Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Bill

  • enacted

Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Bill

Government Bill

70—1

Explanatory note

General policy statement

The Bill amends the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010 (the principal Act). The purpose of the amendment is to provide more flexibility for the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel (the Hearings Panel) to help ensure that it can deliver its recommendations on the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (the proposed AUP) to the Auckland Council by the statutory deadline of 50 working days before the expiry of 3 years from the notification of the proposed plan (ie, 22 July 2016).

The Bill achieves this purpose by—

  • reducing the quorum required for hearing sessions from 3 members to 2 members; and

  • allowing an increase in the possible number of appointed hearings panel members from 7 to 10 (excluding the chairperson); and

  • enabling the Hearings Panel to make its recommendations on the proposed AUP in stages (rather than in 1 final report) after hearings are completed on a particular topic, if it chooses to do so.

Further amendments are required to support the above policy changes. The Bill creates a requirement for the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation to consult with the Auckland Council, the Independent Māori Statutory Board, and the chairperson of the Hearings Panel prior to appointing additional or replacement Hearings Panel members.

The Bill clarifies that the Hearings Panel may hold hearing sessions concurrently and that an additional chairperson may be appointed for the purposes of chairing a hearing session when the chairperson is unavailable due to chairing a concurrent hearing session. The Bill validates any hearing sessions that were held concurrently prior to this clarification being made.

A further amendment validates 28 February 2014 as the closing date for submissions on the proposed AUP. Any submissions received between 14 January 2014 and the end of 28 February 2014 are consequently to be treated as if they were received within the statutory time frame for submissions.

A minor and technical amendment is also required to fix an error in the drafting of the principal Act relating to the procedural requirements for the filing of appeals on questions of law with the High Court.

Departmental disclosure statement

The Ministry for the Environment is required to prepare a disclosure statement to assist with the scrutiny of this Bill. The disclosure statement provides access to information about the policy development of the Bill and identifies any significant or unusual legislative features of the Bill.

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 is the Title clause.

Clause 2 provides that the Bill will come into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

Clause 3 states that the Bill amends the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010 (the principal Act).

Part 1Substantive amendments

Clause 4 amends section 136(1) of the principal Act to reduce the quorum for a hearing session from 3 to 2 members of the Hearings Panel.

Clause 5 replaces section 144 of the principal Act. New section 144 continues to set out how the Hearings Panel makes recommendations on the proposed plan, but gives the Panel a new discretion to make recommendations on a particular topic as soon as the Panel has finished hearing submissions on that topic. New section 144 otherwise carries over (with consequential changes) the content of the provision that is being replaced.

Clause 6 corrects an error in section 158(6) of the principal Act, which specifies an incorrect starting date for the period in which a person may file an appeal against a decision of a requiring authority (other than the Auckland Council).

Clause 7 amends section 161 of the principal Act to increase the maximum number of Hearings Panel members from 7 to 10. It also inserts new section 161(8A), which requires the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation to consult with the Auckland Council, the Independent Māori Statutory Board, and the chairperson of the Hearings Panel before appointing any additional or replacement members to the Panel.

Clause 8 amends section 165 of the principal Act to clarify that the chairperson may direct that the Hearings Panel hold 2 or more hearing sessions concurrently.

Part 2Validations and consequential amendments

Clause 9 inserts new sections 170 and 171, which validate certain things done before the enactment of this Bill. New section 170 validates the closing date for submissions on the proposed plan that was adopted by the Auckland Council. New section 171 validates any hearing session of the Hearings Panel that was held concurrently with another session. It does this by providing that—

  • the provisions of the principal Act as amended by this Bill must be treated as having applied in relation to the hearing session; and

  • the chairperson of the Hearings Panel must be treated as having made the necessary directions under those provisions.

Clause 10 and the Schedule set out consequential amendments to the principal Act.

1 Title

This Act is the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act 2015.

2 Commencement

This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

3 Principal Act

This Act amends the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010 (the principal Act).

Part 1 Substantive amendments

4 Section 136 amended (Hearing procedure)

In section 136(1), replace “3” with “2”.

5 Section 144 replaced (Hearings Panel must make recommendations to Council on proposed plan)

Replace section 144 with:

144 Hearings Panel must make recommendations to Council on proposed plan

(1)

The Hearings Panel must make recommendations on the proposed plan, including any recommended changes to the proposed plan.

(2)

The Hearings Panel may make recommendations in respect of a particular topic after it has finished hearing submissions on that topic.

(3)

The Hearings Panel must make any remaining recommendations after it has finished hearing all of the submissions that will be heard on the proposed plan.

Scope of recommendations

(4)

The Hearings Panel must make recommendations on any provision included in the proposed plan under clause 4(5) or (6) of Schedule 1 of the RMA (which relates to designations and heritage orders), as applied by section 123.

(5)

However, the Hearings Panel—

(a)

is not limited to making recommendations only within the scope of the submissions made on the proposed plan; and

(b)

may make recommendations on any other matters relating to the proposed plan identified by the Panel or any other person during the Hearing.

(6)

The Hearings Panel must not make a recommendation on any existing designations or heritage orders that are included in the proposed plan without modification and on which no submissions are received.

Recommendations must be provided in reports

(7)

The Hearings Panel must provide its recommendations to the Council in 1 or more reports.

(8)

Each report must include—

(a)

the Panel’s recommendations on the topic or topics covered by the report, and identify any recommendations that are beyond the scope of the submissions made in respect of that topic or those topics; and

(b)

the Panel’s decisions on the provisions and matters raised in submissions made in respect of the topic or topics covered by the report; and

(c)

the reasons for accepting or rejecting submissions and, for this purpose, may address the submissions by grouping them according to—

(i)

the provisions of the proposed plan to which they relate; or

(ii)

the matters to which they relate.

(9)

Each report may also include—

(a)

matters relating to any consequential alterations necessary to the proposed plan arising from submissions; and

(b)

any other matter that the Hearings Panel considers relevant to the proposed plan that arises from submissions or otherwise.

(10)

To avoid doubt, the Hearings Panel is not required to make recommendations that address each submission individually.

6 Section 158 amended (Right of appeal to High Court on question of law)

Replace section 158(6) with:

(6)

Notice of the appeal must be filed with the High Court, and served on the Auckland Council, no later than 20 working days after the Council notifies the matters under—

(a)

section 148(4)(a), in the case of an appeal under subsection (1) or (3); or

(b)

section 151(5), in the case of an appeal under subsection (2).

7 Section 161 amended (Minister for Environment and Minister of Conservation to establish Hearings Panel)

(1)

In section 161(2)(b) and (7), replace “7” with “10”.

(2)

After section 161(8), insert:

(8A)

The Ministers may appoint an additional member or a replacement member only after consulting the Auckland Council, the Independent Māori Statutory Board, and the chairperson of the Hearings Panel (or the existing members of the Hearings Panel if there is no chairperson).

8 Section 165 amended (Powers of chairperson)

(1)

After section 165(a), insert:

(aa)

to direct that the Hearings Panel hold 2 or more hearing sessions concurrently:

(2)

Replace section 165(b) with:

(b)

to appoint another member to act as chairperson for the purposes of any hearing session at which he or she will not be present for any reason, including because hearing sessions are being held concurrently:

Part 2 Validations and consequential amendments

9 New sections 170 and 171 and cross-heading inserted

After section 169, insert:

Validations

170 Closing date for submissions to Council on proposed plan

Despite section 123(7) and (9), 28 February 2014 must be treated as if it is, and always was, the closing date for submissions on the proposed plan (other than further submissions) for the purposes of this Act.

171 Concurrent hearing sessions held before 2015 amendments

(1)

This section applies to any hearing session that was held concurrently with another hearing session before the commencement of the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act 2015 (the 2015 Act).

(2)

The hearing session must be treated as if—

(a)

this Act as amended by the 2015 Act applied in relation to the hearing session; and

(b)

the hearing session was—

(i)

held in accordance with a direction given under section 165(aa) (as inserted by the 2015 Act); and

(ii)

chaired by a chairperson appointed under section 165(b) (as amended by the 2015 Act) if the hearing session was chaired by a member other than the chairperson of the Hearings Panel appointed under section 161.

10 Consequential amendments

Amend the principal Act as set out in the Schedule.

Schedule Consequential amendments

s 10

Section 115

In section 115(1)(j), delete “on the completion of the hearing of submissions, but”.

After section 115(j), insert:

(ja)

the Hearings Panel may make recommendations to the Council in respect of a particular topic once it has finished hearing submissions on that topic:

In section 115(1)(k), replace “the Council must make decisions on the recommendations of the Hearings Panel no later than 20 working days after receiving the recommendations” with “after it has received all of the Hearings Panel’s recommendations, the Council must make decisions on the recommendations within 20 working days”.

Section 124

In section 124(5)(b), after “report”, insert “(or reports)”.

In section 124(8), replace “Panel’s report under section 144(5) to provide” with “Panel to provide, in a report under section 144(7),”.

Section 146

In section 146, replace “under section 144(5)” with “or reports under section 144(7).

Section 148

In section 148(2)(b), replace “that was not made available to the Hearings Panel” with “unless it was made available to the Hearings Panel before the Panel made the recommendation that is the subject of the Council’s decision”.

In section 148(4), after “provided with the report”, insert “(or, if there is more than 1 report, the last of the reports)”.

Section 150

In section 150, replace “of the Hearings Panel required under section 144(5)” with “or reports provided by the Hearings Panel under section 144(7).