Archive | Land use

New plan change 62 target is 30 June

Council negotiator optimistic about getting workable financial contributions regime in place

Rodney District Council has a new timetable for its proposed new financial contributions regime, plan change 62.

Grant Kirby tried to push through a solution in his last days as Rodney commissioner in April, offering developers a threat they knew he couldn’t match with action.

But the council’s environmental services group manager, Geoff Mears, told the council today a new programme had been put together with the aim of finalising a consent order between council and developers by 30 June.

Six years after former council general manager Brian Sharplin set out to create a payments framework for developers to make appropriate contributions to meet the costs of their projects on infrastructure, the new set of Rodney councillors nearly derailed the process again today.

Cllr Bill Smith wanted some amendments to the resolution that would have seen the council’s chief executive signing the consent order without its first going before councillors. He wanted a workshop for councillors to understand the plan change before the order was signed, a suggestion which had chief executive Wayne Donnelly recoiling.

If the game plan changed at the end, he said, “I think the developers will have less confidence in the process than they do now.”

The timetable, with a 30 June consent order target agreed to by councillors, starts with a 6 June target date to finalise the capital works schedules and proportions of their costs on which financial contributions will be based, and to finalise the methodology and a procedural manual for apportioning capital works costs to developer financial contributions.

The wording to appear in the plan change is to be agreed a week later. The role and composition of an audit group, to scrutinise the application of the agreed methodology to the capital works schedules, are to be decided by 20 June.

Mr Mears said the programme was about a week behind, but he believed the final target date could be met. The proposal of a methodology is keenly awaited by council around the country, which have been relying on Rodney to put together its scheme rather than setting out to do the same thing themselves.

Previous stories: Kirby puts 6 April deadline on plan change 62 talks

New council wants to continue plan change 62 mediation

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Building consents come off boom comparisons

1335 consents in January

The level of building activity looked less unhealthy than the monthly comparisons last year compared to those of the 1999 boom.

January’s normally the quietest month of the year because of the holiday period, but last year even lower figures were recorded in April and December. The latest tally is still very low in an historical comparison, but at least is a step up from December.

Statistics NZ’s building consent figures for January, issued yesterday, showed 1335 new dwelling consents for the month, down 12.6% on January 2000 (which was on the tail of a 10-month boom in consent numbers) and 13.9% down on January 1999 (which just preceded that boom).

On an annual basis, the 19,825 consents to January 2001 were 24.8% below the number to January 2000 but only 4.1% below the level of the previous year.

The average new home in January measured 184m² and was valued at $155,955, for an average cost of $835/m².

The number of apartment consents was well down at 70, with an average value of $120,000. That’s half the number of consents issued in December and only the second time in the past two years that fewer than 100 consents have been issued in a month.

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Banks to councillors: We mean business

Council committee structure chopped but membership not yet decided

Pontificating is out, getting on with business is in. That was the clear message new Auckland mayor gave his councillors this morning in the first full council meeting, which ran about eight minutes over his desired one-hour limit.

He stopped Cllr Victoria Carter in mid-flight during the “debate” over who should be deputy mayor and got the council’s chief executive, Bryan Taylor, to read out standing orders on speaking limits, which he clearly wants to apply through the whole of council business.

To effect his determined stand on raising meeting efficiency, Mr Banks’ next debate cause is bound to be the curbing of repetition — grandstanding for an audience which is usually not present.

“We’re going to strictly adhere to standing orders because we want to move business on in council, and we mean business,” Mr Banks (left) said.

“There are going to be policy changes. There will be robust debate in this chamber, there will not be personal debate in this chamber. There will be constructive, solid debate, in the interests of Auckland.”

The previous council had 17 committees, 17 sub-committees and 14 working parties. The proposed new structure will have eight committees, two enterprise boards and four sub-committees.

Councillors have until 4pm next Monday to comment on the structure, and to indicate their membership & chairmanship preferences. A final proposed structure will be put to the 1 November council meeting.

A feature Mr Banks would like to see introduced is committees of up to only five members. In the previous council the planning & regulatory committee had nine members, plus the mayor & deputy mayor, and other councillors often attended.

One of the nine new councillors, William Cairns (of mortgage banking form Cairns Lockie Ltd), who wants to focus on finance & property aspects of council business, said he would prefer to spend a few hours on Saturday morning going through agendas than spend many hours on several committees and in the end being ineffectual.

In the vote for deputy mayor, David Hay beat Bruce Hucker to resume the position. Cllr Hucker replaced Cllr Hay in 1998 when City Vision removed the Citizens & Ratepayers camp from its longtime ascendancy. CitRats, including some oldtimers & several newcomers who showed every sign they would be quick to make a mark, have nine positions on the 19-member council, with the mayor also leaning that way.

The proposed standing committees are recreation, city development, governance & advocacy, environment services, community services, transport, finance & corporate business, and law & order. Mr Banks indicated some tweaking was still to come, and some committee names would change to produce new images of policy direction.

The two enterprise boards are to govern the art gallery & zoo.

The four sub-committees are audit & assessors (under finance & corporate business), planning fixtures (city development), creative community funding (recreation), and Hillary Commission funding (also recreation).

Planning issues will be in the city development committee’s domain. The fixtures sub-committee’s role remains as it was, but membership isn’t yet decided.

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Property forum gives Manukau a glow

Positive outlook (with some hiccups) for south of the region

Manukau City’s growth rate is running at 5% while the nation is on 3%, so it’s not hard to see why the patch of Auckland that contains New Zealand’s main international airport should be the centre of continued investment.

In an egalitarian country, controllers and planners would like to see investment dispersed evenly so we all get a share of the good times. But investment is magnetic, seeking out better-than-average returns.

So although Manukau has a very high unemployment rate, the city spreading across the south of the Auckland region has to be a natural first investment stop.

That’s the message the city’s mayor, Sir Barry Curtis, promotes every second of the day. And although Manukau’s third annual property forum began with vintage Sir Barry, others took the microphone yesterday to put a wide range of numbers into the debate.

Chris Bayley, who with David Poole runs the Bayleys Real Estate franchise in East Tamaki, presented a mostly positive picture showing commercial and industrial vacancy down markedly from a year ago (commercial from 7% to 5.7%, with Howick down from 15% to 7.7% and Manurewa from 9% to 3.3%, industrial from 7.1% to 3.9%, with East Tamaki down from 8.6% to 5.1%).

But he said growth had also slowed, from 2.6% to 0.3%. Industrial floorspace had increased by 93,400m² but there was actually negative movement in the commercial market because tenants were taking up space in existing buildings, not expanding into new ones.

Mr Bayley believed the completion of the East Tamaki arterial route and Te Irirangi Drive would strengthen the Manukau City Centre and benefit the Wiri industrial area, because of improved access, while Botany had already become the new focal point, with plans lodged for development at a number of high-profile locations.

If much of the talk at a forum like this revolves around developing and leasing traditional styles of space, an explanation of how a new style of business park fits in has to help in changing people’s perspectives.

Richard Stilwell, a director of McConnell International Property, has gone through the huge preparatory stage for the 193ha Highbrook business park covering the former Ra Ora Stud land on the Waiouru Peninsula, on the Auckland City side of the East Tamaki industrial zone.

Business and office parks in Auckland have tended to be small versions of these concepts, mostly not containing features that would be expected elsewhere. The concept evolved from industrial estates, with the second stage seen as rather sterile environments. In the current version, 100ha was seen as the minimum size, landscaping could be a bigger element than the commercial component and the master plan generally reflected that of a small town.

Provision of community facilities would make such parks challenge the cbd as a place to be. Mr Stilwell said Highbrook would have a town centre, but with services for industrial park occupants rather than the traditional commercial and retail outlets of major towns.

Public park will cover 60ha, commercial land 110ha, and there will be commercial neighbourhoods. Mr Stilwell said the keys were development controls and co-ordinated management.

ASB Bank economist Rozanna Wozniak talked more generally about housing issues than about Manukau specifically, although because of Manukau’s growth rate (a population rise of 6000 a year) the effects have to be more pronounced than elsewhere.

“I think it is going to be a tough winter,” she said. The crucial concern is what the Reserve Bank does on interest rates — the bank believes it has got the country back to a sustainable 3% growth rate after rising to 4.7% in the second half of last year, while many other economists felt the brake had been applied too quickly.

Ms Wozniak expects the 90-day bank bill rate to peak around 7.5%, taking floating mortgage rates to 9.5%, followed up by short-term fixed rates. Rates for 3-5-year terms should stay around 9%, floating rates are likely to stay the more expensive and long-term fixed rates are likely to fall first.

She said the Reserve Bank would not be interested in bringing interest rates down until the currency stabilised, but there had already been house price falls and the rate of consent applications had fallen sharply.

As one example of house price movements (Ms Wozniak is due to release the ASB’s regular housing report on Monday), she said prices in Pakuranga fell 4% in the first quarter of this year.

“We would like to see the Reserve Bank take a time out on interest rates. The [housing] market is in a stalemate. We know that supply has increased faster than demand in the last couple of years [but] I don’t think we have a serious supply problem in Auckland and the rate of building growth is slowing.”

Ms Wozniak said the price adjustment was appearing in prices of existing houses, and in the low-middle bracket rather than mid-to-upper, while premiums were still being paid for new homes.

While the housing market may be downbeat, Manukau council staff are upbeat over a number of factors which they see as giving their city a positive edge in achieving growth.

Leigh Auton, environmental management director, said several infrastructure projects would improve access around Manukau. The public transport links were being designed, with a rail track from the main trunk line to Manukau City Centre early on the agenda. The link mode to East Tamaki had not been determined, and the mode form Botany to Pakuranga would be either light rail or a bus lane.

Plans for a link from the Southern Motorway across the Waiouru Peninsula should be lodged in July or August, with notification no later than October. It has a preliminary cost assessment of $59 million, including two interchanges for the peninsula and Princes St, Otahuhu.

A $100 million design-build project for the motorway link between the Southern Motorway at Manukau and Puhinui should go to tender early next year, for work to start in the next construction season and completion in 2004.

Within the council, a customer workshop will be held in June with building companies and land developers. Kevin Wilkie, in charge of building consents, said the council wanted to move from “a post-process policing role” to being part of the development team. At the same time, by encouraging more self-certification, council staff would become auditors of planning proposals rather than bureaucratic regulators.

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On the road to a supercity

ARC to have 2 infrastructure planning & overseeing entities under its wing

It wasn’t touted as a move towards creating a supercity, but the new governance proposal for Auckland transport – and accompanying new governance plan for other infrastructure – amounts to just that.

The Government proposed to Auckland’s politicians today that an Auckland Regional Transport Authority be set up as a subsidiary of the Auckland Regional Council.

The Government wants local bodies to come back with a response by the end of January, enabling it to introduce legislation in April for a start on the new structure on 1 July.

2nd plank of the governance structure is an outfit tentatively called Auckland Regional Holdings, to govern other regional infrastructure such as the assets of Infrastructure Auckland.

The transport authority is to be appointed by a panel made up of 1 representative from each of Auckland’s 7 territorial local bodies, a matching 7 from the regional council plus the ARC chairman. It’s stipulated that the appointed board will not be drawn from local government, with politicians & staffs expressly excluded, but will have a business focus.

ARC chairman Gwen Bull hadn’t seen details of how the 2nd entity would shape up, but assumed selection would be similar.

She also figured that she – and successors in the ARC chair – would command a far bigger enterprise. “I think the ARC next time around will be a very different body,” she said. “It will have 2 [subsidiary] boards. Infrastructure Auckland disappears.

“We will have to buy in expertise that we do not have at present.”

Funding & decisionmaking back together

Most importantly, “the funding & decisionmaking have been put back together. The legislation of 10 years ago [separating policy from operation of businesses such as buses] has really had us operating with 1 hand tied behind our back.”

Importantly, too, the regional growth strategy (put together by the non-statutory body, the Regional Growth Forum, which is administered by the ARC) will become a statutory document. That will give the ARC more power when it deals with a block of land such as the Whenuapai air base, where “the Government did not engage with us at an early stage,” Mrs Bull said.

The proposal for the transport authority is that it plans for Auckland transport, bids for funds (from the ARC, funds of the dismantled Infrastructure & Transfund) and contracts with suppliers. It would fund all roads other than state highways, including co-funding all local roads in conjunction with local bodies.

Local bodies would continue to be responsible for maintaining & developing their local roads and would contribute to developing the region’s annual roading plan, but wouldn’t submit their own applications to Transfund. The new authority would do that for them.

Auckland Regional Holdings’ role

Auckland Regional Holdings would take over Infrastructure Auckland’s roles of managing investments & transport assets “in the long-term interest of the Auckland region” and distributing funds for transport & stormwater projects.

It would hold future transport or other infrastructure the ARC might acquire. It would take over Infrastructure Auckland’s interest in Ports of Auckland Ltd, Northern Disposals Ltd and America’s Cup Village Ltd.

All that is supposed to happen from 1 July.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said at the media briefing: “It is not this Government’s policy to further destroy regional governance. Auckland has suffered from a demolition job that was done on its regional government at the start of the 90s. That’s part of the problem.”

Separate story: Christmas present: new tax

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Shore council seeks regional rates review

2nd prong attacks transport levy basis

North Shore City Council came up with a series of resolutions at its monthly meeting on Wednesday night seeking a review of regional council rates and challenging the way the transport levy has been applied.

Because of mounting community concerns – you have to ask why any of the region’s councils had to wait for a public revolt before acting on rating proposals which have been in the public realm for months – anyway, because of these concerns, the Shore council wants to “obtain specific analysis & audits” from the Auckland regional Council on levels of rate increases “compared to the additional benefits & services to be provided to each of them.”

The Shore council also wants the Auditor-general to urgently review the regional rating policy, to see if rating on capital value & other aspects of the regime are fair & equitable.

In a series of 6 more resolutions, the council called on the regional council to hold a special meeting by 1 August “to reconsider the whole rating situation” and to defer the 1st payment, due on 6 August, until 15 September.

The council wants the regional council to reconsider rates payment options, including the ability to pay instalments by cheque without attracting a penalty.

Shore mayor George Wood is to call a meeting of all Auckland MPS (constituency & list) to discuss the regional rates, support for a review of the system “and of appropriate government support for Auckland’s transport needs.”

The next resolution goes beyond the particular rating issue to the greater debate on infrastructure funding – central versus regional versus local government funding/responsibility.

In this resolution, the council agreed to ask the transport minister to justify heavy rating in a short period for Auckland’s public transport system “due to lack of funding over many years by central government from the petrol tax revenue taken from the Auckland region.”

As debate on an issue such as this wouldn’t be complete without a puerile “me too, not fair” element, the Shore council also decided it should ask the transport minister to provide information on how Wellington got an extensive electric train system from central government funding, and why Auckland should be treated any differently.

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London Borough of Islington

Rail link & canal regeneration

Cllr Juliet Yates, who chairs Auckland City Council’s city development committee, presented the committee with 16 pages of notes at its December meeting from her visit to the international waterfront conference held at Canary Wharf in London.

This is the 4th of 4 parts to her report featured on this website:

This was a very interesting visit and exceptionally well organised, with a Kiwi (Raj Maý-Bula) meeting me at hotel, travelling (tube and bus) to Islington and taking me back to the hotel.

We met with the planner (Mark) who took us through the Kings Cross redevelopment, which is a new Channel Tunnel rail link and the redevelopment framework for the former railway yards at King’s Cross Central. After visiting the model in the information room we walked around the area. Where the tunnel link is completed this will be a new international port and terminal. The Eurostar train shed is a glass building ¼-mile long.

Then the construction site (former rail marshalling yards) will be freed up and the redevelopment stage II completed (50 acres).

The “framework” is a basic structure of major public routes & public spaces, and indicates where buildings, land uses & activities will go. There has been a vast degree of public consultation and I met with the information and enquiries manager who deals with continuous questions/complaints.

There is a strict requirement for public consultation in order to get government signoff for a project. The council has to detail the how & who, and extent of consultation.

I met with the head of regeneration (Steve Mason) and 2 city councillors for lunch. We discussed the planning process and political decision-making. 54 councillors, 3 for a 7000-population ward – committees but main role is as an advocate. I was taken around the planning department and met members of each team (15 Kiwis out of 80 staff).

I spent some time discussing the planning process with Graham Loveland, assistant district planning. This was very informative.

We then visited a canal regeneration project called City Road Basin. This is a basin at right angles to a well used canal. Currently there is a wide public park on 1 side, plus a boat club (small, dilapidated, pontoons with a few dinghies on punts) and some buildings.

It is very pleasant to look at – the proposal is to get a public walkway around the basin but this will lose ½ the park as part of a land swap. 2 tall towers are also proposed. The planner in charge (Richard, originally with MFE Canterbury and then DOC) says he does not know how the public will react to the fact the council is working so closely with the developer and so may lack credibility in the processes.

Land values beside the basin area are already escalating. A new apartment building in the canal has 2-bedroom apartments at approximately £4-500,000 beyond the bridge (borders with the next borough council) the canal has 4- 6 storey apartment buildings lining it. Older buildings, at water’s edge, no parks (towpath is now a cycle path). Looks dark & uninviting.

More of Cllr Yates’ notes: Cllr Yates’ notes on waterfront conference

Berlin and

Regeneration around Kings Cross station

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Consent level stays high in November

Average house cost up 7.8%, average cost/m² up 6.25%

Building consents issued in November maintained the pace of 2002, the 2428 consents for the month 13% above the level of 2001 & 42.8% above the level of 2000.

The tally for the year to November was 26,169, up 22.3% on 2001.

Statistics NZ’s annual figures show the average new house cost rose 7.8% to $161,684 on a 1.4% rise in average house area to 179.07m² & 6.25% rise in average cost/m² to $902.90/m².

The total value of new home consents, $4.2 billion, was nearly $1.2 billion more than the previous year.

Well behind October but strongly above previous 2 Novembers

For the month of November, the 2428 consents were 29% down on the incredible tally of 3412 in October, but 13% above November 2001 & 43% above November 2000.

The average house cost, $162,109, was 16.7% above November 2001 & 20.9% above the level in October 2002. Average floor size was also well down in October, courtesy the large number of apartment consents that month, and rose 21.5% in November to 173.8m².

One thing that didn’t fall in October was the average cost/m², which it $937.91/m². In November it slipped marginally to $932.70/m², 12.5% above the level a year earlier.

Apartment level still high

After the 1526 apartment consents in October some relief might have been expected in November but there were still 572 consents, the 3rd highest monthly tally in 2 years. Average cost was down $440 from October to $77,098.

For the November year, the number of apartment consents rose 82.4% to 5119 at an average cost of $90,389, compared to an average $83,072 the previous year.

Auckland region slips

In the Auckland region, the number of consents issued in November was 951 — 1000 below the number in October & 8.4% below the level a year earlier.

Several other regions recorded strong rises — 20.8% in the Waikato to 221 consents, 100% in Wellington to 300, 44.3% in Canterbury to 342 & 30.9% in Otago to 123.

Surge on Shore, Auckland City dips

Within the Auckland region, North Shore City consents rose by 99 to 187, a 112.5% increase, Auckland City fell 38.5% to 334, Waitakere rose 4.6% to 113 & Manukau fell 8.1% to 182. Rodney District rose 29.7% to 83, Papakura fell 37.5% to 10 & Franklin rose 123% to 58.

Among other movements, Wellington City rose 304% to 230 consents, Christchurch rose 69% to 223, Thames-Coromandel rose 28% to 41 & Queenstown-Lakes rose 73% to 71.

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Working group recommendations on construction industry payments

Minister accepts recommendations as basis for bill, with further work yet on some detail

The Law Commission released a study paper entitled Protecting Construction Contractors which recommended the enactment of legislation along the lines of legislation recently introduced in New South Wales to protect construction contractors from non-payment.

This legislation would make “pay-when-paid” and “pay-if-paid” clauses ineffective and provide a fast-track adjudication process for the resolution of disputes.

The Ministry of Economic Development undertook further policy analysis and consultation and the industry working group was established.

The working group rejected alternative options such as compulsory payment bonding, compulsory insurance, compulsory licensing of participants in the construction industry, a scheme of statutory trusts or charges, and covenanting.

Basic scheme

The working group was unanimous on the basic scheme of the legislation, believing that at a general level it had to apply to every part of the contractual chain. A concern was that a proposed solution might apply from the head contractor down, whereas to be effective it must also apply to property developers and other principals at the top of the chain.

As part of this concern, the working group considered that the act should apply to construction contracts with the Crown and should apply to all construction contracts whether they are written or oral.

The key features of the scheme would be:

A: Every contract must provide an adequate mechanism for determining what payments are due under the contract and provide a final date for payment of any sum that comes due.

B: The act would provide default provisions that would apply where the contract was silent on the matters above. These provisions would provide for such matters as payment intervals, amounts to be paid, mechanisms for determining amounts payable, and the final date for those payments. Unless a contract provided otherwise, a contractor would be entitled to claim for and be paid monthly progress payments based on work performed.

C: Every contract must require a payer to give notice to the payee specifying the amount, if any, of the payment proposed to be made, and reasons for non-payment of any part of the amount due, not later than five days after the date on which a payment becomes due.

D: Every contract must contain an obligation that a party may not withhold payment of any amount unless they have given effective notice (in the form contained in paragraph (c) above).

E: Either party would have the right to refer a dispute arising under the contract to a fast-track adjudication process for resolution. A simple example would be if the payee disagreed with the reasons given by the payer for why an amount had been withheld.

F: The adjudicator’s decision would be binding but not final, unless the parties agreed to that in writing, in which case there would be a right of appeal from the adjudicator’s decision.

G: The Act would give a payee the right to suspend work if an amount is not paid when it falls due and the payer has not provided effective notice explaining non-payment, and where there is any non-payment of an adjudicated amount.

H: Any provision making payment under a contract conditional on the payer receiving payment from a third party should be made legally ineffective (this would effectively prohibit “pay if paid” and “pay when paid” clauses).

Detailed design issues

The working group also agreed on several detailed design issues of how the scheme will work in practice, but some issues were not fully explored.

The main items on which there is agreement are:

A: The period for adjudication should be between 10 and 28 days, with the ability for that period to be extended by 14 days with the consent of the referring party. As with all the timing issues, the working group believed further work would need to be done to ensure the timing under the act was consistent with existing general conditions of contract as contained in NZIA SSCI and N7S 3910:1998.

B: The adjudicator should be provided with a power under the proposed legislation to consolidate adjudication proceedings. It is important that the proposed bill creates a nominating authority that will provide adequately and appropriately qualified and experienced adjudicators to ensure parties are not joined in inappropriate situations, such as where the resolution of a relatively small dispute would be unnecessarily delayed by the joinder of a larger dispute.

C: The adjudicator’s decision should be binding but not necessarily final. There should be a right of appeal from an adjudicator’s decision to arbitration (if the contract so provides), or to the court.

D: The adjudication process should be confidential.

E: Retention payments are a necessary part of the construction industry, and performance and maintenance retention payments should be included within the scope of the bill. The bill should include a clause that, where a contract provides for sums to be withheld as retention payments, the sum withheld should not exceed a reasonable assessment of the costs that would arise, should another party be required to undertake that work. NZS 3910:1998 would help determine what is a reasonable assessment.

F: The question of legal representation should be left to the discretion of the adjudicator, with the inclusion of a clause similar to one in section 64(3) of the Commerce Act that the proceeding “shall provide for as little formality and technicality as the requirements of [the] act and a proper consideration of the [matter] permits”. The adjudicator would then determine when it is appropriate for the parties to have representation, while still ensuring the process does not become unnecessarily complicated.

G: Where an adjudicator has given a decision in a party’s favour, that party should be entitled to a “security interest” over the land or chattel of the person for whom the work has been carried out if the money is not paid within a prescribed time after the adjudicator’s decision.

This was a response to the concern that the abolition of “pay-when-paid” clauses would require head contractors to pay subcontractors when they themselves had not been paid. The ability for a head contractor to register a security interest or lien over the assets of the principal would help ensure that money is coming in at the top of the contractual chain so it can then filter down to the rest of the chain.

H: The adjudicator’s powers in the British act are preferred over the New South Wales legislation as they are more comprehensive and provide for the adjudicator to be able to appoint experts, assessors and legal advisors, give directions on the timetable for adjudication, for example.

The working group said more work was needed to compare the British adjudication procedures and the British Arbitration Act with the precepts in the New Zealand Arbitration Act to assist in the application of a consistent judicial process.

I: Adjudicators should have the power to appoint experts. The responsibility for notifying other parties should rest with the parties to the proceeding and not the adjudicator.

Detailed design issues not agreed on, and requiring further work by the ministry and industry are:

A: The New South Wales legislation only provides for payment disputes to be referred to adjudication, while the British act refers all matters in dispute to adjudication. The issue of whether the adjudication process should be limited to payment disputes or should apply to any dispute between the parties was not resolved.

Master Builders expressed concerns about the adjudication process dealing with all matters in dispute rather than just payment disputes.

B: The issue of what should be done where the adjudicator’s decision is that a sum of money must be paid and the payer intends to appeal that decision was not resolved.

C: While it was agreed that the registration of a security interest should only be possible after an adjudicator’s decision, the exact detail of the mechanism for achieving this and the property to which such an interest could attach was not resolved.

D: Also not resolved was the issue of whether adjudicators should have the power to opt not to answer questions and instead to allow an expert to answer those questions, in contrast with judges, who are required to answer all questions put to them.

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3km city rail tunnel proposed

McKeown says tunnel, Avondale-Southdown link & Shore connection all feasible

Auckland City Council is investigating digging a 3km $400 million rail tunnel connecting the Britomart transport centre to the western line at Mt Eden.

The tunnel, for either conventional or light rail, would run from Britomart, up Albert, Vincent & Pitt Sts, under the central motorway junction and connect with the western rail line between Dominion Rd and the Mt Eden station, at the city end of Mt Eden Rd.

Stations, accessed from the street, could be located at Wellesley St & Karangahape Rd.

Transport committee chairman Cllr Greg McKeown said the proposal was at an early investigation stage, but it had been determined the tunnel was technically feasible.

Cllr McKeown also wants to see the Avondale-Southdown rail link established. The corridor exists. He said the option of a tunnel from Britomart to the North Shore had also been identified as technically feasible.

Cllr McKeown said there was a need to “think further ahead, faster” on the rail network issue.

“If this [tunnel] is finally determined to be both buildable & fundable, it would create a great inner-city rail loop which would link Britomart, Mt Eden & Newmarket.

“It would provide important links with the western line & the North Island main trunk line at Newmarket and would increase the capacity & efficiency of the Britomart station & the rest of the network.”

National & regional funding would be required to move the project forward.

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