NIMBY In Chief

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
8 July, 2022

As an exemplar of the purest form of Kiwi anti-growth, anti-development orientation, it is hard to beat.

If New Zealand doesn’t beat this particular habit, it is very hard to be optimistic about anything other than emigration.

It is especially hard to be optimistic when the main author of the government’s guide to resource management reform, former Court of Appeals judge Tony Randerson, is also leading efforts to block a hospital expansion in Epsom.

This week, notice of a meeting of the Eden Epsom Residential Protection Society made its way to Twitter.

The Society wanted to raise $20k to $25k to pay its barrister, Michael Savage, to continue efforts to prevent a hospital expansion and new ICU facilities in their neighbourhood.

During a pandemic. When hospitals are overwhelmed.

Come gaze into the void with me.

Southern Cross wanted to re-zone a bit of its own land to allow a hospital expansion. Some of the land falls under a Special Character Area Residential designation.

Auckland Council notified the plan change on 21 March 2019. Submissions closed 18 April, further submissions closed 13 June, and they held hearings.

The 85-page decision, notified 28 May 2020, ultimately allowed the proposed plan change, with some modifications.

The Society appealed the decision. The High Court is scheduled to hear the case mid-September.

The Council’s website on this single proposed private plan change includes the Society’s Notice of Appeal; interventions from Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority and Kainga Ora; a decision and a new public notice; summaries of decisions requested; one hundred and seventy six submissions; a document with further submissions; and Southern Cross’s original change request along with attachments A through L and further information on matters from a special character assessment to volcanic viewshaft controls.

Border and immigration policies stopping skilled medical staff from coming to New Zealand are bad enough. Three years of resource consenting process for a hospital expansion, mostly during a pandemic, is nonsense.

Something must change.

In a better world, resource management reform would allow the High Court to confront the members and officers of the Eden Epsom Residential Protection Society, personally, with the costs they impose on the community from delayed and forgone development.

But despair with me.

Tony Randerson, QC, is both the government’s preferred expert on Resource Management reform and President of the Eden Epsom Residential Protection Society.

Nothing will change.

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