24 Apr 2013

Unitary Plan deadline will stay – Brown

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Photo by: Natalie Slade
Published: The New Zealand Herald – 24 April 2013

Some councillors say timetable is too tight and council is playing ‘Russian roulette’

George Wood.

George Wood.

The Auckland Council is sticking to a tight timetable on a new planning rulebook, despite claims it is a rushed process and misgivings about high-rise apartments and infill housing on more than half of the city’s residential land.

A group of councillors, led by George Wood, yesterday tried to extend the timeframe for the rulebook – or Unitary Plan – beyond the local body elections in October.

Most councillors voted for a compromise solution that will include further engagement with Aucklanders after the May 31 deadline for feedback on the draft plan.

It is possible this solution could have the same effect of delaying formal notification of the Unitary Plan – set down for September – until after the election. This would push it out until next year.

Mr Wood cited community concerns at Milford and Devonport in his North Shore ward for the council playing a game of “Russian roulette” before the Unitary Plan was notified.

“We have to do the work upfront, the work we are doing in this informal engagement with the community at the moment. I don’t believe the timeframe we are working to is credible,” Mr Wood said.

Mayor Len Brown said that by and large most people were pretty comfortable with the “compact city” model and was adamant the council would not change the timetable midstream.

“This is the time to respect due process, be reliable and consistent and back it up,” he said, adding the council was in a good space to notify the Unitary Plan in September with the “odd change” from public feedback.

A number of councillors expressed concerns about the timeframe. Dick Quax said the process was anything but robust; Wayne Walker called it incredibly rushed; and Christine Fletcher said the plan was all about aiding and abetting developers.


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