RMA changes

Catherine Harris at Stuff reports:

Campbell Barbour has lost count of the millions of dollars he has lost in interest payments, legal costs and lost opportunities as he tried to get consent for his company’s “Westgate” town centre in northwest Auckland.

The general manager of New Zealand Retail Property Group is also at the centre of a high-rise apartment project in Milford, on Auckland’s North Shore, to which locals have objected.

While the fate of the Milford apartments rests with Auckland’s debate about intensified housing, Westgate has gained all its approvals and work has begun. But it took seven years, and Barbour is bewildered by that.

It was not a project anyone objected to and, like a lot of developers, he was forced to refinance when the global financial crisis hit. A speedier consent process would have made a “huge” difference.

Seven years to get consented – and with no objections! The case for change is made.

An angler wrote on the Stuff news website that the move was a “power grab coupled with a water grab”, but a self-described greenie with an entrepreneurial streak said it had taken 18 months of jumping through local-body hoops for a consent to build an eco-residential project.

“I’d say National have hit the nail on the head on this one.”

Views on this issue will vary depending on if someone has actually ever tried to get a consent.

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