May 27, 2010

Proposal by Planning Minister to Return Modification Applications to Councils rejected

The Minister for Planning, on 18 May, 2010, hs proposed that: “… the Regional Panel Chairs delegate Regional Panel Applications in three circumstances where the Council has agreed that these applications will be determined by appropriate senior staff and not by the full Council or Council Committee, consistent with the theme of depoliticising the planning system.”

Council has rejected the proposal by the Minister comprehensively.
Unless development applications are simply routine consents, development applications of this nature need to be determined in full public scrutiny, in public forums by elected representatives whose decisions are transparent and in the presence of the press and public.
Do I need to remind the Minister that the Part 3A processes, which caused allegations, although unfounded, against Senior Department Planning Officials occur when development application processes occur in secret.
This theme of depoliticising the planning system misconceives the nature of the community’s role through its elected representatives in the planning process. It takes us back to the dark ages.
II will on council’s behalf write to the Minister and advise him that his offer be rejected.  I will do so in  a detailed way setting out explicitly why his proposal is contrary to the community and public interest, particularly in relation to the issue of transparency.

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