Council on target to meet consents deadline

The Christchurch City Council says it is on target to clear the backlog of building consents that has hampered its ability to process new consents within the statutory time frames.

Staff are confident the backlog will be cleared by tomorrow's deadline, which was set by International Accreditation New Zealand (Ianz) when it raised concerns about the council's consenting processes.

"We are working very hard to meet the commitments that we made to zero that out and I think we will achieve that," council regulation and democracy services general manager Peter Mitchell told councillors today.

The council received a letter from Ianz on May 30 warning it that unless it lifted its game it would be stripped of its powers to grant consents at the end of this month.

Mayor Bob Parker and councillors learnt of the letter two weeks ago when Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee released a statement criticising the council for its consenting processes and demanding it take immediate action to address the concerns raised by Ianz.

There were six areas in which Ianz requested the council take "corrective action", and in the past two weeks council staff, contractors and a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) team have been working around the clock to ensure the problems are addressed by the June 28 deadline.

Mitchell told councillors today that he was confident the council had remedied the problems identified. A formal response to the concerns raised by Ianz had been sent to the agency on Tuesday.

"We're waiting for their formal response back. We don't have a date around that at the moment," Mitchell said.

The MBIE staff who had been brought in to help the council through the crisis had left and their recommendations for improvements were being worked through.

Mitchell said Ianz was due to conduct another audit of the council's consenting processes in August.

The Press