Councillor Lee’s statement is wrong for two reasons – firstly he accuses council officers of making a statement they never made ie that “non-complying” status for harbour reclamation was “legally undefendable”, and secondly having put words in officers’ mouths he then criticises them for ignoring legal advice contrary to those words. His statement is neither accurate nor fair. The facts are:
First, he claims that officers told councillors that “non-complying” status for harbour reclamation was “legally undefendable”. Officers did not say that. They said that it would not be consistent with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement which allows for reclamation in port areas, subject to certain criteria.
Second, he claims that officers had legal advice contrary to a claim that “non-complying activity” status for harbour reclamation was “legally undefendable”. His comments appear to relate to a statement by Mai Chen on 3 September 2013, acting for the Ports of Auckland Ltd. She claimed that “non-complying activity” status for reclamation was illegal under the Resource Management Act. Council’s independent legal adviser Cowper Campbell disagreed with her view. They said that reclamation could be a “non-complying activity” within the port precinct, but did not say that it should be “non-complying”.
Cr Lee has misconstrued the issues by wrongly attributing a statement made by Mai Chen in September 2013 to officers.
Dr Roger Blakely chief planning officer