Maori Statutory Board given arse card by High Court

Good news, the Maori Statutory Board has been told to sling their hook by the High Court.

A bid to protect Auckland’s Maori cultural sites has been thrown out in the High Court due to a lack of evidence as to their importance.

The Independent Maori Statutory Board appealed a decision by Auckland Council to remove provisions relating to sites of value for mana whenua from the Unitary Plan.

However, in a ruling released to the public on Tuesday, Justice Edwin Wylie rejected the appeal, saying there wasn’t enough evidence of the sites’ significance.

Complete mumbo-jumbo in other words.

The board, comprising seven mana whenua group representatives and two mataawaka representatives, sought to incorporate sites of value to mana whenua in an overlay in the unitary plan.

In September 2012, a working draft of the proposed unitary plan was released to iwi authorities, which proposed two levels of protection for sites and places of Maori cultural heritage.

Included in the draft was a schedule detailing 61 sites and places of significance to Maori, and a cultural heritage layer which would cover about 2231 public and private sites.

That was whittled down from about 9000 different sites through consultation with public and mana whenua groups in September 2013.

The Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) recommended Auckland Council delete a number of provisions affecting Maori from the proposed unitary plan, including the schedule of sites of value to mana whenua which was to be included in the district and regional plan section, until evidence of their significance had been established.

Justice Wylie found that of the 2213 sites proposed, only 140 had specific submissions and evidence provided from mana whenua, and only 16 were supported by detailed evidence at the hearing.

He said, having heard evidence from a large number of parties both for and against the overlay of sites, the panel was entitled to delete the overlay of sites from the proposed plan.

Without evidence of mana whenua values to support all sites, the provisions lacked sufficient evidence overall, Justice Wylie ruled.

Knock me down with a feather, Justice Wylie got one right for once.

 

-Fairfax

 


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