Update to: Rotorua District Council is Stealing Land
I did decide to do some investigation… I’ve spent a couple of hours on the phone with Council staff but I still haven’t figured out precisely how Council intends to take away existing property rights from land owners. My questions probably seemed stupid to Council staff but everyone I spoke with was pleasant and helpful.
I figured out enough to put a question in writing so, I sent this email on Monday…
I have spoken with several Council representatives concerning the Proposed District Plan – in particular I have been enquiring about the proposed rural road designations.
Most recently I was advised by Council that the statutory authority being relied upon was the RMA (sections 166 to 186) and that Council will be seeking the designations in its capacity as a network utility operator under the Act.
This explanation doesn’t make sense and it contradicts an earlier explanation I was given by Council. The earlier explanation I was given was that Council was seeking to correct rural road (or road reserve) widths; that Council considered some roads too narrow and was seeking to widen roads (or road reserves) from 15m to 20m as part of the District Plan.
Can you please clarify the following points…
1. Is the Council proposing these designations in its capacity as a local authority or in its capacity as a network utility operator?
2. For what purpose is the Council proposing these designations?
3. What statutory authority is the Council relying on to propose these designations?
At this point I am trying to establish if there is an unjust law that allows Council to take away land owners rights or whether the Council is acting illegally.
As I understand the law (corrections welcome), for the Council’s (or any government agent’s) actions to be legal they must :-
1. have a law (statutory authority) that explicitly enables the action; and,
2. act according to the intention of the law.
I suspect there is no law that is intended to allow councils to widen road reserves in this manner. If my suspicion is correct (that the Council is acting illegally) then Council recognising the illegality should be sufficient to stop the Council from proceeding.