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Speaker: Correcting Auckland 2040's Unitary Plan befuddlement

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Simon Lyall,

    What exactly is the point of opening up submissions again? We all know what all the NIMBYs will say.

    I have some sympathy in that we only submitted because Housing NZ had bid in its submission to spot-rezone its own properties in our little cul de sac as Mixed Housing Urban, which would have been anomalous and inappropriate, especially if they merged their separate sites. We were happy with Mixed Housing Suburban and said so, noting that the current Housing NZ tenancies are part of our little community and are supported as such.

    I do get how people who had no particular reason to submit would be upset at finding out they had something to complain about.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Duncan McKenzie,

    Seriously, Point 9 seems to the only thing vaguely suggesting to the council they should have another look. Is that what Hulse is hanging all the out of scope changes on?

    This whole thing is going to end up in the Environment Court

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report

  • SteveH, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    When Cathy Casey and Mike Lee are lining up with Cameron Brewer, George Wood and Dick Quax against the process, you probably should take a long hard look at the process.

    You'd be better off just saying Cathy Casey and Mike Lee are against it, because any time I hear Cameron Brewer and Dick Quax are against something I tend to assume it must be a good idea.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to SteveH,

    You’d be better off just saying Cathy Casey and Mike Lee are against it, because any time I hear Cameron Brewer and Dick Quax are against something I tend to assume it must be a good idea.

    With the way Mike Lee's been carrying on, "Cathy Casey's against it" is really the only part that should command your attention.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Not just Casey, the Eden Albert Local, board too, not exactly the hard right of local body politics.

    It would be good for someone from the Waitemata board to state their position, I know they read this blog, they’ve been silent either way far.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report

  • Joshua Arbury,

    Some potentially useful process information. The Independent Hearings Panel needs to report back its recommendations to the Council in June (I think). The Council then can choose to accept or reject those recommendations.

    The recommendations that are accepted can only be challenged in the High Court on points of law. The recommendations that are rejected are open to Environment Court appeals.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 237 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    almost male menopause.
    a focused interview with the man would be great.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Joshua Arbury,

    ta, Josh

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Glenn Pearce,

    It should also be noted that had it not been for the leaking of the revised plans in December the council had no intention of releasing them to the public until after they presented to the IHP and it was too late.

    Regardless of where you stand on intensification, it's an unconscionable process.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What the Alliance doing with this petition and the misinformation accompanying it seems way outside the financial remit touted by Williams and Farrar. Indeed, Auckland Transport is already taking advice on how to quantify the costs it faces as a result of the additional sprawl already permitted by the Proposed Unitary Plan. But they want to address housing capacity in Auckland with even more sprawl?

    How very odd.

    Auckland Ratepayers Alliance, or Auckland Rentiers Alliance?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Ben Ross, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    The maps would have been out on January 26 when Council released its Primary Evidence for the submitters to either support or rebut on.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2014 • 32 posts Report

  • Duncan McKenzie,

    In terms of providing for intensification, the council has alternated between bold and timid. Interestingly, timidity breaks out in the election years.

    Bold: Intensification proposed in the Auckland Plan and the subsequent Draft Unitary Plan
    Timid: Winding back the intensification in the notified Proposed Unitary Plan
    Bold: Evidence lodged with the Hearings Panel
    Timid: The recent backtracking of many Councillors.

    As the cliché goes, more flip-flops than a jandal factory.

    What I am curious about is how the council's latest outburst of timidity could influence the Hearings Panel. The evidence supporting more intensification has been lodged. Individual Councillors cannot appear unless they were submitters two years ago. It would be highly irregular (if not improper) for the Council to tamper with the lodged evidence (by withdrawing it or persuading the witnesses to recant at the hearing).

    So the cold-feet Councillors are left with telling the electors that "we did our best, we were thwarted by the system, so you should vote for us anyway".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 53 posts Report

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Duncan McKenzie,

    Could the "Timid" apply to the Councillors and the "Bold" apply to the Planners?

    How much involvement in the process to the Councillors actually have, I assume they are briefed at various stages? Or were the new maps in December with the large scale out of scope changes as much a surprise to them as the general public?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report

  • Swan, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Goenn, it sounds like you are advocating for the ability to submit on any changes to the PAUP. Where would it end?

    Birkenhead • Since Feb 2011 • 86 posts Report

  • Swan,

    I was very pleased to see that there was a mechanism for the councils 70% goal to be checked as achievable, with changes if necessary. I have always thought planning is about as far from the "rule of law" ideal we have in NZ, but this process is quite good in that respect.

    Birkenhead • Since Feb 2011 • 86 posts Report

  • Marc C,

    Penny Pirrit, who initially handled the Unitary Plan for the Council before it got handed to John Duguid, did get quoted in the Fairfax story on how the Council works through writing up the evidence it sends to the Panel. She explained that the proposal put forward by the Council is only a preliminary position and that any out of scope changes are based on the feedback Council received from the public in the earlier stages of the process.

    Ah, yes, Mr Ross, you work as a consultant, as I understand, who do you consult when it comes to development in Auckland, I mean, who do you work for, and who pays you, or are you doing all this merely from the good of your heart, for social or other concerns?

    That aside, you should perhaps mention that the whole submission hearing process on the AUP has mostly been dominated by large submitters, one being Council itself, but also such as Housing NZ, who have put in hundreds of submission points. There are some developers and large business submitters, same as some institutional ones, who have also put in hundreds of various submission points, also on zoning matters.

    So when you go on about Council considering "feedback" when preparing their Primary Evidence, you do obviously mean the numbers of submission points that were received, the bulk of which were by only a few dozen large submitters with vested interests, employing legal, planning and other experts that any ordinary citizen and resident cannot afford.

    Most individual submitters will only have put in one or a few submission points and mostly on sensitive topics like zoning, which are about to be heard now. But few have the professional expertise to really know how to draw up and present effective submissions and evidence that will be given much merit. Many will simply be concerned only for their own property, a house or small business, and never have a full understanding of the whole Unitary Plan containing thousands of pages. Few will ever have read more than Council's picturesque leaflets and handouts, or glossy brochures.

    The RPS, that is the Regional Policy Statement, was also very much influenced by mediation and hearings dominated by a few big players, and few ordinary residents or ratepayers will have known much of what was being discussed.

    The way Council have changed the notified Plan beyond recognition in many parts actually does raise serious questions about natural justice not being followed. And the Panel hearing the whole matters, has been given powers by this government, that allow it to make recommendations or offer guidance that is not necessarily based on any submissions. They have immense amounts of discretion and power, which in itself is a worry.

    I know of people involved in the hearing, and some are furious at the handling of certain topics, rightly so, I would say.

    It is only full time people like you, Mr Ross, who have the time and also knowledge to work the system to your or your clients' benefits.

    What we will be getting is a huge property development bonanza that will offer us zilch in regards to affordable housing, we will have endless blocks of apartment blocks in some intensified areas, high rises, which cannot go high enough for you, going by your submission, and future ghettos being built, following bad examples that were followed overseas.

    Council has made massive changes to some zoned areas, as I noticed, and it is indeed very questionable how they can get away with it, saying so many submissions supported this, when the bulk of these come from just a few developers or other submitters, who have vested business interests.

    For all concerned, look at Mr Balderston's Evidence on the IHP website, who has for Council presented some figures on recent models for feasibility and capacity of development. Strangely there is almost nothing that can be called affordable housing, that is the result of much research and projections.

    The PAUP is a very flawed Plan, same as the Auckland Plan was, which cannot be implemented, as Council is already years behind targets, especially for housing construction and infrastructure development. And that is partly because the Auckland residents have realised what costs would come on them.

    So good luck with your submission and efforts.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report

  • Marc C, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Russell, the AUP as it is now, after many proposed new changes, abolishing density rules for Mixed Housing Urban, changing the whole development control approach, adding more discretion and allowance for additional heights, and also significantly changing many other parts (objectives, policies, rules) does look very different to the notified version.

    The same applies to the zoning for other areas, which has been significantly changed again for certain residential and some business areas.

    You may be happy with your Mixed Housing Urban zoning, but others face having THAB or MHU zones brought in, that were not notified for their particular areas. Hence those that relied on the notified Plan, and thought, ok, I can perhaps live with that, they now face very different realities.

    As the Panel recently decided on some issues that were raised re Council's preliminary zoning, there is no chance for people to now put in submissions, that means those that relied on the PAUP as notified, which though has been changed substantially, cannot enter the hearing process.

    That is what has made some residents and ratepayers very angry, and I understand why. A hearing should consider submissions on the notified Plan, and proposed changes should stay within reasonable scopes, or if this path is left, then major changes should usually be pursued by way of a plan change that needs to be notified. The latter is not happening.

    So the Panel will have to be very careful in what recommendations they will make, being bound by natural justice, which means, some proposed changes by Council should not be allowed, as they are not based on submissions on the notified Plan.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report

  • Marc C, in reply to Sacha,

    "I have a lot of sympathy for that. Media have done an appalling job of explaining the process, to the extent that many Aucklanders believe it is the Council making these zoning decisions, not an independent panel.

    Nor do enough of us grasp that this whole process was dictated in the supercity enabling legistation pushed through by Act and the Nats. Council can't change it."

    You are not quite correct there. The Panel will upon reviewing all the evidence and submissions before it make its recommendations to Council, which will happen later this year, and then it is up to Council to decide which recommendation to accept or not. If submitters are unhappy with that they can go to the Environment Court, that is if they have the resources to do this.

    So it is NOT the Panel that decides as such, they only make recommendations. And re the explaining of the process, that is not the responsibility of the media, it is the responsibility of the Council who notified the Plan, and to some degree of course also the Panel, to explain to the ordinary residents what they need to do to be heard, to put in submissions and so forth. That is why stuff gets notified, and it should so with sufficient guidance and info.

    The media do largely not bother with the Plan and the hearing process, because it is so complex, and one needs good insight and understanding to get the grips of it. With the media we have now, there is damned dim chance that we get any useful info at all about what goes on during the hearing, even RNZ have in my view done a poor job in this.

    And it is true, the Panel and hearing process were established on law that was passed under this government, same as the Greater Auckland realities that Rodney Hide oversaw. Democracy was the last thing they had on their mind. Hence the actual hearing is now dominated by the well represented vested interest parties, plus Council, and large submitters like Housing NZ, who shape the Plan as they see fit. I would not put much hope into a more social and affordable housing offering Auckland with what goes on.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report

  • Marc C, in reply to Ben Ross,

    Well, all this modeling, about which I am informed, should perhaps have been done a few years ago, before the plan was finally drawn up and then notified. To use these models now as an excuse to suddenly redraw notified residentially zoned areas, to do away with density provisions for the MHU zone, to radically change the development controls, to allow yet more heights and density for the so-called THAB zone and to make many more changes, many NOT based on any submissions, that raises serious questions about natural justice.

    So Council did not do their homework before presenting the notified plan, and as we know the draft plan was stiffly opposed by many who objected to too great heights and up-zoning, hence the somewhat more moderate notified plan.

    I know you and some others just love the opportunity of intensifying most of Auckland, but there are legal aspects to consider, so Council stuffed up themselves, and continue to stuff up with the out of scope zoning.

    It will be up to the Panel to set the clear boundaries now, re what is acceptable and should be recommended, and what not, not an easy task for those sitting on it.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report

  • Graham Dunster,

    Life has been too hectic to engage with PA in recent weeks, doing my best to catch up now. With regard to these mooted changes I’m caught up in the out of scope changes. My place is on Schofield Street in Grey Lynn, bang in the middle of the pre 1944 buildings. For some reason three of these houses (all pre WW1) are now earmarked for no restrictions whilst other equally old (or not as old!) properties remain restricted. There is no obvious reason for this situation and no way to engage with AC to discover their logic. Irrespective of my philosophy the lack of democratic engagement sucks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Agree, as I said above, if the new maps had associated explanatory notes explaining why certain properties were upzoned I think they would be better accepted.

    As far as I know there is nothing, which makes you wonder how they decided what to upzone

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Swan,

    No, but I would have expected the Notified plan to bear some resemblance to the final version..

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report

  • Swan, in reply to Marc C,


    The MHU still has density limits in terms of height, height to boundary, site coverage etc. in fact in terms of the structure able to be built, the change you refer to does not affect this at all.

    Birkenhead • Since Feb 2011 • 86 posts Report

  • Marc C, in reply to Swan,

    Much of what will be "controlled" is left to be discretionary to Council consent issuing staff. So while that may be true as you say, there will be discretion about infringements that may be allowed, and no number for this is specified. Also have they wiped the dwelling mix requirements for THAB and MHU, so a developer does not need to provide such, and can basically build apartment blocks that only consist of 30 square metre sized studio apartments, with little storage (also deleted) and little clarity about how zoned areas will look like once development is in full process.

    Developers can fit in as many dwellings as they can, while Council can offer discretion re infringements, and that means many residential property owners that may have new larger scale developments go up next door to their lot will have too little certainty as to what it will all look like. Heights are now 11 metres in the MHU, and with so called “bonus provisions” for affordable housing may even be higher, as I have heard.

    But it is all still only “proposed”, and the Panel will have to decide on what to recommend and what not. The Plan will be very different from the notified version, that at least is for sure.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report

  • Glenn Pearce,

    More sunlight on the process


    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report

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