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City councillor accuses staff of ‘tampering’

Lucinda Henry
Christchurch Councillor David East
City councillor David East. Facebook

Christchurch city councillor David East accuses council staff of "tampering" with district plans for Christchurch's eastern suburbs.

East, who is the councillor for the Coastal-Burwood ward, alleged council staff had wrongly removed a clause from a district plan that would have made it easier for Christchurch residents in the eastern suburbs to rebuild and repair their earthquake-damaged homes.

He said the independent hearing panel wanted it removed to discourage re-build in the area.

"There are some people in the council organisation that did not want any further building in Southshore. So if you put all these obstacles up eventually people will get sick of living in the area and they can clear the whole lot out," he said.

He has now called for an inquiry into how this could have happened. He has written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister, Nanaia Mahuta for support. 

"The concern is that this is happened and it shouldn't have havepened and there needs to be an inquiry into how did it happen and who authorised it," he said.

The city council's acting chief executive, Brendan Anstiss, said it was "inappropriate" for councillor East to make these allegations without basis.

Anstiss said it was the council staff's role to carry out the Independent Hearing Panel’s decisions. The Independent Hearing Panel was appointed in 2014. The panel's role is to hear submissions and make decisions on the Christchurch Replacement District Plan. It has powers to reject or amend the proposed council re-build plans.

Anstiss was confident staff acted professionally in "applying these decisions correctly".

"It is disappointing that councillor East did not formally raise his concerns with council first."

He said East had previous opportunities to follow correct protocol and it was "inappropriate" for an elected member of council to make these kind of allegations without providing any supporting evidence.