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Community View Sidelined on North Shore as SHAs Revealed

Media Release

7th May 2014

Community View Sidelined on North Shore as SHAs Revealed

Jan O’Connor, Dr. Grant Gillon, Lorene Pigg, John Gillon - Members of North Shore Local Boards

*** EMBARGOED UNTIL 12PM 7 May 2014 ***

• North Shore submissions on Unitary Plan to be sidelined by SHA process.

• SHAs to cover 41 Auckland areas, including suburbs of Northcote Central and Albany East.

Team of Independents and Local Board members Jan O’Connor, Dr. Grant Gillon, Lorene Pigg and John Gillon are appalled at the whole suburb of Northcote Central, a portion of Beach Haven, the Smales Quarry land bordering Lake Pupuke, and other land on the North Shore, being designated as Special Housing Areas (SHAs) so that development can be fast-tracked without public consultation.

Council is proposing 41 new Special Housing Areas across Auckland and the extension of three current SHAs to the Minister of Housing who will effectively rubber-stamp the proposal. The new SHAs include seven “Strategic Areas” which are effectively whole suburbs, including Northcote and Albany East on the North Shore.

Unitary Plan Submissions Ignored

Local residents have expressed deep concerns about Council’s intensification proposals in Unitary Plan feedback and submissions and at several well-attended public meetings, in the belief that their views would get a fair hearing. Unfortunately, there is a strong risk that their views will be discarded as the SHA process means that the Minister can sign-off the SHAs to proceed before the Unitary Plan is final and without the proposal going before Parliament or a public hearing. In effect, North Shore residents’ Unitary Plan submissions will be ignored.

Northcote Strategic Area

The boundary of the Northcote Strategic Area SHA stretches from Tonar Street to Raleigh Road, and from College Road to Ocean View Road. This is a greater area than revealed to us under the Local Government and Official Information Act earlier this year, and encompasses both state-owned land and private land.

The Northcote SHA is of particular concern, as there are known to be severe stormwater and flooding issues which make this area unsuitable for intensification in this way.

Our View

We do not support SHAs as they bypass the natural democratic process whereby the public has a say on developments in their communities. We especially do not support any SHAs being signed off prior to the Auckland Unitary Plan being finalised as this means that developers could be able to build according to the Proposed Unitary Plan rules rather than the final Unitary Plan that incorporates public input.

We support the rejuvenation of Housing New Zealand housing stock, however HNZ have stated publically at a Kaipatiki Local Board meeting that they can proceed with this at any time and do not require a SHA status to do so.

We also support affordable housing for our community, but that should not be achieved through reduced housing standards, ever-smaller dwellings and the removal of backyards. It also should not be achieved through Housing New Zealand selling off new dwellings constructed in a SHA area, which is an effective privatisation of public land and assets.

Our thanks go to the committed members of our community for their continued championing of our neighbourhoods in the face of these relentless attempts to ignore their views.

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