Tangata whenua chapter approved despite concerns

Warwick Goldsmith.
Warwick Goldsmith.
Concerns raised by an experienced lawyer did not stop Queenstown Lakes councillors from approving a tangata whenua chapter for its district plan yesterday.

The chapter will go out for public consultation.

Some adjustments were made by councillors yesterday, but Anderson Lloyd consultant Warwick Goldsmith, a planning specialist in Queenstown for 20 years, confirmed afterwards he still had concerns.

Before yesterday's extraordinary council meeting to consider the chapter, Mr Goldsmith warned councillors over certain sections.

One part said that when the council was making resource management decisions, it ''gives effect to'' iwi management plans.

Several councillors shared Mr Goldsmith's concerns and those words were changed to ''takes into account''.

Another section on managing wahi tupuna (ancestral landscapes) stipulated it would ''protect them from the adverse effects of subdivision, use and development.''

Mr Goldsmith - who endorsed Ngai Tahu's involvement in the planning process - suggested the council wait until those areas were identified before approval.

''If the wahi tupuna end up being very broad then that policy to protect them from subdivision and development is a lot stronger than the landscape policy.''

While councillors made other adjustments, the wahi tupuna section was unchanged.

Mr Goldsmith said after the meeting he expected it to be challenged.

''We don't know what the wahi tupuna are - yet there's a policy to protect them.''

A council analysis of the chapter said consent applicants may face increased costs because of additional consultation and iwi involvement.

However, Ngai Tahu representative Michael Skerrett, of Invercargill, said yesterday the tribe would identify which issues it wanted to be involved with, adding: ''We don't want to look at everything and be a nuisance.''

david.williams@odt.co.nz

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