Good afternoon. These posts have been brought to the attention of Waipa District Council. While we support debate and diversity of opinion, we are concerned about posts relating to staff professionalism and integrity. We have had extensive discussions with Mr. Evans on this matter, and we are working directly and amicably with the current consent applicant.
We wish to advise that some of the information in posts in this thread are misleading and we are concerned about the integrity and professionalism of staff being called into question, which raises potential grounds for defamation. We ask that posts remain focussed on the issue, not the people.
1. The current rule in the District Plan is on Waipa DCs list of rules for possible review. There is a strict legal process that we must follow for any plan changes, which is open to legal challenge. We also advise that the Environment Court has clearly established that petitions and lobbying carries little or no statutory weight in influencing such decisions, which must be based on evidence and merits. The beehive rule is currently one of a number of possible changes to the District Plan. We welcome reasoned, rational and evidence-based information from experts in the industry to better inform our planning process. In the meantime, we are obligated to work within the current rule.
2. Enforcement and monitoring is based on priority of issue and their effects, and complaints. As such residential beehives are a low priority for our monitoring and enforcement, in respect of impact and effects. We don't keep and are not required to keep records of permitted beehives, and don't have the resources to pro-actively hunt out residential beehives that may not be permitted, so we don't keep records of un-consented beehives. If we do receive complaints, we are obligated under our statutory functions to investigate and follow up.
3. We are obligated to follow the resource consent process, and our fees and charges policy applies for all applicants. In this case, on the merits of the current application, we have initiated a fixed fee approach. This fees remission was initiated by Council staff (not at the request of any party), in response to the current resource consent application. We prefer to view this as an example of positive and proactive response around customer service, rather than a back-down, as we have applied our remission policy, rather than impose the full actual fees, which we are entitled to charge. For further information, see Council's website, search for "fees and charges".