Political parties back community input into large-scale developments
A residents' group that successfully fought plans for a huge retirement village in an historic suburb is seeking assurances from central Government candidates they will seek community input on major developments.
The Devonport Peninsula Precincts Society spent more than $70,000 fighting the consent for Ryman Healthcare's 600-bed, six storey, retirement complex, before a compromise was agreed through Environment Court-led mediation.
Now society chairman Iain Rea has sought assurances from political candidates across the spectrum the North Shore community won't have to go through the same thing again.
"Neighbourhoods are changing fast across the city, there are five big sites slated for large-scale development on the Devonport peninsula alone, and people will have concerns," Rea said.
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"This is an election issue. Communities will not take kindly to the erosion of their rights to be heard."
Rea was concerned changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) threaten the notification process through which the public can have a say.
"The power of public submissions to affect change is reducing," he said.
North Shore MP, National's Maggie Barry, said the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill was passed earlier this year to better support economic growth, increase housing supply and affordability, provide better infrastructure and less bureaucracy while ensuring the environment is well managed and protected.
Barry said more consultation and openness from developers could make a positive difference on how a development is received by the community it is being built in.
Labour's candidate for the North Shore, Romy Udanga, felt public participation was important.
"Public participation can be a strong stabilising force in a changing environment," Udanga said.
The Greens were concerned about the erosion of the RMA's notification process.
"Meaningful and accessible public participation is a cornerstone of the RMA. People have a right to be involved in decisions on consent applications which affect their neighbourhood and places they care about," Greens senior policy advisor Holly Donald said.
New Zealand First did not respond to questions.