5 Mar 2014

Council to facilitate iwi consent

9:37 am on 5 March 2014

Auckland Council will bring in a facilitator to help resource consent applicants consult local tribes, it says.

Through the council's rule book, the Unitary Plan, mana whenua are due to be told about work anyone wishes to carry out on sites of cultural value.

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Nineteen tribes would be involved in the cultural impact assessments, and the council said it would contact iwi on behalf of applicants.

Acting as a go-between would allay any fears people might have about the proposals in the Unitary Plan, it said.

The council believed it was important for Auckland to protect its cultural heritage and values and said the outcome of a cultural impact assessment was not an approval of a resource consent application; rather, it was advice the council would take into account before making a final decision.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters questioned the council's plan in Parliament on Tuesday, asking if iwi were to being given unlimited authority.

He said 19 tribes were in line to be given unbridled power to claim rights to any piece of land, and charge applicants thousands of dollars for approvals.

But Environment Minister Amy Adams said proposed cultural impact assessments in Auckland were about consultation, and the council was requiring consultation, not approval or veto rights.

The mechanics of any policy were being worked on by Auckland Council, she said.