GUEST BLOG: Auckland Council attack Mike Lee’s defence of Auckland Harbour


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.


TDB Recommends

Dr Roger Blakely chief planning officer


  1. The council should work for the ratepayers. It is clear that Auckland council is working against the interests and amenity of it’s ratepayers.

    The planning is the centre of the rot of Auckland. Poor planning decisions, council planners out of touch with ratepayers opinions, wasting ratepayer money on consents which should not be being approved. Taking zero accountability.

    Just look at the ugly buildings of Auckland CBD that were consented and the billion dollar leaky building scandal all with council planning at the centre of the problem.

    The corruption is not new, we have the fox guarding the hen house.

    Nicky Hagar and the SFO should be looking at the ‘relationships’ that have led to decisions such as the ports of auckland being able to steal the harbour without compensation or consultation. That is a sign of very serious problems within the organisation structure.

    Property mogul Michael Friedlander and newly appointed QC Marie Dyhrberg are seeking changes to the council’s Unitary Plan to allow them to remove eight villas for more intensive development.

    Lawyers plotted heritage coup

    Three Remuera lawyers almost convinced the Auckland City Council to sign a deal allowing thousands of heritage homes to be demolished in the city.

    Derek Nolan, an environmental lawyer and partner in Russell McVeagh; Brian Latimour, a litigation lawyer and partner in Bell Gully, and his wife Shanla; and barrister Tim Burcher are the three parties who almost pulled off a secret deal on Tuesday to allow the demolition of up to 7600 heritage homes.

    The deal, masterminded by council planning boss John Duthie and his number two, Penny Pirrit, fell over on Tuesday when Mayor John Banks intervened to stop it.

    These are just a couple that got publicised….

  2. Gosh love the way the council are monitoring the media messages, that was quick for council planners to request to quash our elected councillor Mike Lee’s statements from yesterday …..

    Nothing like a rousing protest march with prominent sports people to get the council lawyers and PR out on the ratepayers purse. Hope someone does an LOGIMA on all the costs protecting the ‘council decision’ on this.

    The other issue is the arrogance of these, I hesitate to say public servants, refusing to back down.

    Why would you when billion of dollars are at stake in the increase of “valuable’ (thats sarcasm) trade of cars and bananas on our wharf to the ports of Auckland? There really is no where else to expand the ports in our country except our waterfront!!

    Look at Northland, maybe someone needs to send the Ports of Auckland and Auckland Council Management ‘a message’. They don’t seem to have picked up on the protest march, but why would you when stamping on unions is a fun slap in your excessively paid working day?

  3. Hey Dr Blakely, you should work for Shonky Key with your grasp of semantics. I note that you still fail to explain how this travesty was allowed to get to this point! Something is rotten in your part of Council and needs urgent fixing! Man up and fix it.

  4. Also is that a council and ports supplied picture of before and after?

    If so can anyone explain how the after picture looks remarkably similar to the before picture from that angle.

    Maybe it can fool the council officers but I think the water loving public of New Zealand can smell a rat.

  5. This is as bad as us in Gisborne where the rail closure has caused a truck gridlock problem along our beautiful coastline now being destroyed by trucks invading the shoreline road that winds its way along the narrow road along side the beach so you feel as you are in a blender.

    This all for a Port (Eastland Port) a privatised trust) who is claiming all the shoreline and aggressively using infill to expand the log holding yards and we are loosing the beautiful shoreline vista all for raw log exports.

    Don’t these Ports know how to destroy our natural habitat, and we just let their greedy habits dictate the crap we will inherit the future they destroy the criminals.

Comments are closed.