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Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Orange Zone announcements - February

The New Zealand Herald has an article (here) based on a Radio New Zealand interview with Roger Sutton (8.00 news this morning). In that interview Sutton states that Orange Zone decisions will be announced in February. Considering previous comments mentioned "early in the new year" that is stretching the timetable somewhat.

Why decision making is taking so long is impossible to understand from the limited amount of information available. In the Avonside area the understanding has been that decision making is taking a great deal of time because of the need to obtain more technical information. Yet, looking at the Tonkin & Taylor Avonside factual reports put out by EQC just before Christmas (details here), little additional work has been carried out since June.

Appendix A of the Avonside report contains a map showing where the additional testing took place. Only five additional tests were carried out in what remains of the Orange Zone, the majority were outside it. Most noticeable is that these five tests were on the perimeter of the Orange Zone, none were carried out in the worst hit parts of Retreat Road or in Cowlishaw Street. As people in Retreat Road have been told delays to rezoning were because further tests were required, there appears to have been a huge gap between what was said and what was happening.

With the Parklands rezoning looking like a significant mistake, and the apparent lack of additional land testing in Avonside, any decision is going to be under a cloud of suspicion unless accompanied by all the information that supported the decision. Releasing the Cabinet Papers on the day of the announcement would go part way towards correcting this. Cabinet Papers for the rezonings announced on the 17th of November have yet to be released which implies a reluctance to have these difficult decisions examined.

What is most important right now is leadership that will explain in full detail the point decision making has reached, what else needs to be done, when it will be done, the problems that remain, and above all an indicative date for the rezoning announcement.

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