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Tuesday
May292012

District Plan Review Committee (4)

Met today, and Boy, have they created some headaches for themselves that are not going to go away quickly, if at all.

Both Hoadley and Taipari arrived very late, but in time to participate in what was potentially the most controversial issue of this DP round.

I repeat here an extract from my PP Column dated 22March:

David Taipari, wearing his ‘other’ hat as a member of our District Plan Review Committee made his presence felt at the 15 March meeting. The draft document under discussion paid too little attention to the Tangata Whenua perspective in his view, and staff have been too hasty in assuming Iwi support for the proposals, and the process. There has been “too little effective consultation”, and he pointed to a number of what he claimed were deficiencies in the draft document. He made it abundantly clear that his continued presence on the Committee hinged on willingness to accept changes over the next few months leading up to the final draft, intended to go to consultation in November.

Underlying David’s presentation was a hint of his long-standing frustration at prevailing cultural arrogance, and after some ‘argy-bargy’ with the other members of the Committee who at times looked puzzled, but very anxious to accommodate his concerns, he changed tack. He suggested that he get together with Plan manager Leigh Robcke, and newly appointed Strategic Relationship Manager Sam Napia to “sort out a way forward”, and they caved - game, set and match to Mr Taipari. He knows how to set up a situation, and then provide the solution - classic negotiating technique.

Undoubtedly there will be fundamental changes emerge from this informal grouping that may require other members of the Committee to take a deep breath, and put the final document in jeopardy of being attacked by elements in the community that already have a jaundiced view of Maori prerogatives. But that will not necessarily be a bad thing – like it or not, co-governance is just around the corner after all.

The result of that Sub-committee's deliberations were reported back to the full Committee today. It appears that all it did was engage solicitors Atkins Holm Majurey to undertake a “review of the Working Draft provisions of the reviewed Plan”. It just so happens that this firm of solicitors, and Mr Paul Majurey in particular act as legal advisers to the Hauraki Collective who are in the final stages of completing their Treaty Settlement with the Crown.

The eight page ‘opinion’, and 20 pages of appendixes, dated 14 May 2012, that purports to be the Review of the Working Draft" was tabled apparently with the intention of stimulating some debate. It is in fact a heavily biased document which presents the entire panoply of Tangata Whenua history, grievances, claims and prerogatives in such a way as to frighten the pants off any red-blooded redneck, of which there are plenty in this District. But it is a negotiating instrument, and no more than could have been expected given the wide mandate provided to the ‘sub-committee.’ It is not in any way a “review” of the document that currently constitutes the ‘Working Draft’, and it therefore should have no status other than that of a ‘negotiating’ instument, as yet un-endorsed, but likely to be so by Tangata Whenua as a first step in arriving at an agreement.

David again took control in the absence of any real leadership by Chair Peter French, and Members Hoadley and Henry rushed to endorse his suggestion that the same ‘sub-committee’ summarise the document into a submission that following further “work-shopping” could be taken to a Hui of the relevant Iwi for ‘consultation’. Then and only then, it should be reported back to the full Committee for incorporation in whichever way was thought best into the final draft document that is planned to go to public consultation in October. There appeared no doubt that David considered that there should be as little deviation as possible from the Majurey document.

It was not clear which grouping of Iwi, or perhaps the full Hauraki Collective that he was proposing to call to the Hui, but either way, he wants the full Committee to attend and answer questions. He further proposed that Paul Majurey and his team should be invited to a planned DPRC Workshop proposed for 21 June to answer any questions arising from his submission.

What is perfectly obvious to me is that this Committee would be very unwise to rely on a 'summary' of this submission that emerges from the sub-Committee based simply on this 'Review/Opinion' without seeking a further balancing opinion from Council’s own legal advisors – a ‘peer-review’ in other words of what amounts to a submission by an ‘interested party’. To proceed further without such a review would be immensely dangerous, and infuriate the many both on and outside Council who hold views inimical to those that have been expressed so forcefully by Paul Majurey. In fact, DP Plan Manager Leigh Robcke has been placed in an invidious position in being asked to summarise the Majurey proposal into a Committee document - an impossible task in my view, without the benefit of a balancing opinion.  

I would like to point out that I am not stating a position one way or the other on this matter other than as outlined above. I believe that Mr Majurey has done exactly as he was asked – I just consider that the Committee was extremely unwise to place all its eggs in one basket when it referred this matter to the sub-Committee at the instigation of Mr Taipari. David is no fool – he has been around negotiations for a very long time, and understands the nuances of this situation. He was handed this on a plate by the other members who simply allowed themselves to be carried along in his wake, and demonstrated extraordinary naivety as they rushed to support his views. He simply filled the vacuum just as any good negotiator would do. 

The two most at fault were Cr Hoadley, who should have known better, and Alison Henry, who is all sweetness and light, but knows stuff all about this situation. This matter is about to become mired in internal dissent within Council – probably as soon as 27 June, but more likely 8 August – too late to be rectified before it goes to consultation. As it stands, I don’t look forward to the result when the document finally emerges into that arena. Cr Jack Wells attended as a member of the public, and left at this point. His face said it all. This will not be a happy outcome I suspect, and phones will be running hot as I write.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

If we replace the word maori with ' (potential) large landholders' does it look like the future wealthy are lobbying to protect their interests? Would we accept this if they were not maori?

June 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H Wood,

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