Home' The Wellingtonian : May 10th 2012 Contents 8 THE WELLINGTONIAN, MAY 10, 2012
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'We were wrong',
By AMY JACKMAN
Wellington City Council con-
ceded last week it made a mis-
take in its notification of Cres-
wick Valley residents about the
rezoning of a site in Curtis St.
The council unanimously
voted not to appeal last month's
High Court decision that the
way council notified those affec-
ted by the re-zoning was mis-
Last November, the Creswick
Valley Residents Association
sought a review in the High
Court of the council's decision to
allow earthworks to be carried
out on the site in Northland, and
to rezone the land as Business 2.
The rezoning would mean the
land would be available for com-
The court found the material
supplied by the council to
residents was misleading, the
rezoning did not meet the
council's own criteria, and the
council did not properly identify
who would be affected by the
zone change and earthworks.
At last week's strategy and
policy committee meeting, the
council excluded the public
when it debated the issue and
agreed not to appeal the High
It also voted to initiate a new
plan change to again re-zone the
Curtis St site and instructed
officers to prepare a report on
the lessons learned from the
High Court decision.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown
said the committee's decision
highlighted the importance of
how the council communicated
planning information to affected
We accept that the infor-
mation we provided about this
site may not have been
sufficiently clear,'' she said.
The discussion about whether
the issue should be debated in
private was fierce.
The committee was advised by
officers to have the debate
behind closed doors so it could
discuss its lawyers' advice with-
out losing legal professional
The officers said the com-
mittee should either debate the
issue in private, or in public
with the legal advice in the
report blacked out.
Councillor Iona Pannett said
the discussion should be public
because nothing in the report
was particularly sensitive, and
because the public deserved to
know the reasoning behind the
Deputy mayor Ian McKinnon
agreed and said a public body
should go into public exclusion
only as a last resort.
When you are a public body
you have to be very careful going
into public exclusion.
We should discuss this in
public because this has become a
high profile matter.''
Councillor Ray Ahipene-
Mercer disagreed, and said
although the public deserved to
know the outcome, having the
debate in public would limit
what councillors could say.
I understand where they are
coming from, but we need to be
able to speak freely on this.''
Councillor Helene Ritchie said
having the debate in public
would backfire because someone
was bound to stray into areas
they were not supposed to.
The vote was a tie and West-
ern ward councillor and com-
mittee chairman Andy Foster
cast the decisive vote to put the
debate into public exclusion.
Councillors Foster, Ritchie,
Ahipene-Mercer, Ngaire Best,
Leonie Gill and Bryan Pepperell
voted to go in to public
exclusion. Councillors Pannett,
McKinnon, John Morrison,
Justin Lester, Paul Eagle and
Stephanie Cook voted against.
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