Justice Geoffrey Venning’s ruling on Friday that consents for the project should not have been granted without the public first having a say has opened a new debate in the long-running political sore.
The judge said the decision to proceed without notification was flawed – and set the consents aside.
Mr Brown has refused to comment on the ruling – which flies in the face of his position that the council ‘could not legally decline or publicly notify’ consents for two wharf extensions nearly 100m into the Waitemata Harbour.
Waitemata councillor Mike Lee said there was now raw anger directed at the mayor for allowing the situation to occur and trying to pass the buck with the lame excuse that ‘his hands are tied’.
‘People and communities have had a gutsful … the trashing of the beloved Waitemata Harbour is the last straw’ Mr Lee said in a guest post for The Daily Blog.
Yesterday North Shore councillor Chris Darby wrote to Mr Brown and council chief executive Stephen Town asking for a meeting today to discuss the way forward. Mr Darby wants to address council’s acceptance of the decision and an instruction for the council-owned ports company not to pursue an appeal.
He wants to discuss the financial implications for the council and the port – a review of resource consenting processes and a governance review of the ports company and the council body overseeing the ports.
Mr Darby said the ruling was a turning point and a sign genuine public participation was coming back to the design of the city. ‘The port company operating like an independent fiefdom – immune to the owner’s direction and wishes of Aucklanders – those days have now gone’ he said.
Last night port chairman Graeme Hawkins said he was disappointed with the decision – which had some far-reaching implications for consenting matters way beyond the port.
The implications for the port would be discussed at a regular board meeting on Thursday – he said.
‘At the end of the day – if we can’t go out into the harbour – it means we can’t release Captain Cook Wharf [for public use]. It’s as simple as that’ Mr Hawkins said.
(ed:..ya gotta luv that last threat from hawkins..eh..?..they won’t ‘release’ captain cook wharf’..eh..?..)