Friday, November 30, 2018

Hutt City Council ignores the law

The Hutt City Council has abandoned its plans to protect Significant Natural Areas (SNAs):

Hutt City Council has abandoned plans to use the District Plan to protect biodiversity on private land, with the city's mayor Ray Wallace issuing an apology to Eastbourne residents.

The issue over Significant Natural Areas (SNA) had proved highly divisive, with residents claiming the council plan was a land grab.


After six hours of heated debate, the Hearings Committee rejected the use of SNAs and agreed that the council should work in partnership with land owners to find ways protect native bush.

At 11.30pm, Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace called a council meeting and issued a public apology to landowners.

This is illegal. The RMA requires local authorities to protect areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna and to control land use for that purpose. When the New Plymouth City Council ignored those obligations to "work with landowners", they were ordered to do it properly by the Environment Court. Forest & Bird have said they will pursue a similar case against Hutt City, and on past precedent, they'll win. Sadly, the bill for that victory will be paid by all Hutt ratepayers, rather than the noisy propetarians responsible for this illegal decision.