The level of dissatisfaction being expressed by ratepayers about Auckland Council’s planning processes has prompted Rodney Councillor Greg Sayers to suggest that they need a flame-thrower taken to them.
Cr Sayers says he regularly receives criticism about Council’s planning department, particularly regarding resource consenting.
Primary concerns are about the time it takes to get a resource consent and the cost in Council fees. They come from across the board, whether people are adding a veranda, building a simple shed or planning multi-million dollar developments.
Cr Sayers says an independent commissioner could be appointed to fix the internal processes.
But adds that such an extreme intervention would have to be initiated by the Government.
“Our processes could be benchmarked against other councils, otherwise, staff will continue to leave and customer dissatisfaction will continue to prevail.”
He says this isn’t just a Rodney problem, but is happening across the whole of Auckland.
“Many people say that Auckland’s processes are too pedantic compared to other councils.
“I would like to see the planners empowered to work in a more streamlined system, along with more direct accountability to the customer.
“Compounding the problem is experienced staff are leaving for lucrative government salaries with Kainga Ora (Housing New Zealand), but the internal council processes have not adapted to cope. Inexperienced staff are left under enormous pressure.
“At the same time, resource applications are skyrocketing due to housing demand. Also Government legislative changes, which require a response from Council staff, are draining the diminished staff resources.”