KCDC CEO answers former Regional Councillor’s criticism

By Alan Tristram

The  Kāpiti Coast’s CEO, Pat Dougherty (left), has replied to a former Regional Councillor’s call for a mediator to deal with the furore over the coastal hazards plan.

Former Regional Councillor (and resource consent chairman) Chris Turver said earlier that urgent mediation is needed in ‘the worsening stand-off’ between the KCDC and Coastal Ratepayers United over the KCDC’s plan to deal with climate change.

Mr Turver said Kāpiti is once again embarrassed by the consequences of a breakdown in relationships on major issues through lack of effective consultation and communication.

Special statement by CEO

But in a special statement to the Independent, Mr Dougherty says: “Anyone who really understands the process involved in a District Plan review would realise the whole thing is about consultation and mediation.

“Council has been working on the District Plan review since 2009.

“We advertise the Plan, we call for submissions, we read those submissions, we publish summaries of those submissions and then we call for cross submissions on those submissions.”

He adds: “We then try to address concerns by getting experts together to resolve any disagreements before we go to hearings. The hearings commissioners hear further information and evidence and make a decision.

“This is the most comprehensive consultation and mediation process there is in local government.”

No Surprise!!!! The CEO as usual wants to use ratepayers money to go to the enviornment court. Mediation would not only save everyone the cost of enormous legal fees, it would allow for a discussion that is much needed and very much lacking regarding not only the science but the application of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement.

Mr Dougherty continues to mislead. He gets the law wrong. He gets his facts wrong. HTe suggestion that there was extensive consultation is an insult to the ratepayers of Kapiti. CRU did a survey of all the coastal property owners. not one out of 600 had been consulted.

it is this whole failure to be upfront that scares so many in Kapiti.

At no stage prior to the recent KCDC decision to adopt a “managed retreat” has the term ever been used. Behind the label, “managed retreat” lies a myriad of fishhooks. Mr Dougherty cannot continue to bluff his way through the mess he has created. How can you have meaningful discussion when a secret agenda, namely “manged retreat” has been hidden behind smoke and mirrors and announced after the socalled consultation and mediation he insists has taken place. Transparency, Mr Dougherty is supposed to include completeness, honesty, and sincerity. Not obfuscation, and contradictory misleading statements in the local press. It is a pity we only get to vote on the mayor and councillors.

It would be helpful if the KCDC CEO took time to understand what the mediation proposal is all about…..

The call for urgent mediation is NOT about waiting until the lengthy process of the District Plan starts to unfold but in dealing now with the short term issues.

For Mr Doherty’s benefit, these include the immediate costs to his Council, using additional ratepayer income, in seeking legal advice and paying for costly full-page “explanatory” advertisements in local newspapers. There will also be additional staff cost in dealing with the issues raised by the CRU.

For those who have been hard hit by the consequences of the Council’s proposal, it has meant establishing a war chest for the CRU to pay for legal advice, research, and their own full page advertisements.

My proposal for immediate mediation is an effort to bring the parties together now to take the stress out of an unhappy situation, open the door for constructive discussion, and stop wasteful expenditure.

I’m sorry the CEO sees no benefit in that and perhaps that attitude expresses perfectly why the KCDC keeps shooting itself in the foot.

I find the CEO’s statement that,
“We then try to address concerns by getting experts together to resolve any disagreements before we go to hearings”

perplexing. The legal provision under the RMA 1991 which would facilitate such mediation in advance of the hearing is contained in Schedule 1, s8AA of the Act.

I wonder if KIN could go back to the CEO and ask when such mediation took place. The mediation must be conducted by an independent mediator and there are any number of other requirements under the Act that must be met and a report must be produced following the meeting. That report would therefore, I assume, be subject to an OIA request – and I for one would be keen read the mediator’s report if KIN could get a copy.

Regards and thanks
Katharine Moody