Do different rules apply?

Are councils out of touch with reality? Are they more focused on how they look on the surface as an organisation while  below the surface and behind closed doors are they doing deals  that are not in the community’s best interest? Are ratepayers being forced to comply with consents while councils disregard or relax compliance when it suits them?

What lies hidden?

The layers of complexity and bureaucracy one faces when you begin to question certain aspects of resource consents are relentless. Section 127 of the RMA allows changes to original consents you may never know about. Non notified consent changes are made by council, legal challenges, high prices being charged for consents, inconsistent enforcement all designed to frustrate, irritate and confuse.

Over the last few weeks The Post has been doing a fair amount of research into resource consents, compliance issues and the role of councils in the management, monitoring and enforcement of resource consents. We have received numerous e-mails, calls and visits and everyone talks about a ‘them verses us’ culture when dealing with councils.

If you echo the sentiments of the people who have contacted The Post you could paint a masterpiece of sheer frustration. They are deeply unhappy with the decisions that are being made by council staff.
Mark ends off his email to The Post “as I too am sick of ‘one rule for you and another for us’ attitude.” Mark is talking about Auckland Council and issues around compliance and the frustration of dealing with double standards within the council.

Ken writes “We have a resource consent to build a supermarket however the moment we began to dig foundations we were stopped as we did not have a resource consent to dig holes.”
Dan says “It is frustrating, why is the council not enforcing the resource consents, why are they allowing companies to endanger communities?”

Murray writes “I was given a resource consent for a new stormwater pipe to be laid which did not include the physical connection so another resource consent was needed.”

Watercare are going to put two huge water tanks both thirteen metres high on Runciman Road and they are not going to bury it. How is it even possible that they got a resource consent for that when the average ratepayer would never be allowed to do the same?
How is it possible that Auckland Council gave the go ahead for a development , allowing the sale of properties that people are unable to build on?

How is it possible that a company is allowed to discharge treated sewerage directly onto sand dunes just because it was ok 20 years ago?
All of these people are extremely unhappy, frustrated and annoyed by what they describe as a ‘them verses us’ attitude when it comes to national and local government, Watercare, Auckland Transport, Waikato Regional Council, Waikato District Council, Auckland Council and the national government.

Your response? Send me an email if you are facing similar issues or if you feel what is presented here is not quite right. steve@thepost.nz