- Date published:
7:01 am, March 15th, 2016 - 31 comments
Categories: activism, democracy under attack, law, local government - Tags: christchurch, Christchurch City Council, nick smith, rma, trees
A few weeks ago I posted about the Christchurch City District Plan review process, and the campaign to save Christchurch’s Notable trees.
So far the notable trees campaign has had to spend over $20,000 just to be heard in the discussions that are deciding the fate of over 2000 heritage and notable trees in the “garden city”.
The process that is driving the hearings process is the Brain Child of that champion of local democracy, Nick Smith.
And now he is finally getting the chance to stick it to all those people he thought were rude to him the last time he was minister against local government.
Submissions have just closed on the Resource Management Amendment Bill 2015, and the planning process this bill describes is scarily familiar to those of us who have been involved in the Christchurch District Plan review hearings
If the bill goes through in its current form then you can all expect vital decisions about local planning issues to be made in a hearings process that is run like a court, where you have to pay for lawyers and experts to be heard.
Another wonderful provision in this bill is the ability to just “strike out” any submissions that a hearing panel believes are “vexatious”. That will surely enhance local democracy!
Submissions on this bill closed at 5pm on Monday and I hope that there are some real heavy hitters lining up to fight this. Because if the changes go through as written, then the whole country gets to experience what we have been going through for the last six months.
I won’t be fighting it. I and other people fighting the planning changes in Christchurch have nothing left to fight with. No money, no time, no energy.
The Christchurch hearings process drags on as an open ended process, and every time the hearings panel moves a date, or allows the council to introduce another piece of evidence, the price of democracy goes up a few more thousand dollars for submitter groups.
If this bill goes through, then community groups all over the country are going to become intimately acquainted with just how badly they have been shafted by Mr Smith and his accomplices.
So – I have picked my battle, and I along with some others are fighting it. I really hope that there is going to be strong opposition to the RMA Amendment Bill. It needs to be fought. But others are going to have to take the lead here.
The fight for the trees of Christchurch continues. If you are in a position to support those who are fighting it, then they do still need your help. You can still donate via the Give A Little page at:
— Andrew Robins