Power to the people: Taniwha Tax knocked on its arse

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union and its sister group, the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, are celebrating a comprehensive victory in their “Taniwha Tax” campaign, with the Independent Hearings Panel recommending that Cultural Impact Assessment requirements, and the scheduled “sites of value” be deleted from the Unitary Plan.

In April last year, the groups joined Democracy Action and the Auckland Property Investors Association in launching a briefing paper on the draft plan’s Mana Whenua Cultural Impact Assessment provisions.

“The Taniwha Tax is dead!” says Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams. “Not only has the Independent Panel removed the ridiculous provisions covering ‘metaphysical’ issues – in other words the make-believe – it has completely rejected the Council’s recommendations for even more onerous requirements than those which were in the draft Unitary Plan.”

“It’s a win for democracy, for protecting Auckland’s genuine cultural heritage, and for science-based planning.”

Jo Holmes, Spokesperson for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, says: “This is the most significant win to date for our 16,500 members across Auckland. Our campaign exposed that many of the 3,600 sites deemed of cultural value didn’t even exist and the Council didn’t bother to check.”

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is a formidable lobby group, with a membership in excess of that of the Labour party.

Let’s hope they can exert similar influence over the next mayor.  A unitary plan without Maori pandering is actually stunningly unexpected, but nobody in their right mind expect that to survive once every major decision is challenged in court.



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