19 Sep 2012

New Unitary Plan process appeases property industry

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Source: Property Council Of New Zealand press release 19 October 2012
Published by: Scoop Business

Legislative changes to speed up the Unitary Plan process, announced this week by the Minister for the Environment, Amy Adams, have been endorsed by commercial property advocacy group Property Council New Zealand.

The changes will provide certainty for the development community in Auckland and New Zealand, relieving concerns that the plan could remain inoperative for a prolonged period of time, according to Property Council’s chief executive, Connal Townsend.

“Initial draft provisions discussed at workshops with industry members well and truly show this is one the largest planning documents – in both scope and timeframe – that any city in New Zealand has ever had to complete.

“Shortening the timeframe is a positive step, as six to ten years is too long for developers to be in limbo. We are pleased that the Minister expects this new process to only take three years, before most of the plan becomes operative.

“As this industry is charged with reflecting the Auckland Plan in any future development, this new timeframe will most certainly help get the process moving so that office buildings, mixed use zones and new homes can be built in line with satisfying the region’s expected population growth.

“In addition, a desire for enhanced consultation will go a long way to make sure this plan reflects the region’s concerns; however, we expect the key outcomes of Auckland Council’s consultation to be reflected in the final plan.”

The Minister’s decision to implement a comprehensive independent hearing process has been well received by the organisation, noted Mr Townsend, particularly as this will involve appointments by Ministers for the Environment and Conservation.

“The idea of the Crown appointing representatives on to the panel will allow the very best level of expertise to analyse the Unitary Plan provisions, and will give the process complete transparency which is ultimately the end goal called for by Property Council. But it is essential that extreme care is taken to ensure the right people are appointed so Auckland receives a workable plan.”


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