Author:Jacob Otter, Esther Rootham, Carina Meares
Source:Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
From the executive summary:
Participation in the resource consent process is a key way mana whenua seek to exercise, protect and enhance their cultural values and interests. In Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland Council provides for mana whenua input to the resource consent process through cultural values assessments (CVAs). CVAs are the formal record of mana whenua engagement in a resource consent application. They state the cultural values of a site, and how the proposed activities will impact upon these values. A CVA should also provide recommendations for how these impacts can be avoided or mitigated. The Auckland Council resource consent planner should consider the CVA in their evaluation of the application. The effectiveness of the CVA process for enabling the protection and enhancement of mana whenua cultural values is not well understood however. This research project assesses the effectiveness of the CVA process for protecting and enhancing mana whenua cultural values and interests.
While the research has focused on challenges and opportunities with the CVA system, it was notable that all the kaitiaki representatives and Auckland Council officers we spoke with brought a positive attitude to this part of their work, and were keen to see it operate more effectively. Similarly the Regulatory Services Directorate is to be commended for prioritising this project, and seeing the opportunities it can provide to enhance CVA engagement, even as they are navigating Auckland’s highly political and demanding housing and development context. Their systematic and collaborative approach to building on the report’s recommendations suggest significant enhancements will emerge to CVA engagement.
Background and methods
The project emerged in 2017 from the Cultural Values Implementation Working Group (CVIWG), a forum of mana whenua kaitiaki and Auckland Council staff working in resource consenting. With the development and notification of the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP), the CVIWG recognised that the CVA process was potentially ineffective at protecting and enhancing mana whenua cultural values and interests. They commissioned the Research and Evaluation Unit (RIMU) to undertake a research project into the effectiveness of the CVA process for influencing resource management and consenting in Tāmaki Makaurau. A central feature of this research project is the way in which it was informed by relationships with mana whenua and Auckland Council. The CVIWG provided a Steering Committee, comprised of four kaitiaki and three Auckland Council staff, including the General Managers of Plans and Places and Regulatory Services. This project was also supported by a Project Team comprised of Auckland Council staff with technical understandings of the CVA process, and an external expert, Professor Michelle Thompson-Fawcett (University of Otago).
The methods for acquiring the research data included quantitative and qualitative techniques. Quantitative data was generated through a Contact Log that recorded all mana whenua engagement on resource consent activities over a three month period. Four mana whenua participated in the Contact Log research. Qualitative data was collected through interviews with: resource consent planners; kaitiaki; consultant planners from private agencies; relevant entities within the Auckland Council group and government agencies; and resource consent applicants. ...
Based on the findings from the research, recommendations were developed with input from mana whenua and Auckland Council. These recommendations are grouped into four sections:
- Capacity-building and training for all participants in the CVA system so they can contribute effectively.
- Improvements to the resource consent system and processes, particularly around pre-lodgement engagement.
- Enhance best practice by improving public communications, ensuring local and central agencies are operating to a high standard.
- Oversight and monitoring of the CVA system and its impacts.
Auckland Council technical report, TR2019/008