25 Sep 2012

Auckland mayor seeks planning fast-track

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Written by: KATE CHAPMAN
Photo: Getty Images
Published: Business Day / stuff.co.nz – 25 September 2012

Auckland mayor seeks planning fast-track


Auckland Mayor Len Brown was at Parliament today seeking a law change to allow the city to fast-track implementation of new planning rules.

Brown met with government ministers Amy Adams, Steven Joyce, Bill English and Chris Finlayson.

The Auckland Council is seeking a change to the Auckland legislation that would effectively exempt it from parts of the Resource Management Act.

It wants to conduct significant upfront consultation on the Auckland Unitary Plan – which draws together the old individual town and district plans – and to prevent endless legal battles.

Appeals would only be allowed on points of law.

If the council has its way, the unitary plan would essentially come into effect when it is notified in the second half of next year.

Brown said getting the plan sorted would allow the city to get on with sorting out housing issues and chasing economic growth. He hopes to have it completed within two or three years rather than up to eight.

“This is a huge job that we’re doing in Auckland, it’s a unique opportunity, we’re redefining this city, to the country’s benefit we hope, and the way in which we do this unitary plan could be a template, in terms of that high-level community engagement and involvement.”

This was the “final piece of the jigsaw” in the unification of Auckland, Brown said, and it was time critical.

He hoped the Government would announce their decisions “sooner rather than later”.

“The district scheme plans have basically been litigated to death and we don’t want that to happen. This is a time for the community to determine its future, not for the lawyers or the courts.”

Prime Minister John Key said the Government had sympathy for Auckland’s plight.

“The Resource Management Act is not working as we would like it to work.”

The Government had made some changes and was looking at a second round of RMA reform, he said.

“We look forward to other political parties supporting us when we introduce that legislation into the House.”



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