Letter to DCC chief executive re Proposed 2GP hearings panel

From: Elizabeth Kerr
Sent: Thursday, 5 November 2015 4:58 p.m.
To: Sue Bidrose
Subject: Proposed 2GP – hearings panel appointments

Sue Bidrose
Chief Executive, Dunedin City Council

Dear Sue

RE Independence of the 2GP Hearings Panel

It came to my attention on Friday, 2 October 2015, via the ODT article, Green perceptions spark row

that the makeup of the panel selected to hear public submissions on the proposed second generation district plan (2GP) lacks independence due to both the number and selection of city councillors “with appropriate Resource Management Act training” – namely, Kate Wilson, David Benson-Pope, Jinty MacTavish and Aaron Hawkins;

and further,

the lack of independence still pertains given the ‘internal’ appointments will be accompanied by selection and appointment of up to three Only external independent commissioners – see DCC’s advertisement at ODT 3.10.15 (page 5): 2GP Hearings Panel – Expressions of Interest Sought. The notice is no longer available online at the DCC website; I attach a photograph.


39 Dunedin Television also featured an item (12.10.15), Outsiders sought for DCC’s district plan hearings panel

Given these numbers, there is potential for the ‘councillor-commissioners’ to vote in a bloc should they choose.
voting bloc

I strongly believe public submitters on the Proposed 2GP should be able to trust in a just and fair process; a process without bias and political taint.

I don’t believe this is possible under current arrangements and selections for the hearings panel.


One or more of the ‘councillor-commissioners’ – or indeed the external commissioners – may have previously ruled on resource consent applications, notices of requirement (for a designation), proposed plan changes and the like within the greater Dunedin area, which may have significant bearing on how they receive, decide and recommend on the content of public submissions in regards to the Proposed 2GP and the resulting plan document, whether or not sections are formally appealed to the Court(s).

It is simply not enough for Mayor Dave Cull to deny bias (or perception of bias) in panel choices, as he has done through the media, see ODT (3.10.15): Cull denies bias in panel choices

In my opinion, for a fair and just process all those appointed to the 2GP hearings panel should not be city councillors; they should all be experienced independent commissioners sourced from outside Dunedin City Council’s geographic boundary area.

Sincere regards

Elizabeth Kerr

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

█ The public has until November 24 to make submissions.

2GP banner

█ Proposed Second Generation District Plan (2GP)

Related Posts and Comments:
24.10.15 DCC and the AWFUL 2GP ‘threat of THREATS’
12.10.15 DCC Proposed 2GP (district plan) —DEFEND YOUR PROPERTY
3.10.15 DCC: Public Notice Draft 2GP + “Community Presentations”
3.10.15 DCC appointees to draft 2GP panel #greenasgrass #infatuation
● 2.10.15 DCC Draft 2GP hearings panel lacks FULL INDEPENDENCE
30.10.15 DCC 2GP molasses and the dreadful shooflies (You)
28.9.15 Message to DCC: The People can’t deal with your 2GP documentation…
26.9.15 DCC: Proposed 2GP to line pockets of cowboy developers #FIGHTDIRTY

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Resource management, Site, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

16 responses to “Letter to DCC chief executive re Proposed 2GP hearings panel

  1. Gurglars

    According to Whiley’s cunning plan he is resource management trained whatever that means? I’d rather see him as an alternative than the Cadbury Flake department entirely running the show – if it has to be elected councillors – which I am sure it does not!

  2. Elizabeth

    Speaking of whom:

    From: Andrew Whiley
    Sent: Thursday, 5 November 2015 5:00 p.m.
    To: Elizabeth Kerr; Sue Bidrose
    Subject: RE: Proposed 2GP – hearings panel appointments

    Dear Elizabeth,

    As someone that commented in regards to the makeup of the panel I believe it is extremely important that four councillors are represented in the 2GP Hearing Process.

    Councillors sit on most of the RMA hearings and are very familiar with Dunedin issues. By taking away the knowledge from all the councillors (7 of us) that are certified to sit on the hearings then that knowledge would be lost.

    This four councillors will assist in a lot of the history on why certain changes should take place and ripple effect it will have in various areas around Dunedin

    The appointment of the three independent commissions (as advertised for) will add some good balance to the process.


    Cr. Andrew Whiley
    Dunedin City Council

    • Brian Miller

      The 2GP is heralded as the “people’s document”.
      From the Foreword of the 2GP we read:
      “A broad consensus reached by the community about the plan’s makeup, is essential for a plan to have acceptance and credibility…. We have been doing this over the last two years and have listened to and balanced the different feedback we have received….”

      To be such a document the hearing commissioners need to make their decisions based on the submissions from the people of Dunedin, balanced against the 2GP. Therefore if this 2GP is to have acceptance and credibility. The commissioners need to be able to distance themselves from the local politics, and all the cronyism that goes with it.

      If Mr Whiley and his council mates consider that they know more about Dunedin and its needs than the rest of us. Then I suggest that they put their money where their mouth is. And make a submission to the 2GP. And take their chances like the rest of us mere mortals. Nothing less than independent commissioners from out of town will do IF the 2GP is to have credibility, and able to be called the “people’s document”.

      • Elizabeth

        To her credit, former councillor Teresa Stevenson was one of the few elected representatives to make submissions in her own right on RMA matters.

  3. Elizabeth

    Incredible. (Cr Whiley) Missed the bus.
    ….thus (voting bloc) we got cycleways ???? John Wilson Drive (how to ‘end’ suicides) ???? and so forth

  4. Diane Yeldon

    I thought that Cr Teresa Stevenson was a solid, hardworking sensible councillor and was sorry to see her go. She was not one of the old boys and got worn down, I think, trying to make improvements, often in vain.

    • Simon

      Not according to one ODT journo who graded the performance of councillors last term, and probably cost Teresa her council seat.

      • Diane Yeldon

        Surprising that a single ODT journalist would have so much influence. If so, not a good thing.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        In a way, a superficial way, he was right. She was “ineffectual” – in the same way Lee Vandervis has been, not because of the usual ways, laziness and thickness. Laziness and thickness have made countless people seem like they’re on the ball: they’re always supporting (“me too, I’ll second that”) any scheme no matter how pointless that the pushy majority of their colleagues come up with.
        On the other hand questioning the sense of doing / not doing something, pushing to get something useful done but being dumped on complete with personal attacks, these lead to a perception among brain-idle commentators and voters that the person is no damn use at all on council, or worse, a brake on “getting things done”.

        Get Things Done, never mind the quality. Or cost. We like to call it Progress, don’t we!

    • Diane Yeldon

      I think Leah McBey might have been another one who got driven out by the horrid old boys’ club. Certainly I was utterly horrified by some of the gross sexist chat I saw as a member of the public observing. As a member of the public present, I was treated as though invisible, or simply not there at all and so it went on. Monica Lewinsky jokes and sniggers topical at the time. And this was actually during a meeting. Goodness knows what some of these women councillors (and any more sensitive males, if there were any) had to put up with in the non-public parts of the meetings.

  5. Diane Yeldon

    Although I do remember that article and the ODT did, in fact, name the journalist whose view it was. Rather than using the grand and opaque, editorial “we”. I think it was Chris Morris and he was supposed to be in a position to judge because he covered DCC public meetings.

  6. Diane Yeldon

    Getting back to Elizabeth’s letter, I think it likely that DCC CEO, Sue BIdrose, will say selection of the Hearings Committee for the DCC District Plan Review (2GP) is a political decision. Useful fobbing off technique for everything: Either, “Oh, no, that’s a governance/political decision for elected reps.”
    Or, “Oh, no, that’s a management/employment issue for staff.”

  7. Elizabeth

    The commissioner panel for the (proposed) 2GP hearings has been announced internally at DCC.

    The very good news is panel chairman David Collins. A robust sort of individual.

    The bad news continues to be the CONTENTIOUS AND DELIBERATE Cull-organised vote-swaying green Dunedin City Councillor imbalance. No city councillors should be on the panel – for fairness and balance to presume. The last thing we want is a spurious green district plan – I hope someone calls DCC on this, legally. It’s a political scandal in the offing with real ability to screw private property values.

    Then too. One perceived conflict of interest was identified in December and will be elaborated on later today.

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