When the Nats created CERA – the Gerry Brownlee Enabling Act – they tried to make it so no-one could challenge his decisions under the Act in court. The Courts hate such ‘ouster clauses’ and react by allowing cases on whether a decision was made under the Act or was so wrong it wasn’t an exercise of the powers granted. Brownlee’s just found that it ain’t easy to make yourself dictator in a free society.
The Court has found that his land zoning decisions were so flawed that they didn’t constitute an exercise of his power to make unchallengeable decisions under CERA.
Considering this is just about the only thing Brownlee has bothered to do in the rebuild effort in the last two years, that’s a huge blow.
And he’s handed Clayton Cosgrove a victory too. See, one of the parties opposing Brownlee’s decision was Independent Fisheries. Brownlee decided to go extra-judicial on them by accusing them of bribing Cosgrove to put in a private member’s bill to free up Independent Fisheries’ land.
The facts that the big donation came after Cosgrove had stopped putting the Bill in the ballot, that an undrawn private member’s bill is just about the most ineffective option for influencing the law possible, and Independent Fisheries would have been just one of a hundred land owners to benefit from Cosgrove’s Bill didn’t stop Brownlee’s smear.
Of course, it came to nothing.
And now we know it was Brownlee that was acting outside the law.