Coastal Ratepayers Headed For High Court

Hazards issue goes to court again

By Roger Childs

November 13 is the day the High Court will hear the Coastal Ratepayers United (CRU) case against the Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) over changes to coastal hazards provisions.

Surprisingly, the KCDC has not filed a “cross appeal”, and at least five councillors were not informed about the date for the High Court hearing.

CRU’s concerns centre on Council going back on decisions made in 2014 to

  • withdrew coastal hazard areas from the Proposed District Plan.
  • set up a Coastal Advisory Group, with community representation, to work on the hazards issue.

(To see the detail of KCDC’s illegal and un-notified actions and CRU’s responses, scroll down to the July 26 article: Ratepayers Win V KCDC)

The mayor has changed his tune

Mayor on a different tack

During the last triennium, Councillor K Gurunathan supported the 2014 decisions, which had been based on two independent reports commissioned by Council.

He also commended CRU on its concerns over the actions of KCDC in shifting ground and not involving the community.

However, now as Mayor, he claims that most elected councillors met privately with KCDC staff and agreed to the “new” approach.

Knowing about the High Court challenge looming in November however, he did not immediately advise a number of councillors of the date for the CRU appeal.

Ratepayers are entitled to better than this.

After all, Councillor Gurunathan campaigned for the mayoralty last year on the Local Government Act principle that: A local authority should conduct its business in an open, transparent, and democratically accountable manner.

This principle has not being applied to action over the vital issue of Kapiti coastal hazards.


Your Councillors were fully and promptly briefed on the filing of this action by C.R.U. to challenge a previous court decision not to make a declaration against K.C.D.C. over Coastal Hazards.

In July, while reconsidering our policy work priorities we agreed to the Mayor’s recommendation to further work on Coastal Hazards. The following day, this action was filed by C.R.U.

Immediatly upon the subsequent release of Greater Wellington Regional Councils Regional Coastal strategy report we agreed with the GWRC recommendation to form a Regional Climate Change response group, appointing the Mayor and Deputy Mayor Janet Holborow as our representatives in August.

We are in the process of setting up a local working group to feed into this conversation inviting Kapiti stakeholders to take part, we envisage those to include other Councillors, Community Board, Ministry of the Environment, Insurance Industry, D. O.C, North Otaki Beach, Horowhenua District Council, C.R.U, Greypower and Iwi representatives.

Your council did not want any repeat the foolhardy action of a previous council which proceeded with Coastal Hazard mitigation action without any guidance of national and regional scientific study.

We now have the science and we will proceed slowly and carefully in partnership with our community stakeholders and fellow regional partners to plan for the future of our coastline.