Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


A CLUE to an alternative to Auckland’s Unitary Plan

A CLUE to an alternative to Auckland’s Unitary Plan.

A commentary from….

David Thornton Writer Commentator on Local Government.

Former member North Shore City Council, Glenfield Community Board, Greater London Council.

Former RMA qualified Commissioner. Founder NoMoreRates.com.

[Has been widely published, reported, and interviewed in NZ media including electronic media]

6th May 2013

A Controlled Liveable Urban Expansion plan for the future of Auckland.

An Alternative to the draft Auckland Unitary Plan

Mayor Len Brown wants a quality compact city to meet a possible population growth of one million people in 400,000 new homes. And he wants that city to be the world’s most liveable city. His plan relies largely on increasing the current density in most parts of Auckland to accommodate 700,000 new residents in 280,000 new homes.

The balance of 120,000 homes and 300,000 people will be located outside the current city limits in presently rural areas and by expanding smaller towns in the wider region such as Warkworth, Wellsford and Pokeno. This represents a 70/30 urban/rural split, which could move to 60/40 according to the Auckland Plan and the draft Unitary Plan.

To achieve these figures the planners, with the approval of their political matters decided to re-zone the entire city – every piece of land in the Auckland region was rezoned. No one escaped the clutches of the population planners.

The Council was warned that rezoning on such a vast scale would provoke community outrage and huge political resilience would be required if Council was to achieve its goals.

Community response to this unparalleled level of intensification has been largely hostile, not simply against medium and high rise buildings, but at the obvious lack of provision for infrastructure in terms of roads, wastewater, stormwater, public transport, green spaces for play and a host of other services and facilities that one million more people would require and expect.

The draft Plan itself is a significant piece of work and there is general approval, and indeed plaudits, for the creation of one set of planning and development rules for the whole of the SuperCity. That set of rules needs detailed consideration in terms of development potential and impact – but the presentation format of these rules in the Plan should facilitate such consideration.

There is also admiration for the e-plan treatment for maps, with the various overlays illustrating sensitive resource management, environmental and heritage areas and influences.

So what is all the fuss about?

The initial concern may have been high rise apartment buildings all over the place – perceived or actual – the media publicity of which led to more people attempting to find out more about the Plan. That led on to increasing awareness of the sheer size of the Plan, and its complexity for residents generally.

The result of this response to the Plan has produced a call for more time to consider all the rules and implications which may flow if the Plan was notified and put into operation within three years. The Council will consider this call during May – but the Mayor and Deputy Mayor appear to be on different tacks on this issue.

The local politicians, and those who support and promote the Plan, are now challenging the disaffected and dissatisfied to produce their alternative.

So here is mine – it’s a CLUE.

A Controlled, Liveable Urban Expansion for Auckland’s future.

Before anyone screams ‘Sprawl’ – the Council’s own Plan calls for so-called ‘sprawl’, which it calls the RUB (Rural Urban Boundary), an expansion of the Metropolitan limits into greenfield rural areas. The Unitary Plan calls for up to 40% of population growth to be accommodated within the RUB and in expanding some existing ‘satellite’ towns.

While the Mayor says Aucklanders want a ‘compact city’ there is no data to substantiate that claim. Indeed a recent survey showed that Aucklanders, including younger Aucklanders, look forward to having their own home, not in apartment blocks, but in communities much like their parents did.

The planners will come up with all sorts of reasons for building compact cities based around a single ‘big city’ centre, thus following the pattern of many overseas cities. That pattern does not appear fit well into the ‘New Zealand way’. As this Unitary Plan’ engagement’ has shown there is strong resistance to the compact city model.

So how will Auckland develop with the CLUE?

Within the SupercCity are three main centres, Albany to the North (still growing), Manukau in the South (room to grow), and the CBD in the middle, ripe for brownfields redevelopment and greater intensification. Both Albany and Manukau have the capacity to encourage the development of considerable employment opportunities for residents within their respective peripheries and beyond.

These three centres sit astride the ‘Spine’ of State Highway One forming the backbone of the city-region – an observation made recently by a planning academic who opposed the single city centre concept.

This spine will be added to shortly by way of a western ‘by-pass’ – thus opening up the North-west areas of the city-region.

If there is a need to move quickly, to provide more and affordable housing, there is land available along sections of the Spine beyond the Northern and Southern centres and into and beyond the areas already identified in the RUB. Why not start urban expansion there?

Developers are already gathering beyond the city’s borders in the belief that buyers will come there to live in the ‘New Zealand way’.

And I would argue strongly that it may well be less costly to take infrastructure to the RUB than it will be to retrofit infrastructure in the piecemeal intensification envisaged in the wholesale rezoning pattern set out in the Unitary Plan.

The CLUE does not exclude high rise apartment building (that can already happen in the Metropolitan Centres) but controlled expansion into the RUB now would begin to offer genuine housing choice almost immediately.

By easing the valve on housing demand, and offering choice, the pressure would be off the Council to rush ahead with the contentious Unitary Plan in its present form.

The Council needs to hold back from implementing its wholesale rezoning within the current Metropolitan Urban Limits and allow a much longer period of engagement on a neighbourhood by neighbourhood basis. This process will undoubtedly throw up areas within the urban boundaries which could be redeveloped in tandem with the provision of all expanded core services and community facilities.

A controlled approach to development and redevelopment to meet population growth will allow a new Auckland to evolve which will reflect the changing choices and preferences of Aucklanders as they travel through the generational changes of their lives.

What Auckland does not want is this insane approach of rezoning, in one fell swoop, every piece of property in New Zealand’s biggest and most important city.

Don’t throw the Unitary Plan away – use its format to produce a living Plan following this CLUE.

And listen and respond to what the people are saying.

End

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sits at 10.30am today before MPs are summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber.

The speech delivered by the Governor-General on the Government’s behalf outlines its priorities for this Parliament.

After this MPs will return to the House for the presentation of petitions and papers and the introduction of any bills.

The Government has five notices of motion on the Order Paper which can be debated. These relate to relating to the appointment of the Deputy Speaker, Assistant Speakers, the reinstatement of business in a carryover motion and one on “Entities to be deemed public organisations”. More>>

 

Labour: Review Team Named, Leadership Campaign Starts

Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban.

ALSO:


Roy Morgan Poll: National Slips, Labour Hits Lows

The first New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll since the NZ Election shows National 43.5% (down 3.54% since the September 20 Election). This isn’t unusual, National support has dropped after each of John Key’s Election victories... However, support for the main opposition Labour Party has crashed to 22.5% (down 2.63% and the lowest support for Labour since the 1914 NZ Election as United Labour). More>>

ALSO:

In On First Round: New Zealand Wins Security Council Seat

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed New Zealand securing a place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-16 term. More>>

ALSO:

TPP Leak: Intellectual Property Text Confirms Risk - Jane Kelsey

The US is continuing its assault on generic medicines through numerous proposed changes to patent laws. ‘These are bound to impact on Pharmac if they are accepted’, according to Professor Kelsey... Copyright is another area of ongoing sensitivity... More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith Plans Reform To Ease Urban Development

Newly appointed Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced Resource Management Act reform to foster urban development, where high land prices and expensive resource consents are blocking efforts to provide affordable housing. More>>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On New Zealand getting involved (again) in other people's wars

Apparently, the Key government is still pondering how New Zealand will contribute to the fight against Islamic State. Long may it ponder, given the lack of consensus among our allies as to how to fight IS, where to fight it (Syria, Iraq, or both?) and with whose ground troops, pray tell? More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On child poverty, and David Shearer’s latest outburst

The politicisation of (a) the public service and (b) the operations of the Official Information Act have been highlighted by the policy advice package on child poverty that RNZ’s resolute political editor Brent Edwards has finally prised out of the Ministry of Social Development. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On the government’s review of security laws

So the Key government is about to launch a four week review of the ability of our existing legislation to deal with “suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters, and other violent extremists.”

According to its terms of reference, the review will consider whether the SIS, GCSB and Police are sufficiently able right now to (a) investigate and monitor suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters… More>>

ALSO:

Labour Davids: Lisa Owen Interviews David Shearer

David Shearer still mulling whether to stand for Labour leadership but says his family doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Declares that it will be “incredibly divisive” for the Labour caucus if David Cunliffe returns to the role of leader. More>>

ALSO:

Taser Use & False Evidence: Timaru Officers "Failed To Follow Good Policing Practice"

The Authority found that even if Mr Reuben’s contact with the officer was deliberate it amounted to only a minor assault. While it found the use of the OC spray was justified, the use of the Taser was not a proportionate response... More>>

ALSO:

Little Surprise: Andrew Little To Contest Labour Leadership

I have decided to contest the Labour Party leadership. There are three immediate issues to deal with: creating greater cohesion across the caucus, rebuilding the relationship between caucus and the Party and, most importantly getting the process under way to listen to the voters who have abandoned us... More>>

ALSO:

Two Fewer Votes In Recount: "Positive Result" - Harawira

When I applied for a recount of the votes from the Tai Tokerau election, I made it clear that this application was not aimed at overturning the election result, but ensuring that all votes cast by Maori were treated with due respect, regardless of whether those votes are for Labour, Maori Party or MANA. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news