Council could lose consenting powers

Last updated 16:40 12/06/2013

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The Christchurch City Council has been given until June 28 to improve its consenting process or it will lose the power to grant consents.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said today that the council was sent a letter from International Accreditation (IANZ) on May 30.

IANZ gave the council until June 28 to improve its processes or it would lose accreditation as a building consent authority.

"This is, to say the very least, alarming and, in the circumstances of the massive rebuild we face in Christchurch, a crisis point," Brownlee said.

"For some time now we've had grave concerns about consenting processes at the Christchurch City Council.

"When I've asked for information about that in recent months I've been assured things were changing and improving."

He said that because of the Government's concerns, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment had become involved several times since February 10, 2010, in trying to help the council improve and speed up its processes.

"We have provided considerable support and advice, but still the council has failed to adequately address its systems, resources and improve the culture of its consenting staff," he said.

Because of that, Brownlee and Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson were working on a plan before the June 28 deadline for a decision to be made on whether the council would keep its accreditation.

The council has received an average of 35 building applications a day in March and April, according to the agenda from this month's planning committee meeting.

"The council knew this workload was coming and hasn't adequately addressed it," Brownlee said.

"We can't let that continue and will be discussing the Government's approach with councillors soon."

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- The Press

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