Three additional members have been appointed to the Auckland Unitary Plan independent hearings panel.
Environment Minister Nick Smith says the remaining Auckland Unitary Plan hearings include significant work relating to site specific hearings on the rural urban boundary, rezoning and precincts. He says the additional members will help ensure the panel meets its deadline of delivering recommendations to the Auckland Council on the proposed Unitary Plan by 22 July 2016.
The new panel members, Alan Watson, David Hill and Les Simmons, are currently mediators in the Auckland Unitary Plan process and have backgrounds in law, resource management and policy development.
Alan Watson is an independent hearings commissioner and planning, resource management consultant and current mediator for the panel. He has over 30 years' experience as a town planner and has presented expert evidence at local authority, Environment Court, High Court and Arbitration Court proceedings .
David Hill has extensive experience in both national and international resource management issues and is currently a mediator for the panel. He is a specialist in strategic environmental planning and works as a resource management and governance consultant, and as an independent hearings commissioner/chair.
Les Simmons is an independent hearings commissioner and chair, with previous experience as a planning and resource management consultant. He is currently a mediator for the panel, has been a full time hearings commissioner since 2006 and has undertaken over 300 hearings.
The Auckland Unitary Plan will be the first combined resource management plan for Auckland. The other panel members are Judge David Kirkpatrick (chair), Desmond Morrison, Janet Crawford, Paula Hunter, John Kirikiri, Stuart Shepherd, Greg Hill and Peter Fuller.