2                                        11 November 2020

HUTT CITY COUNCIL

 

District Plan Review Subcommittee

 

Minutes of an extraordinary meeting held in the Council Chambers, 2nd Floor,
30 Laings Road, Lower Hutt on

 Wednesday 11 November 2020 commencing at 1.30pm

 

 

PRESENT:                       

Deputy Mayor T Lewis

Cr K Brown (from 1.34pm)

Cr B Dyer

Cr S Edwards

Cr N Shaw

Ms M Dentice

Mr A Ede

 

 

APOLOGIES:                  There were no apologies.

 

IN ATTENDANCE:       Ms J Miller, Chief Executive (part meeting)

Ms H Oram, Director Environment and Sustainability

Mr H Wesney, Divisional Manager District Plan Policy

Mr N Geard, Senior Environmental Policy Analyst

Mr J Joseph, Senior Environmental Policy Analyst

Mr B Haddrell, Policy Planner

Mr D Burt, Senior Advisor Sustainability and Resilience (part meeting)

Ms K Stannard, Head of Democratic Services (part meeting)

Ms K Glanville, Senior Democracy Advisor (part meeting)

Ms H Clegg, Minute Taker

 

 

 

PUBLIC BUSINESS

 

The Chief Executive opened the meeting.

 

1.       APOLOGIES 

RESOLVED: (Deputy Mayor Lewis/Cr Dyer               Minute No. DPRS 20601

“That the apology received from Cr K Brown for lateness be accepted.”

2.

Appointment of Chair

The Chief Executive called for nominations for Chair.  Deputy Mayor Lewis nominated Cr Edwards for the position of Chair and Cr Shaw seconded the motion.  The Chief Executive called for any other nominations and as there were none she put the motion.

 

Resolved:   (Deputy Mayor Lewis/Cr Shaw)                            Minute No. DPRS 20602

“That Cr Edwards be elected as Chair of the District Plan Review Subcommittee for the meeting.”

Cr Edwards assumed the chair.  He advised that the Lower Hutt District Plan was an important document for the city.  He said the meeting marked the beginning of a process.  He acknowledged the challenge of fully engaging the community.

Cr Brown joined the meeting at 1.34pm.

The Director Environment and Sustainability advised that the meeting marked the beginning of a multi-year process and was focussed on urban development.  She stressed that no rules or decisions had been made.  She highlighted the purpose of the meeting was to obtain high level guidance for officers to undertake research and work programmes.   She added that Lower Hutt’s District Plan would also be guided and constrained by regional and national Policy Statements which required mandatory compliance.

3.       PUBLIC COMMENT

Comments are recorded under the item to which they relate.

 

4.       CONFLICT OF INTEREST DECLARATIONS      

 

          Deputy Mayor Lewis declared a conflict of interest in relation to item 5.

 

Cr Dyer highlighted he had discussions about purchasing a block of land near Wise Street, Wainuiomata.  He noted it was not in the area being discussed and to date had not proceeded.

 

Ms M Dentice advised that a family member was employed by Council.  She also advised that she worked at the Department of Internal Affairs on the Three Waters Reform.


 

5.       PresEntation

Central Government freshwater legislation and Whaitua Te Whanganui-a-Tara: Implications for District Plan

Deputy Mayor Lewis declared a conflict of interest and look no part in the discussion or voting on the matter.

Mr Tim Sharp, Kaiwhakahaere Whaitua, Whaitua Programme Manager, Environmental Policy, Greater Wellington Te Pane Matua Taiao, advised that water and the receiving environments must be considered in all District Plan reviews.  He added that this was a specific requirement of the National Policy Statement – Urban Development.  He clarified that all objectives, policies and methods must show how effects on the waterways and receiving environments, including estuaries, were avoided.  He noted that greenfield developments generally added contaminants to the environment and that opportunities existed for brownfield developments  to reduce contaminant levels. 

Mr Sharp cautioned against a situation where Council might approve a development only for Greater Wellington Regional Council to decline the regional resource consent application.  He added that officers from the two local authorities were working closely together to ensure the Regional and District Plans did not contradict each other.  He noted that streamlined processes were developed for joint application processes.

 

6.

Urban Form and Development (20/1131)

Report No. DPRS2020/6/271 by the Senior Environmental Policy Analyst

 

Speaking under public comment, Ms Tiriana Turara read from a written statement (attached as pages 13-16 to the minutes).

 

Speaking under public comment, Mr Dene Waters expressed concern about the lack of information about the meeting.  He was disappointed in Council’s approach to the proposed use of the land in the Upper Fitzherbert Road area.  He said that all parties needed to work together to achieve a supply of housing for lower income families.  He expressed concern at the problems with the sewerage system in the area.  He believed Council lacked the ability to protect significant areas.  He questioned whether a road through to Naenae would be developed, why Council was only entering into agreements for the land with selected developers and whether the water tunnel under the Wainuiomata Hill could be upgraded to provide for cyclists.

 

 

Resolved:   (Cr Edwards/Cr Dyer)                                             Minute No. DPRS 20603

“That the Subcommittee extends the time limit for public comment by 30 minutes to enable the remaining members of the public the opportunity to speak.”

 

 

Speaking under public comment, Ms Julie Sylvester expressed frustration at the continued lack of consultation with landowners by Council.  She questioned the treatment of stormwater from any potential developments.  She advised all waters drained to Black Creek which also ran past the Cleanfill.  She said that the wisdom of locals outweighed the knowledge of experts.

 

In response to a question from a member regarding suggestions for engagement with the community, Ms Sylvester suggested that officers telephone affected landowners to invite them to meetings.

 

Speaking under public comment, Ms Michelle Caldwell tabled her written statement (attached as pages 17-18 to the minutes) and spoke to it.

 

Speaking under public comment, Ms Jane Wootton opposed any subdivision of land in the Moores Valley Road area as it would destroy significant areas.  She supported the comments made by previous speakers and opposed any Council intention to dictate what residents could do on their own land. 

 

Speaking under public comment, Ms Colleen Hira stated her wish to keep the land in family ownership for generations to come.  She asked why Council continued to pursue the land for residential development.  She said there were other areas in the city which were more suited to residential development.  She maintained that the Upper Fitzherbert Road area contained numerous diverse species of native flora and fauna which should not be threatened by development. 

 

Speaking under public comment, Mr Craig Innes advised he had requested information concerning the Wainuiomata North area and had his requests denied.  He did not believe that intensification of residential land use close to train stations was advisable due to the close proximity of fault lines.  He expressed scepticism of the location of significant natural areas only being on areas Council did not believe could be further developed.

 

The Divisional Manager District Plan Policy elaborated on the report.  The Senior Environmental Policy Analyst added that the District Plan had to adhere to the requirements of the National Policy Standard – Urban Design (NPS-UD).

 

In response to questions from members, the Senior Environmental Policy Analyst advised detailed research and public engagement were required to assess the potential for development of any land and not just greenfield areas.  He also advised that some definition of words in the NPS-UD were left to local authorities to interpret.  He explained that Petone could fit the definition of a metropolitan area, however that did not mean Petone had to be a metropolitan area.  He noted the main Hutt Valley railway line did meet the Rapid Transit definition.  He confirmed sea level rise could be defined as a natural hazard.  He agreed this could have implications for potential areas for brownfield intensification in the city.

 

In response to a question from a member regarding the possibility of sequencing of future development, the Senior Environmental Policy Analyst advised Council could only influence where areas of greenfield developments could occur and that it could provide for brownfield intensification across the city.  The Divisional Manager District Plan Policy added that the NPS-UD directed local authorities to investigate and encourage brownfield development rather than greenfield developments.

 

In response to questions from members regarding costings, timeframes and the impact of the Resource Management Act (RMA) reform, the  Senior Environmental Policy Analyst advised that if officers were directed to investigate more areas for greenfield development than had already been identified, significant cost increases and timeframe delays would occur.  He added that any changes made to the RMA would likely have a lead in period of five to ten years and members would be kept updated with any progress of the reform.

 

The Divisional Manager District Plan Policy added that the District Plan review work required over the next two years would be required whatever the outcomes of the RMA reform.

 

In response to a question from a member regarding the fault line, the Senior Environmental Policy Analyst confirmed land in the vicinity of a faultline could be excluded from areas where intensive development was permitted.

 

In response to questions from members regarding consultation with potential developers, the Divisional Manager District Plan Policy advised that those details had not been finalised and that numerous groups and developers would be consulted.  He added that once the Lower Hutt District Plan was operational, monitoring would assess how effective the requirements of the NPS regarding housing provision were being met. 

 

In response to a question from a member regarding the timeframe for the Lower Hutt District Plan review, the Divisional Manager District Plan Policy advised the NPS-UD had to be given effect by April 2024.  He said officers planned to publicly notify the proposed Lower Hutt District Plan by mid-2022.  He added that meant significant amounts of engagement, investigation, options and drafting would occur over the next 18 months for each of the 26 review topics. 

 

In response to a question from a member regarding the amount of land suitable for brownfield development within the city, the Senior Environmental Policy Analyst advised there was limited land for this type of development.

 

In response to a question from a member, the Divisional Manager District Plan Policy confirmed that paragraph 19 of the officer’s report included mana whenua and that this requirement was included in the NPS-UD.

 

In response to questions from members regarding the potential for investigation of other areas for greenfield development, the Senior Environmental Policy Analyst advised that if Option 1 was agreed by members then no further investigation would be undertaken. He added that Option 2  components could be developed as a plan change at a later stage.  He said there was a provision within the NPS-UD which provided for investigation to allow for greenfield developments.

 

In response to a question from a member regarding the possible additional costs that Option 2 could incur, the Divisional Manager District Plan Policy advised there may not initially be too many added costs as the investigations into other areas for greenfield development would be very high level. 

 

The Director Environment and Sustainability highlighted that if more money were spent at the front end of the process then there would be less funding available for the later stages.

 

Cr Brown expressed support for Option 2.  She believed it was important to investigate all options at this early stage. 

 

Cr Dyer expressed support for Option 2.  He said it would provide a high level look at all options for the city.  He believed it was important that information on all areas be reported to members to enable informed decisions to be made.

 

Deputy Mayor Lewis expressed support for Option 1.  She said it enabled officers to begin the engagement process with the public.  She believed Option 2 could be introduced as a plan change later if required and that Option 2 would also affect climate change considerations of Council.  She explained that many areas which could be included under Option 2 were bush clad and provided carbon credits for Council. 

 

MOTION: (Cr Edwards/Deputy Mayor Lewis)

That the Subcommittee:

(i)         receives the information in the report; and

(ii)        directs officers to undertake the urban form and development component of the District Plan Review through the following approach (Option 1 outlined in the Options section of the report):

(a)        Investigate and engage on how the intensification direction of the NPS-UD can be given effect to through the District Plan review;

(b)        Investigate and engage on the extent to which further intensification should be enabled in existing urban areas subject to natural hazards;  

(c)        Investigate and engage on how and when greenfield development could be enabled in Upper Fitzherbert and Kelson; and

(d)       Carry out spatial identification of the planned future urban form of Hutt City, and develop provisions for the urban form and development chapter.

The motion was declared LOST on the voices.

Members supported a high level scan of all potential greenfield areas in the city which was covered in Option 2 of the report.

 

Resolved:   (Cr Edwards/Cr Dyer)                                            Minute No. DPRS 20604

That the Subcommittee:

(i)    receives the information in the report;

(ii)   directs officers to undertake the urban form and development component of the District Plan Review through the following approach (Option 1 outlined in the Options section of the report):

(a)   investigate and engage on how the intensification direction of the NPS-UD can be given effect to through the District Plan review;

(b)   investigate and engage on the extent to which further intensification should be enabled in existing urban areas subject to natural hazards; 

(c)   investigate and engage on how and when greenfield development could be enabled in Upper Fitzherbert and Kelson;

(d)   carry out spatial identification of the planned future urban form of Hutt City, and develop provisions for the urban form and development chapter; and

(iii)  directs officers to undertake a more expansive greenfield option for developing the city with investigations of potential greenfield areas outside of Upper Fitzherbert and Kelson in the Western Hills including the Kilminster Block, Moores Valley and Coast Road (Option 2 outlined in the Options section of the report).”

Deputy Mayor Lewis requested that her vote be recorded against the above matter.

 

7.

Historic Heritage (20/1126)

Report No. DPRS2020/6/272 by the Senior Environmental Policy Analyst

 

Speaking under public comment, Ms Pam Hanna requested clarification about historic and heritage buildings and areas.  She said there was misleading guidance under the Heritage New Zealand and Lower Hutt District Plan legislation.  She asked that 36 Riddlers Crescent (Collett House) be reinstated in the Heritage List of the Lower Hutt District Plan.  She supported Option 2 outlined in the officer’s report.  She added that some pockets of Petone required heritage protection.  She said Petone should not be classified as a metropolitan area due to a number of natural hazards.

 

The Senior Environmental Policy Analyst elaborated on the report.

 

In response to questions from members, the Senior Environmental Policy Analyst advised that historic heritage could be applied to an area and that individual buildings might have specific historic heritage values within that area.  He added individual buildings might have specific historic heritage in areas not identified as historic heritage.  He explained that historic character was not clearly defined.  He acknowledged difficulties in ensuring historic character could be criteria for excluding intensification.  He clarified that historic character could meet the threshold of heritage and that numerous buildings within the city had historic heritage value.

In response to a question from a member, the Senior Environmental Policy Analyst confirmed it was possible for historic character areas to not be protected from intensification as required by the NPS-UD.  He added that the qualifying matters under Policy 4 of the NPS-UD provided for ‘other matters’ to be investigated.  He said that would require a site by site investigation to ascertain the reasons for exclusion from the intensification requirement.  He considered an approximate cost to undertake an investigation of the potential historic character of an area was $100,000.

Deputy Mayor Lewis expressed concern that historically significant heritage areas could be lost if they could not be protected from intensification.

The Divisional Manager District Plan Policy advised that areas could be identified as an historic character precinct within which there might exist individually listed historic heritage buildings.  He said all future development needed to be reflective of the historic character of the precinct.  He conceded that there was no clear cut  response to historic character areas.  He reminded members that exclusions from intensification had to be investigated on a case by case basis. 

The Senior Environmental Policy Analyst advised that density could only be limited to protect an identified element.  He said the NPS-UD required local authorities to provide for as much intensification of development as possible.  He accepted it would be challenging to protect all of Petone from intensification.

The Divisional Manager District Plan Policy added that the information obtained for Petone 2040 would be useful.  He said that officers recommended Option 1 as it provided a balance.

 

 

Resolved:     (Cr Edwards/Cr Brown)                                Minute No. DPRS 20605

“That the Subcommittee:

(i)    receives the information in the report; and

(ii)   directs officers to undertake the historic heritage component of the District Plan Review through the following approach (Option 1 highlighted in the Options section of the officer’s report):

(a)   carry out engagement in conjunction with the engagement on Council’s heritage policy;

(b)   follow and implement the direction of the heritage policy;

(c)   carry out a technical assessment of the state and sufficiency of information of existing historic heritage listings as well as an assessment of any possible additional listings;

(d)   engage on the outcome of the historic heritage assessment; and

(e)   develop District Plan provisions for the protection of identified historic heritage.”

The meeting adjourned at 3.33pm and resumed at 3.39pm.

8.

Residential Zones (20/1124)

Report No. DPRS2020/6/273 by the Senior Environmental Policy Analyst

 

The Senior Environmental Policy Analyst elaborated on the report.

In response to a question from a member, the Senior Environmental Policy Analyst was unsure of an appoximate cost of a combined residential character and heritage character assessment. 

The Divisional Manager District Plan Policy highlighted that such an assessment had not been budgeted for.

 

Resolved:    (Cr Edwards/Deputy Mayor Lewis)              Minute No. DPRS 20606

“That the Subcommittee:

(i)    notes and receives the information contained in the report;

(ii)   directs officers to undertake the District Plan review through the following approach (Option 2 outlined in the officer’s report):

(a)     a full review of the provisions of the District Plan for residential zones, but with a particular focus on:

-    Aligning the District Plan with the National Planning Standards, particularly the zones provided for by the Standards;

-    Addressing the areas not addressed through Plan Change 43: Residential and Suburban Mixed Use;

-    Giving effect to the National Policy Statement on Urban Development and Regional Policy Statement for the Wellington Region;

-    Identifying areas with a residential character that may warrant a specific response in the District Plan to manage effects of land use and development on the character of those areas; and

(b)     directs officers to undertake a residential character assessment in combination with a heritage character assessment in order to assess heritage character in residential areas.”

 

9.

Light Spill and Glare (20/1127)

Report No. DPRS2020/6/263 by the Policy Planner

 

The Policy Planner elaborated on the report.

In response to questions from a member, the Policy Planner explained that no research had been undertaken concerning the effect of light spill on wildlife.  He said the research had focussed on investigating other local authories’ policies and the National Standards.  He added that Option 3 contained in the report would require specific research for Lower Hutt.  The Divisional Manager District Plan Policy advised that officers would report back to members on the possible costs for Option 3.

 

Resolved:         (Cr Edwards/Deputy Mayor Lewis)         Minute No. DPRS 20607

“That the Subcommittee:

(i)    notes the contents of the report;

(ii)   agrees to undertake a review of the provisions for light spill and glare with a scope in line with the recommended Option 2 outlined in the report, including a high impact assessment of effects on wildlife; and

(iii)  agrees to the engagement approach outlined for Option 2 outlined in the report.”

For the reasons this approach is an efficient use of Council resources appropriate to the scale of the issue; will make efficient use of the resources of those parties Council will engage with during the review; and meets our legal requirements and is consistent with national, regional, and other councils’ plans and policies.

10.

Public Access (20/1128)

Report No. DPRS2020/6/274 by the Policy Planner

 

Speaking under public comment, Ms Julie Sylvester asked members to carefully consider allowing any public access over private rural land due to the many hazards present and presence of stock.

 

Speaking under public comment, Ms Jane Wootton opposed allowing public access on private land as it would open the public up to hazards including the river and animals.  She questioned who would be liable if an accident occurred or if stock got loose due to a gate being left opened.

 

In response to a question from a member, the Policy Planner explained the latest electronic mapping information had been used to provide the form  details of the report.  He said the Wainuiomata River had the least amount of public access areas of all waterways in the city.  He confirmed that no public access would be required across private land.  He added that public access would only be considered if a development was submitted to Council. 

The Director Environment and Sustainability confirmed that there was nothing in the report that suggested appropriation of private land for public access to waterways.

 

Resolved:          (Cr Edwards/Deputy Mayor Lewis)        Minute No. DPRS 20608

“That the Subcommittee:

(i)    agrees to undertake the review of Public Access to waterbodies provisions as set out in Option 1 contained in the report; and

(ii)   agrees to undertake engagement, in regard to Public Access to water bodies, as set out in the report.”

For the reasons that it is efficient use of Council resources, will ensure Council can work toward giving effect to the Regional Policy Statement and statutory requirements for the maintenance and enhancement of Public Access to and along waterbodies, will allow officers and Council to better understand the most appropriate means to address the issues outlined in this report, and engagement is at the appropriate level. 

11.     Information Item

Aspirations and Ideas for the District Plan Review (20/1401)

Report No. DPRS2020/6/120 by the Head of District Plan Policy

The item of business was transferred to a future meeting of the subcommittee.

12.     QUESTIONS   

          There were no questions.

 

 

 

There being no further business the Chair declared the meeting closed at 3.50 pm.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                        Cr S Edwards

                                                                                                               CHAIR

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONFIRMED as a true and correct record

Dated this 15th day of December 2020


Peace Within Learning Logo.png   Your Journey Begins with One Step

Ko Whakapoungakau te Maunga
Ko Waiohewa te Awa
Ko Mataikotare te Marae
Ko Ngati Rangiteorere te Iwi O Te Arawa
Ko Upper Fitzherbert Road toku Turangawaewae
Ko Tiriana Turara toku ingoa
          Seven years ago, I was here defending my land to the Councils proposal to urbanise it.  I spoke about my husband death and the healing the land gave to me and of my healing business providing this Semi-Rural Serenity for others to heal in too.  This is a much needed kaupapa for our people today as I’m sure you’ll all agree.
          I’m a Facilitator of Great Change with Peace Within Learning assisting our peoples healing back to wellness and the negative effects that colonisation has had to both pakeha and Maori.  Untangling the hurts and grief that people have suffered and passed down from generation to generation in their DNA.
          Time does heals but here I am again, 7 years later, with your unrelenting authority of “power” to have it your way.  Your Coat of Arms of your shovel and taiaha with your intent to stake claim and confiscate this land, is digging a grave with a knife in my ribs for my body!
          Should I lay down my arms peacefully like Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi and instead of the 1600 troops that invaded Parehaka, you guys are invading us with 2000 homes and whanau taking my future of Peace on my privately owned land, just like in Taranaki. 

Parehaka natives’ were given 14 days to accept the reserves offered or face the consequences, they laid down their arms peacefully over to the dominance of Force and yet were still slaughtered, raped and tortured with The Crown taking what they wanted anyway.  
You, HCC are doing the same.  The “Farm Road Natives” are facing consequences of:
1. Re-zoning to residential rates, a huge financial increase to be forced upon us.
2. Developers, circling us like prey, offering deals to sell, forcing out the lifestyle from within.  Divide and conquer again? Huh? You can claim you’re not in the business of developing land, but YOU ARE THE Force behind the whole push.
3.  Consequences of stress, anxiety and ultimately annihilation for our Village, our birdlife, livestock and our Peaceful way of Life.
          The Treaty of Waitangi is a living document, caring for our lands and our people of Aotearoa together.  Our local Iwi, local politicians, developers, housing trusts, and even the Housing Minister have been consulted extensively with this proposal, and yet, we, the True Tangatawhenua have not been directly consulted other than receiving our one and only invitation at Arakura School, 7 years ago although not disclosing what the plans were unless you were able to attend the meeting. 
          We don’t even get an invitation to this Extraordinary Meeting! I found out through the grape vine a couple of days ago and some of our residents are still not aware of this “public meeting”.  In fact, it seems the objective has been to keep us out of the loop, withholding information when we have repeatedly asked for it, even from the CEO herself.  Behind closed doors you discuss our land and don’t even invite us for the korero?  Where’s the transparency that your Mayor so freely speaks of?
          And to add salt into my personal wound, the visited by home 7 years ago, an up and coming politician and HCC youth councillor  who is now a neighbour on a pivotal block of land in our neighbourhood, and Mayor, said to my face, that he would help me and my village save the Land, ummm that in my view is certainly a conflict of interest now given photos of him announcing the Housing Trust Team and much more.
         
You wave the Crowns Flag of providing affordable Housing. You speak of wellness for our people, yet have you considered us, the tangatawhenua? The actual locals, the animals, the native birds and ngahere, the wild deer that graze here? This swamp land will not provide affordable housing, look at the housing prices at the end of Wise Street and Parkway!
          I love the beautiful Papakainga on Moohan Street, the successful settlement claim returning lands and millions of dollars to invest in our people.  But how come you are on that side of the table having influence on the decision of my land?  Why are you in consultation with the Crown and we, the tangatawhenua aren’t?
          Like Te Whiti and Tohu, I feel our farm road people, have been detained without trial for many years with the Political Guillotine hanging over our properties and our families, being used as pawns in a voting ploy of promises of a bright future for the many, just like the foreigners new to our shores, at the expense of those already here.  We will not come out with plenty of money from the sale, we would have ongoing increased rates, costs to connection to your services we’ve already paid for privately and total destruction to our Peaceful Serenity. 
          My work at my property has wairua mahi, mirimiri, rongoa and animal therapy, awhi’d in a korowai of the Nature of Papatuanuku and a much-needed retreat for our manuhiri of the Rate Race of Suburbia and City Life. 
          The Covid Lockdown saw many people walking down our farm road, providing the calmness in the midst of the Storm, Maori know this, our land is our Connection to who we are and our wellness.  I am guttered for short sighted in your plans on our whenua, your illusion of the “good of many” over the “good of a few”.  Its not just the lives of the residents I stand for, it is for all of Mother Earth Herself against the disrespect of our human race towards Her.
          Surely, in 2020 with our newly elected Government with promises of righting the wrongs for Maori and all that stand on Aotearoa, can we start here? in our own back yard?  Coz, quite frankly, HCC been a Corporatized Bully, telling us residents to deal with the consequences, just like The Crown did back in the day.  And while the Government has set out a new National Policy Statement on Urban Development, that should not give anyone the right to do what you bloody like over private land.  We have Rights!
          So can we korero equally and negotiate better terms than my allocated 3 minutes? We offered solutions last time, Parkway extension, the many closed schools, Port Nicholson Block.  Let’s continue our suggestion with existing suburbia, put up more town houses in the huge sections Wainui has to offer, make it easier for suburbia residents with resource consent and packages to do so. 
          Let our rural properties of Wainuiomata North, Moores Valley and Coast Road be the Absolute Last Resort, not the easiest.  Don’t destroy Her completely, coz once this paradise is gone, it is gone for all of us and our mokopuna collectively. 
I lay down my arms, but will you?  Will you include us in your plans kanohi ke te kanohi equally?  This is what I am asking of you.  Consult with us, not at us or behind our backs!
          So in closing, what does Kaitiaki mean for you? What does Hutt City Counsellors and Iwi representative’s mean for you?  We, the “Farm Road Natives” are the Tangatawhenua, so what does that mean to you as the Crown?  “Lets keep moving” is our Governments slogan, do you want to do it together like the Treaty Claims?  Or will the past be repeated but now with both Maori and Pakeha united against the minority?

 

 


Michelle Caldwell’s presentation under Public Comment at the District Plan Review Subcommittee Meeting on 11 November 2020

 

Kia ora everyone

 

Thank you for allowing me to speak to the Agenda.

 

I am a rural landowner living on the Wainuiomata River Flats on Coast Road. The river runs through my property which includes land on both sides of the river and, in my case and a number of others along the river, also ownership of the land underneath the river itself. This was initially and incorrectly claimed as Crown land by Council during the SNA process, but private ownership is confirmed with LINZ, GWRC and on our titles. I understand this is a rarity with NZ rivers.

 

The District Plan Review is a wide-ranging, complex and controversial one. I am particularly interested in 2 parts that affect the rural community of Wainuiomata, so will restrict my comments to those issues.

 

The first is public access to coastline and waterways. This is considered of national importance and is also a priority for HCC, which is required to maintain and enhance access.

 

The Report on Public Access associated with this meeting’s agenda is, in my view, well written and has identified a number of pros, cons and areas for discussion. I note the report recommends Council adopt Option 1 when it reviews public access provisions. This seems a reasonable position to take.

 

The report identifies a number of groups, including landowners, as key partners and stakeholders. My biggest concern based, sadly, on past experience, is around the level of engagement with affected landowners. Council hasn’t always been transparent or willing to talk to landowners at an early stage about plans that affect them. This can leave us feeling that other parties opinions and wishes for private land use is given credence, and we’re only consulted after those parties and Council have already formed an opinion on a course of action. In other words, a fait accompli where landowner input is a box ticking exercise without affecting a pre-determined outcome.

 

In this case, we are formally identified as stakeholders. Thank you. But I respectfully ask that throughout the Review Council treats us as true stakeholders and that we be involved in discussions about public access over private land right from the beginning. To avoid speculation and worry about how our land might be used by others, we need to know what Council is thinking and the direction it prefers to take.

 

We know our land best and it’s important that Council, and other partners, take advantage of that expertise.  For instance, it might be nice for the public to walk across our land, fish, picnic and so forth, but the effect on stock management, health and safety, damage to fences, equipment and animals that our insurance might not cover, increased theft, maintenance, river channel migration etc., are very real concerns for us. It’s not just a case of NIMBYism – decisions have real and, potentially, very serious, consequences for landowners.

 

I know these issues will be part of the Review, but I want to emphasize how important balance will be in weighing up potential access points, and that landowners are listened to and given equal standing with other stakeholders. We are heavily invested in our land. Other groups, the public and, indeed, Council may well be much less so.

 

Landowner engagement and involvement also applies to my second area of concern – that of development of rural land. The Review document implies that all rural land in Wainuiomata is up for development consideration, not just the Upper Fitzherbert Road area already underway.

 

There will be differing opinions on the merits of rural land development, but I ask that Council remember they are dealing with people’s lives, homes, financial security and, often, dreams of living a certain lifestyle. In its push to find much needed housing solutions, the temptation to destroy or irrevocably change our rural areas, along with pressure from the urban community, will undoubtedly be high. Please ensure that affected landowners are involved as key stakeholders in any decision-making on rural development, not just part of “consultation” after the fact.

 

Thank you for your time. I have supplied a copy of my presentation and key points I would appreciate your consideration on.

 

Key points and additional comments

 

Engagement with Stakeholders

·         The involvement of affected landowners/stakeholders from the outset on issues outlined in the Review is seen as critical in order for balance and fairness in decision-making.

·         Is the Subcommittee able to advise how it intends to engage with stakeholders?

o   Will it be on an individual basis, or is it intended to have representatives from those groups meet together so everyone one can hear other views, put forward alternatives and discuss how best to implement Council’s legal requirements?

o   If the latter, it will be important to recognise opposing positions/objectives and include people with differing views rather than just those who are more likely to agree with Council’s preferred options.

·         It would help us if you provided a broad timetable of when the Subcommittee expects to discuss specific issues, including those affecting the rural community, over the coming year.

Council Transparency

·         Transparency and fairness will be extremely important if Council wishes to progress its agenda on housing and public access along waterways. If people see Council behaving with integrity and a genuine desire to consult, they are more likely to cooperate, participate and feel their views are being heard and genuinely considered.

Publicity about the Review

·         The rural community in Wainuiomata doesn’t receive the Hutt News, only the Wainuiomata News. Could any notices of upcoming meetings, or news articles about the Review please be included in the Wainuiomata News so rural people can keep in touch with progress on the Review, including any public meetings that might be arranged by Council. We have raised this every year.

·         Also, please note that not everybody uses social media, or has the connectivity to do so. It would be appreciated if Council continues to make available other ways for members of the public to raise questions or have their say on issues coming out of the Review.