2021 Update

COVID-19 virus (representation) | attribution: Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

I have neglected this blog for the last couple of years as COVID-19 and its impacts have occasioned a career change (or, more accurately, reversion), and most of my online energies were directed to an election campaign that was dominated by the spectre of the virus to the extent that the government won the first-ever outright majority in an MMP general election.

Since my last post in 2019 I’ve registered a political party, Sustainable New Zealand, and led it through the 2020 general election. More on that in a future post.

I have been happy to get back into legal practice as a barrister specialising in criminal defence. This is hugely fulfilling work in which I have the opportunity to help people every day. I’d really missed this type of work having had the experience of being a solicitor at the Grey Lynn Neighbourhood Law Office/Auckland Community Law Centre from 2013-2016.

Immediately following the 2020 general election I closed all my social media accounts except for LinkedIn and instagram so I’ll be updating the blog on a somewhat more regular basis from now on with a focus less on politics and more on legal issues and their broader relevance.

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Final Local Board Member Report: September 2019

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This is my final report at the end of six years as an elected member of the Waitematā Local Board. Having had the privilege of being elected for two terms to represent the central city and inner suburbs of Auckland I am not seeking re-election at this level.

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At the 2015 opening of the Grey Lynn Park Greenway (l to r: Rob Thomas, Pippa Coom, Deborah Yates, Greg Moyle, Vernon Tava, Shale Chambers, Christopher Dempsey.)

I would like to acknowledge the skilled leadership of 2010-16 Board Chair Shale Chambers; his head for detail, prodigious memory and finely-tuned political antennae  steered the board through many a political shallow and, as is so often the case with politicians so good at anticipating and avoiding trouble, his many achievements have not always been adequately recognised. I have also enjoyed working with 2016-2019 Board Chair Pippa Coom who is always conscientious, consultative, and has brought her characteristic fair-mindedness to the role.

I have enjoyed a great working relationship with our Ward Councillor, Mike Lee, for these two terms. He has very generously shared of his experience and wisdom over the years and I feel fortunate to have known him as a colleague and a friend.

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At the 2014 Franklin Road Christmas Lights (l to r) Vernon Tava, Shale Chambers, Greg Moyle, Cr Mike Lee, Pippa Coom.

As well as covering the period from mid-August to mid-September 2019, as per my usual monthly reports, this report also serves as a summary of the past six years (2013-2019) overall. In this time I have held the following roles on Council:

  • 2013-2016: Deputy Chair of the Finance Committee; Deputy Chair of the Hearings Committee; Lead of the Parks and Open Spaces portfolio; Heritage, Urban Design and Planning portfolio holder; member of the Fukuoka Garden Working Group; and, Local Board representative on the K’ Road Business Association
  • 2016-2019: Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; member of the Auckland Domain Committee; member of the Fukuoka Garden Committee; and, Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association
  • I was certified as a resource consent commissioner in 2014 and re-certified in 2017. Over the last two terms I sat as a panel member on five hearings. The most memorable of these was as a member of a five-member panel hearing the Kennedy Point Marina consent at Waiheke Island in 2017. This decision was appealed to the Environment Court in 2018 and our decision was upheld by the Court.
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    Speaking at the final meeting for the 2016-2019 term of the Local Board | Photo credit: Adriana Christie

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August 2019 Local Board Member Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-July to mid-August 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and, member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’

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July 2019 Local Board Member Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-June to mid-July 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and, member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • Plan Change 26 to the Auckland Unitary Plan: a review of the conflict between zones and overlays in AUP was consulted in June. A summary of the plan change is in the Heritage & Planning portfolio report below
  • The Parnell Plan was finished and publicly launched on 26 June
  • Completed, with Member Northey, Local Board input on the Kainga Ora Bill currently before Parliament
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’

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Plan Change 26 to Auckland Unitary Plan

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Photo credit: Bayleys Realty Group

Plan Change 26 seeks changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan to make it clear that certain planning provisions of the underlying Special Character Areas Overlay will prevail over the corresponding provisions of the underlying residential zones. The proposed plan change also refines some of the standards within the Special Character Areas Overlay, including height in relation to boundary, yards, paved areas and fences.

One of the most important things to understand about this plan change is that it is not introducing new rules or standards; it is clearing up an inadvertent legal confusion and effectively bringing the old Res 1 controls back into play, which were the heritage protections of the old District Plan for the last 20 years or so.  Continue reading

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June 2019 Local Board Member Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose
This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-April to mid-May 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and, member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • A scheduled ‘notable’ tree has been cut down without authorisation at 73 Argyle Street, Herne Bay
  • The retaining wall matter at 92 Williamson Avenue remains at an impasse
  • The bollards funded by the Local Board to be installed by the Cathedral in Saint Patrick’s Square are on track to be installed in July
  • The ‘Re-Imaginging Great North Road’ community-led precinct vision team have provided an update that most of their work will be completed by the end of June 2019
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’ Continue reading
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May 2019 Local Board Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-April to mid-May 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and, member of the Auckland Domain Committee. 

Executive Summary

  • The two wooden houses next to Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell are being demolished after a lengthy period of neglect. More details below.
  • I have been involved in a consent to remove a tree in Saint Patrick’s Square in front of the construction site for the Indigo building. This has resulted in widespread consultation with stakeholders and, as a result of these discussions, I have made a recommendation that a new tree be planted in another part of the square.
  • I have asked for Auckland Transport and Developments Consents to look into the reported lack of a usable footpath outside the development at 2 Churton Street, Parnell.
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents.’

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Demolition of Buildings at 9 Saint Stephens Avenue and 1A Brighton Road, Parnell

The Very Reverend Anne Mills, Dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral at Parnell, has informed that Waitematā Local Board that the two wooden houses standing next to the Cathedral at 9 Saint Stephens Avenue and 1A Brighton Road will be demolished. Work at the site commences on 23 April 2019. Continue reading

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April 2019 Local Board Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-March to mid-April 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and, member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • I submitted in person, along with Local Board Chair Pippa Coom, to the Hearings Panel for the Ferry Terminal and Queens Wharf resource consent on behalf of the Local Board on 28 March. Further details below in the Heritage & Planning portfolio report
  • A project manager has been appointed for the installation of the bollards in Saint Patrick’s Square
  • The liquor licence renewal for Plush karaoke bar at 59 Upper Queen Street has been declined by a panel of commissioners
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’

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December 2018-March 2019 Local Board Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-November 2018 to mid-March 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

 Executive Summary

  • I have worked with representatives of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Diocese of Auckland to have bollards re-installed in Saint Patrick’s Square to prevent vehicles driving around the side of the Cathedral. The plan was approved in October 2018 and funding voted in February 2019
  • I have been seeking the removal of the large concrete blocks obstructing the footpath outside 92 Williamson Avenue, Grey Lynn
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’

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