It would be a constitutional disgrace if Auckland Council delegated the adoption of the Unitary Plan to its Development Committee. According to an NBR report the Council is considering delegating the decisions to its Development Committee, which includes members of the Independent Maori Statutory Board, who are unelected by and therefore unaccountable to the wider community.
Democracy Action chairman, Lee Short, says: "This is the most important decision the Super City has ever made. It is incredible that Auckland Council is even considering allowing unelected appointees with no democratic mandate to have a vote on the Unitary Plan. Such a move would serve as the ultimate betrayal by the Council to the values of democracy. Given that the Unitary Plan is the most important planning document in Auckland's history, if anything should be solely the choice of councillors, it should be this".
The Auckland Council Local Governance Statement 2014 is clear. Legally the Governing Body cannot delegate adopting a long-term plan, annual plan or annual report, and that the Governing Body retains to itself approval of the Unitary Plan.
No one doubts the value of consultation with iwi during the submission making process, however their representatives should not be able to vote on issues where there would clearly be a conflict of interest in doing so.
The Unitary Plan is effectively law making, and law making should ultimately have a democratic mandate.
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