minutes the Hauraki Collective (the Settlement negotiating body) is suggested as  a good forum for the Committee to 'organise and facilitate discussion'.  It was also noted that 'there is a need to commission a report to inform the Committee of tangata whenua issues, concerns and opportunities'. There were questions as to the provisions of budgets for iwi consultation and facilitation -  read fees and allowances. Also, questions around the the need for a register to be kept of significant Maori sites.

David must have quietly taken a leading role - he is no shrinking violet, and I have no doubt that his continued participation will depend greatly on how his stake in the ground is regarded by his fellow members. Being patronised is an attitude up with which he will not put - be sure of that.  And he has very definite ideas on equal participation by tangata whenua in the decision making process. I think that there is a hint here of a far greater role - not merely advisory, for the Hauraki Collective. Watch this space!

Aside from Maori issues, some suggestion emerged of a desire to see cost/benefit analysis of environment versus cost of requiring consent - 'the need for very targeted regulation' - shades of Owen McShane!

The minutes then record the need for a discussion/communication document to be prepared and the 'need to bring the community along on the Plan review journey', and more such mother and apple pie stuff. The minutes end up with a call to consider the impact of the Auckland spatial plan/development and the relationship that Auckland has with Thames.

All in all, the first business meeting appears to have been dominated by Maori needs and interests, and with David Taipari's involvement, this emphasis is unlikely to diminish. Members, and rate-payers may or  may not be ready for this, and I would expect more assertive debate in the future.

I will attend at least part of the meetings set down for 18 to 20 April and will report accordingly on the Committee in action. Its agenda should be on the TCDC website 14 April - it should be starting to get its teeth into some thorny issues by then. 




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Reader Comments (2)

As someone who was heavily involved in the formation of the Blueprint I have grave concerns as to how things have evolved. The final document, with all the expert and staff ideas, has not been put out for public discussion or comment. I can only speak for the Coromandel-Colville Ward but I am dismayed to see the silly ideas that have been put forward for us and the good ideas we had all shifted into the Mercury Bay Ward. This is no joke if we are going to be stuck with these ideas going forward into the District plan with no possibility of them being changed. Do we want the only area for growth of the town to be in an area that is known to we want an industrial area in the midle of our heritage town centre...I don't think so and I could go on about many other things. What does it take to get the planners in Thames to listen and actually hear what our problems are and what we need to fix them. A cycleway to Thames certainly isn't going to do it!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Stark

Good points Chris - you have to ensure that when the times comes for public submissions that you and others concerned in Coromandel make your voices heard. I just cannot understand how staff changed the projects you mention into the Whitianga Ward, or more particularly what they are aiming to achieve unless they are truly dedicated to turning Coro. into a tourist backwater. Anyway, all the planning in the World cannot alter the the determination to develop aquaculture up there. My only comment is that it has to be done in a rational manner. My impression is that the despite staff concern to preserve the Blueprint, that change is on the way regardless - led by some major accommodation in the direction of tangata whenua.. David will not accept a done deal - no way, and the others will ride change in on his coat-tails I suspect.

April 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

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