Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, February 9th, 2016 - 50 comments
Categories: activism, christchurch earthquake, Conservation, Gerry Brownlee - Tags: christchurch, Christchurch City Council, christchurch council, Conservation, gerry brownlee, nick smith, trees
Gerry Brownlee has not accomplished very much in his role as earthquake recovery minister. But he has, with the help of his good friend Nick Smith, managed to saddle the people of Christchurch with the expense of paying to have our district plan reviewed — his way.
In order to ensure that only the best quality outcomes get delivered, he has used the CER Act to make sure that the whole process is run by a panel of very expensive independent commissioners, who are running a fast-tracked, no expense spared, quasi-Court like process that is virtually inaccessible to ordinary citizens.
And of course, since the democratic process just costs time and money, this hearing panel is a one stop shop. The decisions it makes are final, and there is no right of appeal to the Environment Court to test facts, or the quality of the decisions that are being made. You can only to the High Court, on points of law – if you happen to have a spare 100 grand or so.
One of the changes proposed under the new district plan will see 80% of the currently registered notable and heritage trees in Christchurch, lose their protected status. Take that, Garden City!
De-registered trees can be cut down at any time, without notice.
2000 trees that are currently protected will lose that status if these changes go forward. Because of the fast track time frame there was no time allowed for consultation so most people in Christchurch are not aware that this is happening.
I am part of a group that is supporting individuals who did submit, and who are fighting back.
And we are fighting back effectively. So far we have presented evidence, and negotiated settlements with the Crown and with the Christchurch City Council that would see over 1000 trees make it back on to the register.
We are still fighting for the rest.
In order to be taken seriously by the hearing panel, we have had to pay for expert and legal representation. This has been a very expensive process. Volunteers have donated hundreds of hours of their own time and thousands of dollars of their own money fighting this fight.
We need help to continue, and to make sure that the negotiated settlements we have reached so far, are honoured.
If you are able to help us financially, then please consider visiting our “give a little page” and making a donation:
If you are not able to help us with money, then please consider putting the word out.
As a group, we are exhausted, but we are keeping up the fight. Because no one else is in a position to do what we are doing, and what we are doing needs to be done.
— Andrew Robins