'Maori rights' removed from Auckland plan
Corporate Maori interests have taken a blow this week after controversial legislation involving culturally significant sites has been removed from Auckland's new super city blueprint.
Until now the draft for the city's Unitray Plan has included 3600 'sites of significance' located around the region that are deemed to be historically connected to Maori culture.
Anyone living within 50 meters of such sites would have needed to obtain a 'Cultural Impact Assessment' from the relevant tribe- or tribes- before conducting any work on their property. These assessments could have invovled multiple tribes, each charging many hundreds of dollars per hour.
Opposition to the legislation was spearheaded by the Taxpayers Union, Democary Action and the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance, who lobbied the Independant Hearings Panel for the Unitary Plan, pointing out that no robust evidence exists for the proper identification of sites of significance.
Taxpayer Union executive director Jordan Williams said volunteers had been looking at the sites over the past five months to assess their cultural significance.
"Because the council didn't even bother to do that and we'd found gyms, carparks, a rubbish dump for example."
A briefing paper was compiled and submitted to the hearings panel who ruled in it's favour, effectively removing all of the sites of significance located on privately owned land from the city's Unitary Plan.
Some 18,000 Auckland landowners would have been affected by this legislation if it had gone ahead.
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