Democracy Action win in Auckland Unitary Plan appeal

Pam McMillan acted for Democracy Action Incorporated, an interested party, in an appeal by the Independent Maori Statutory Board against the Auckland Council’s decision to delete sites of value for mana whenua (SVMW) from the Unitary Plan.  Democracy Action argued the SVMW overlay imposed a considerable burden on some 18,000 Auckland property owners who were suddenly required to pay up to 13 iwi for cultural impact assessments for what could be very minor works on their properties. Justice Wylie dismissed the appeal and found the Council did not err in law in deciding to accept the Independent Hearing Panel’s recommendation to delete the SVMW overlay. In addition, the Court found that, having regard to the evidence before the Panel, the Panel did not err in law by concluding that the Council’s section 32 evaluation, prepared prior to notification of the PAUP, did not provide an adequate basis for the introduction of the SVMW. The decision is available here (Independent Maori Statutory Board v Auckland Council [2017] NZHC 356 (7 March 2017) [2017] NZRMA 195).