Busted telling porkies!

We said it days ago that the advice provided by Auckland Council Regional Planner was a bold faced lie and now Bernard Orsman proves it.

The Auckland Council appears to have done a legal flip-flop on the controversial issue of further reclamation of the Waitemata Harbour by Ports of Auckland to park cars.

Council documents, obtained by the Weekend Herald, show the council received two legal opinions in 2013 saying it was on firm ground with tough new rules for reclamation.

On Thursday, councillors narrowly voted 9-8 to weaken this position after the council’s regional planning manager, Penny Pirrit, advised them the tougher rules were not legally defensible.

Yesterday, council chief executive Stephen Town refused to answer questions about the legal position. A council officer said they would be answered under official information law, which could take up to 20 working days.

Council emails show high-profile lawyer Mai Chen was hired by Ports of Auckland shortly after the council passed a resolution in August 2013 to make reclamation a “non-complying” status in the draft Unitary Plan.

Ms Chen said the resolution was an illegal breach of the Resource Management Act. It also breached the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement, she said. ?

The council’s senior counsel at the time, Wendy Brandon, said that in her view Ms Chen’s analysis was “wrong on the law”.

“The resolution is entirely within the council’s power to make … (it) will track through the submission process, it will be the subject of a recommendation by the hearings panel, and, ultimately, determined by the council’s governing body,” Ms Brandon said.

On September 4, 2013, Ms Brandon said she had discussed the matter with lawyer Ian Cowper, a specialist in regional and coastal policies, “who agrees with my advice” and would provide a formal written opinion the same day.

This is just one of hundreds of examples of how Auckland Council planners are corruptly providing misinformation to councillors and? the public.

In my view Penny Pirrit should at least stand down, but more appropriately be fired. She has lied to Councillors and the public.

Bring on the tumbrils.

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