As the Auckland City Council begins its hearing process for the new Unitary Plan, some are up in arms about the Mana Whenua provisions.
Democracy Action is a community organisation who invited the Auckland City Council to a public meeting with the intention of asking questions about the Mana Whenua provisions, but what eventuated was more of an attack session.
The large number of Auckland residents who attended the public meeting certainly made their presence felt.
According to Auckland Council member Penny Pirritt, “They were worried that sites had been identified where they don't believe sites existed, and they were concerned that might put them through a process which might be a costly process.”
That means if one of the areas marked as having a historical value to any one of the 19 Mana Whenua Iwi in Auckland, they will make a decision whether or not to make a cultural assessment on that piece of land.
Although 3,600 sites were initially marked as part of the provision, many have already been indicated to council by Mana Whenua as not needing cultural assessment.
In the last six months, of the 6,000 resource consents that were submitted to the council, 200 of those applications triggered the provision with Mana Whenua. Of that, just over 20 of those resulted in a declined application.
Another provision which has already been an option to Mana Whenua for some time now, spelt out clearly in the new unitary plan, is the ability for Mana Whenua to negotiate co-management on their own lands, this was also an issue of contention.
The Unitary Plan is set for implementation in 2016.