Thames-Coromandel District Council
The Water Services Bill (the Bill) currently making its way through Parliament has much to commend it. Most New Zealanders want the quality of our freshwater and drinking water to be maintained to a high standard throughout the country. Similarly, most would support the prioritising of wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and maintenance to an equally high standard. These are absolute basics in any first world country.Read more
The Waikato Regional Council's draft submission to the Productivity Commission's inquiry into Local Government Funding and Financing reveals that the implementation of Treaty of Waitangi settlements creates significant cost pressures for Council. The submission states that "the Council wishes to work with its iwi partners in partnership but notes that the costs to do so is significant to its ratepayers".Read more
Northland Regional Council has granted resource consent to New Zealand Refining Company Ltd to dredge the entrance to Whangarei Harbour. Dredging will allow larger crude cargoes of around 1 million barrels to be shipped to Marsden Point. Conditions of the resource consent include payments of $1.15 million (plus GST if any) to local tangata whenua to form a Kaitiaki Group.Read more
Ratepayers at a Bay of Plenty meeting with MP Todd Muller complained about their Councils playing 'fast and loose' with their rights - especially for the need to consult with local hapu/iwi when installing a water bore on their own property. "To get a bore you have to get iwi "consent", and they want a koha, which is not a gift, it's a bribe" one woman stated.
Another woman said that koha payments are not recorded by Councils, even though they can be compulsory under the Councils' terms of operation.
Horowhenua Council’s Chief Executive confidentially agreed to provide nearly a million dollars to Te Runanga o Raukawa provided it did not object to a wastewater scheme. Chief executive David Clapperton made the confidential agreement to provide at least $880,500 to Te Runanga o Raukawa on the proviso the Runanga withdraw its objection to council’s resource consent application to make discharges from the Foxton Waste Water Treatment Plant to Matakarapa Island. “This is a huge sum of money distributed to a collective group for purposes which have not been disclosed to the public or debated by council for consideration,” said Councillor Ross Campbell.Read more
“the third point I want to make is a broader question. It is in respect of the Resource Management Act. At the weekend we saw reported what I think is a very sad development for New Zealand. This country takes great pride in being a corruption-free country, a country where things are done upfront. We saw through the resource management process, a payment to Tainui of over $1 million. On exactly the same day the deal was drafted, an Environment Court Appeal was withdrawn. We are to believe that it is a co-incidence that the funding agreement just happens to expire on 1 January 2023, the day that the resource consent expires. This is a very sad reflection on Carter Holt Harvey. It is a sad reflection on Tainui. I believe that there are dozens of such cases. The only thing that is unique about this one is that it was reported because of the internal wrangles within Tainui”.Read more
In some situations, consenting authorities and courts are required to deliberate on the effects of a matter on tribal “spiritual values”. The courts have accepted that ancestral land is land that has been "owned" by ancestors (i.e. it need not have remained in Māori ownership). Generally, once a relationship with Maori is recognised, consultation is imperative. A Maori official “assisting” the Auckland Council preparing a billion dollar under-water rail tunnel told Council that the proposed route would trespass upon the territory of “horotiu” the taniwha (ancestral demon) The official noted to the Committee “there are always ways to placate taniwha”.Read more
“Greenpeace is concerned that an oil company with an exploration licence off Northland may be bribing iwi leaders to bolster support for their controversial drilling plans. Greenpeace has taken a picture of three executives from Norwegian oil giant Statoil meeting with an Iwi leader at a Wellington cafe. Campaigner Mike Smith said it goes against the Norwegian government's protocols specifying that consultation must be done through appropriate procedures and representative institutions. He said it's an effort to win over individual iwi leaders rather than engaging collectively. "They've got clear instructions from the Norwegian government that they should only deal with institutions and mandated representatives, that's our main concern."Read more
The Chair of the District Plan Review Committee …emphasised “over and over was that they were “over a barrel”, and that to refuse to adopt the recommendation that $20,000 be put aside for ‘consultation’ with the eight iwi members of the “collective”…. would surely trigger an appeal to the Environment/High Court on the grounds of inadequate consultation, which the iwi would undoubtedly win”… The Councillor’s final swipe “was to suggest that it was her view that there was no way that the iwi would be satisfied with $20,000, and that it would “grow in time”…. It took some pretty stern talking .. to bring them back to their senses, and go along with the “blackmail” (“Peanuts for Peace” was his terminology – not bad!).