Home' The Mirror Queenstown Lakes : August 29th 2012 Contents 4
lakes district news
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needed a new
plan which had
to be totally
years after being
finalised. Up and
down New Zealand, including here, major public
debate about plans is under way.
A lot can, and has, changed in 20 years.
The Ministry For The Environment started
measuring the projects that require consent in
1996-97. That year 57,641 resource consents were
processed nationwide. Despite the development
boom that had fallen to 51,960 consents in 2007-08
and to 36,154 in the 2010-11 year.
Of these consents, only half a per cent are declined
and 5 per cent publicly notified. All this suggests
that far too many applications are caught by bad
provisions in a plan that cost the applicant much
more than the community gets by way of a better
The act will always be incredibly difficult to
change due to very diverse views nationally.
Planners are educated in universities to be very
precautionary in interpreting provisions in a plan
and the court system demands considerable time,
money and courage.
None of this will change any time soon.
The simplest and best way to make significant
improvements is to use this plan review to
continue, and speed up, the trend to avoid good
applications being caught by district plans in the
first place. The next generation of district plans in
the Lakes District and Central Otago needs to be
much cleverer about what needs to be controlled
and what sorts of applications aren’t anybody’s
business but the landowner.
The council needs to follow a process which
encourages this specific debate.
This might even allow some of the thinly veiled
trade competition arguments that stand in the
way of cheaper groceries to be finally eliminated.
What’s the catch? Well, only that if you want
greater freedom for your project then your
neighbour can expect the same for hers.
◗ Duncan Field owns Limousine Services
Queenstown, is a past Queenstown Lakes District
Council chief executive and an occasional
Booze rules balancing act
New rules: Some of the tightest proposed
new rules, such as a ban on high-alcohol RTDs,
will be side-stepped for now
t looks likely Parliament will adopt
the Liquor Reform Bill sooner rather
than later and while it seems some of
the tightest proposed new rules, such
as a ban on high-alcohol RTDs and a rise
in the drinking age, will be side-stepped
for now, the intention to shift
responsibility for local liquor rules to
local authorities is set to become a
Nowhere will these be felt more keenly
than in the Queenstown Lakes District,
as former Liquor Licensing Authority
Judge Bill Unwin made clear at a
Hospitality NZ breakfast in June this
Liquor licence holders will be required to
go through an RMA-type hearing to
renew their licence and their destiny will
be held by a panel of three people: A
chairman, who will be a councillor, and
two others who have no current
involvement in the liquor industry and
are chosen by the local body. At last
census there was one bar in Queenstown
for every 68 people so this will be a small
group with lots of power and given there
will only be three members, probably
representing different ideas, it could
struggle to come to agreement.
Furthermore, for every rule the council
wishes to make it needs to be able to
provide proof, not anecdotal evidence,
that the consumption of alcohol at any
particular time has been or is likely to be
harmful. And that’s not necessarily
easily proved, even with a super-
statistics brain in the local police force
like Sean Drader.
It will be one year after the passing of the
Act that the new regulatory changes
come into play. In this district, police,
health services and the council are
already preparing for the anticipated
workload and getting to grips with
understanding the rules.
The challenge is going to be establishing
new rules quickly and finding a balance
between ensuring a good quality of life
for the wider community without
crippling the industry. Because like it or
not, Queenstown is a place where visitors
and residents come to relax and enjoy
themselves and, for many people, having
a few drinks is a part of that.
◗ Read more, page 6.
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