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Letters to the editor

25 July, 2022


To the Mangawhai community

On May 29 2022 my beloved husband Rob Leslie died suddenly following a medical event. His death has felt shocking and distressing to all who knew and loved him. For me, his loss has felt devastating as we had a very special and deep love for one another.

Within hours of Rob’s passing we received a flood of food, flowers, care packages, cards, hugs, love and kindness from all over the community. It was all so very humbling to receive and to still be receiving. I would like each and every individual and business to know how much it has meant, how much it has helped and how much it is appreciated.

I feel somewhat overwhelmed and am not sure when I might get round to thanking everyone individually so I would like to say ‘Thank You’ very publicly. Thank you especially to St. John and Rob’s special Mangawhai Fire Brigade who worked so hard with us to try to save him. He would have felt so blessed to have you with him.

I am so very grateful to you all.

Michele Leslie (McVie)


Misleading statements
If no-one else has already done so, I would like to draw your attention to the misleading statements attributed by your paper (July 11) to my colleague Victoria del la Varis-Woodcock. You must have misquoted her.

As an accredited RMA decision maker, Cr del la Varis-Woodcock knows full well that the initial part of dealing with a privately initiated plan change request is to decide whether or not to “accept” the plan change for processing. It is an administrative procedure only. This has nothing to do with the substantive decision to be made in due course on the merits of the application after it has been publicly notified. Submissions and cross-submissions (which support or oppose primary submissions) are then deliberated upon at arm’s length by a panel of commissioners. There is a world of difference between accepting an application for processing and giving it approval. This difference seems to have been overlooked in your reporting.

There is limited scope not to “accept” a request for a Plan change for processing; any attempt to step outside that scope would have laid the council open to legal challenge. In short, if the application is complete, the council is obliged to process it, but is not obliged to approve it. The process was robust, and an appeal by either the applicant or submitters (or

both) is always a likelihood in processes like this. There is actually a further right of appeal to the High Court, which was not exercised in this case.

I would like to take the opportunity to alert your readers to impending changes to RMA legislation which have potential to significantly disenfranchise local people from having a say in how their own communities take shape. For as long as I am part of council I will be doing whatever is possible to protect the fragile flower of local democracy.

Disclosure: This letter is the opinion of Mark Vincent and not the Kaipara District Council.

Mark Vincent

Otamatea Ward Councillor

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