John Hansen

Finally – somewhere – a Council planner’s head might be chopped off. About time!

For too many years developers, builders, property empires, land owners and home owners have ?suffered at the hands of local government dunces. It would appear that they operate with a degree of impunity and with complete disregard for professional expertise let alone the law.

Now that at least one goon is going we might only hope that the same will happen in Auckland. What New Zealand doesn’t need – is more of these useless control freaks doing whatever they want.

For some, it is black and white. Christchurch City Council’s planning department has been doing a useless job for years. And it is about to get what’s coming.

It failed early on after the earthquakes because Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee had to take over the council’s draft central city plan and create his own recovery blueprint.

It failed again in taking too long to get going with a general rethink of the city’s planning map. Brownlee?had to set in motion the fast-track Land Use Recovery Plan (Lurp), followed by an equally accelerated District Plan review, to impose certainty on a quivering landscape.

Now it has failed even this test, judging by the rough words of the Government-appointed independent hearings panel charged with pushing through the District Plan before the Earthquake Minister’s statutory powers disappear next year.

Every resource management lawyer in town is talking about what the panel chair, former Christchurch High Court judge Sir John Hansen, said about the council’s chief planning officer Mike Theelen, when ripping into the suggested draft version.

After blasting the council’s work on a new manual of planning regulations for the usual reasons ? vague, wordy, ineffective ? Hansen went much further in singling out Theelen personally, saying he seemed surprisingly ill-informed about the draft’s contents given he was meant to be in charge.? Read more »

Press Council extends membership to bloggers

The Press Council has announced that they will extend their coverage to bloggers.

Oh dear someone is going to have to amend their submission to the High Court.

The only problem I have is the two EPMU representatives on the Press Council. I believe that in extending these provisions they need to have two bloggers on the council too. Perhaps is now time to formalise the Bloggers Union so that representatives can be appointed to the Press Council.

The Press Council is to offer membership to new digital media and gain additional powers to deal with complaints against traditional print media.

The moves follow a review of the Press Council by its main funder, the Newspaper Publishers’ Association, which considered recommendations by the Press Council and a report last year by the Law Commission.

The Press Council was established in 1972 to adjudicate on complaints against member newspapers. Newspaper publishers decided to include magazines in 1998 and the council’s mandate was further expanded in 2002 to include members’ websites.

Current chair is former High Court judge Sir John Hansen and the council has a majority of non-media industry members.

Newspaper Publishers’ Association editorial director Rick Neville, who chairs the Press Council’s executive committee, said most publishers felt the time had come to strengthen the Press Council’s authority, and to extend its coverage to handle complaints against digital media, including bloggers.? Read more »