Labour Maori Affairs spokesman Shane Jones has slammed a
new rule requiring Auckland property owners to seek iwi
approval to work on sites of cultural and heritage value to
Maori, calling it dangerous and an extra compliance cost.
Mr Jones is opposed to the rule in Auckland Council's draft
unitary plan that requiring applicants carrying out work on
3600 sites of "value to mana whenua" to obtain a "cultural
impact assessment" from one or more of 19 iwi groups.
"As someone who was involved in the core group which wrote
the Resource Management Act in 1988-1989 never in our wildest
dreams did we imagine it would lead to 19 new consent
authorities over the Tamaki Makaurau area.
"The proponents need to balance heritage against the cost
pressure of developing housing and land so that the final
product is affordable."
Mr Jones, who is also Labour's building and construction
spokesman, said there was a need to be brutally honest about
the pressures driving costs to develop and improve the supply
He said if the rule was left vague and had too much wriggle
room, no end of cultural worms would come to the surface.
"If it is mishandled it runs the risk of leaving the
community with a jaundiced view of Maori heritage," he said.
Mr Jones said the solution was to leave the issue of dealing
with sites of significance to mana whenua with the council as
the consenting agency.
Rodney ward councillor Bill Cashmore was among councillors at
a heated governing body debate on the issue yesterday to
express concern about how the rule change came about in the
late stages of developing the draft unitary plan.
Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said there was a need to resolve the
issue with urgency.
Council officers in conjunction with the in-house Te Waka
Angamua Maori division and Independent Maori Statutory Board
are already developing a standard procedure with triggers to
identify where a cultural impact assessment is required. They
will report to the unitary plan committee once they have
completed a streamlined process.
Maori statutory board chairman David Taipari said the matter
could have been better handled, but like built heritage, it
was important to protect archeological or sites of
significance to mana whenua.
Councillor John Watson said the issue had come out of the
blue and he could not understand how anyone could make a
submission to the draft unitary plan given the gaps in
information, such as the thresholds for requiring a cultural
Aprilanne Bonar, who is seeking consent to build a new garage
and swimming pool at her heritage listed house in Titirangi,
said she received a positive and practical response from two
iwi - Ngati Whatua and Te Kawerau Iwi Tribal Authority - for
a cultural impact assessment.
The work cost $500, which included an archeologist visiting
"They (iwi) do have an interest and do have a say but their
attitude was 'let's get on and do it'," she said.
The new rule is one of several in the draft unitary plan that
has effect from notification on October 1 last year.
But the proposed rules for the implementation of cultural
impact assessments is half-baked, the Employers and
Manufacturers Association said in its submission on the
unitary plan sent to the Auckland Council today.
"The whole discussion has to be withdrawn and reworked from
first principles," said chief executive Kim Campbell.
"The proposed process is riddled with potential for perverse
outcomes and unintended consequences. It's obvious that it
lacks thought and was prepared in haste."