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Residents question draft annual plan


Local residents tendered submissions to Kaipara commissioners at draft annual plan hearings held in Mangawhai at the end of April.

The Draft Annual Plan is a blueprint for ongoing management of the Kaipara district and while the High Court decision on the rating system is still in obeyance, the Kaipara District Council, such as it is, must still endeavour to formulate a management plan given the ruling situation at the time. 

The submission process is neccessary for ratepayers to voice and discuss concerns on aspects of the plan thereby giving commissioners information whereby they may adjust the plan to be more effective in the long term.

Submissions for discussion at associated meetings numbered in excess of 500. 

Through the Annual Plan submission process, speakers at the Mangawhai meeting referred mainly to their objection of proposed land sales. 

Commissioners sought feedback from ratepayers on the proposed sale of unused Council-owned land classed as ‘non-strategic’ but there appeared a grey area as to the definition of ‘strategic’ and ‘non-strategic’.

While there are around 400 such blocks within the Kaipara many relate directly to Mangawhai. Some constitute beachfront areas utilised by large numbers of visitors during the summer and holiday periods and are seen as strategically important to the wellbeing of Mangawhai. 

Due to the position of some of the land, especially the beachfront plots along Alamar Cres, any suggestion of sale was strongly opposed. The sale of some other plots was also questioned as some land was considered unstable so could not be sold or endorsed as safe for building on. 

There was also reference to the need for more play and picnic areas though much of the land had already lay unused for many years anyway and though some was believed to have been gifted to the Council and should not be sold, this assumption was not always correct. 

Commissioners acknowledged that the submissions process had served its purpose in allowing residents to put forward their concerns and bring new information to light and are now deliberating on possible outcome options.

Footnote: Justice Heath has advised the Kaipara District Council and Mangawhai Residents & Ratepayers Association that an interim decision to the rates-related High Court hearing may be imminent. He has offered two options. Firstly to give a decision by the end of May but without any explanation, or secondly, give a full decision by the end of July. A preference has yet to be made on the preferred option by the parties involved but a decision without explanation would make it difficult to mount any appeal or other responsive action that might be considered necessary.
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