The latest report or paper from the Taxpayers’ Union is on Auckland’s Taniwha Tax. And before people cry our racism, I’d remind people the first and most prominent critic of it was Shane Jones. Some key points:
- The provisions may affect the value of perhaps 18,000 properties, costing them up to $4.000 each
- The Archaeological Association says what Auckland Council is doing is not even necessary to protect heritage because it is already covered under specific legislation
- The Auckland Council has declared 3,600 sites as being of value to Mana Whenua without even establishing whether all the sites are genuine, still exist, or are ‘of value’ to iwi.
- The Mana Whenua provisions make cultural impact assessments (CIAs) compulsory for certain resource consents
- Where there is doubt, the Council will rely on the Mana Whenua groups to determine whether a CIA is required. That alone creates a vested interest, with CIAs likely to create a significant income stream to iwi, who are also able to determine to what extent they are required.
- The extents of the Sites and Places of Value to Mana Whenua have been defined by drawing an arbitrary 200m diameter circle around the centre point of all sites, and then requiring an additional 50m buffer around those circles, with which the rules are applies (i.e. a diameter of 300m, affecting an area of 7ha)
- The number of mana whenua sites of value could grow from 3,600 to 183,000
- A Cultural Assessment Impact report for a submarine cable in Waitemata Harbour took over four months and delayed the cable project significantly
- Sir Bob Jones has written of a building owner that had to consult 13 different Iwi to get permission to put a shop window in his building
The provisions should be scrapped. There are existing laws to protect sites of heritage, without this regime.