Far North District Council review team announced

  • Nick Smith

The investigation into Far North District Council's performance in processing applications for resource consents will start on Monday 23 November, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

Dr Smith said independent consultants Mark St Clair and Brent Cowie will carry out the review by 4 December and report back to him in January.

"I announced this investigation as a result of the Far North District Council's poor performance in processing just 37% of resource consents within the statutory timeframes - a decline from 51% in the previous survey in 2005/06," he said.

"I acknowledge the council has taken some steps over the last year to improve its performance in this area. However, I believe an external review is necessary to identify the issues and to assist the council to fix their consent processing problems.

"The primary focus of the review is to examine guidance around applications, monitoring systems, customer feedback, staffing resources and processing systems. It is limited in scope to resource management functions, unlike the wider investigation into Environment Canterbury.

"The prosperity of the Far North district is highly dependent on the efficient management of its natural resources. This review is about improving the council's RMA function to deliver decisions on time for the people and businesses in the Far North.

"These appointments and the review timetable have been discussed with Far North District Council. Any final recommendations on ways to improve council performance will be reported to the council following the report back to me," Dr Smith said.