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Win For Taxpayers

Here is a communication just in from Jordan Williams that may have consequences as far as our local settlement is concerned. David Taipari will have his nose right of joint if this proves to be true, and survives all the inevitable pre-election nonsense: 

Last year we joined our sister group, the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, with Democracy Action and the Auckland Property Investors Association to launch our “Taniwha Tax” campaign and briefing paper on Auckland Council’s Mana Whenua Cultural Impact Assessment provisions in its draft unitary plan.

This afternoon the Independent Hearings Panel, which was tasked with reviewing all aspects of the draft plan, reported back.

The Panel has recommended that all of the provisions we cited – the cultural impact assessment requirements and the 3,600 ‘sites of value’ be deleted from the plan!

This win means:

  1. The 3,600 sites (affecting around 18,000 properties) are deleted from the Unitary Plan
  2. No more onerous ‘cultural impact assessments'
  3. No more consulting with up to a dozen iwi groups before the Council will approve your resource consent
  4. Auckland Council must go through a robust process and prove a site has real cultural or historic value before new ‘culturally valuable’ sites are scheduled
  5. Auckland Council must show that a particular site is culturally valuable – it's no longer up to homeowners to prove their site is not
  6. The Taniwha Tax is less likely to spread to other councils across New Zealand

The Panel completely rejected the Council’s recommendations for even more onerous requirements relating to Cultural Impact Assessments (the Council wanted to require these for all consents near the sites, rather than just those where a Mana Whenua group believe their cultural values are impacted).

How we did it

Today’s win shows the value of our campaigns. Along with the campaign exposing the Council publicly (and building popular opposition) we joined with the other groups to oppose and fight the provisions behind the scenes.  We succeeded because we ensured the politics supported the rational arguments being made to the Independent Panel.

Our website has a summary of the relevant report by the Panel. In short, it not only picks up our recommendations, it goes further and confirms what we suspected all along: Auckland Council never bothered to verify whether the sites were indeed vauable; or that they even existed.

Assuming the councillors adopt the Panel’s recommendations (though the legislative framework makes it hard for them not to) the Taniwha Tax is dead!

Thank you for your support - your donations make wins like today possible.

Jordan Williams

Executive Director
New Zealand Taxpayers' Union  



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