Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Noise from Defence Force planes delays new homes

'Frustrating wait': Noise from Defence Force planes delays new homes

Rowan Quinn, Reporter

Work on hundreds of new Auckland homes is being delayed by a year because Auckland Council is worried about noise from engine testing at the New Zealand Defence Force's air base at Whenuapai.

a helicopter
sitting on an airfield, seen through a wire fence

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The west Auckland town is one of the key areas pegged for development in the city but the council has had to go back to the drawing board on the rules for a zone that will allow for more than 6000 new homes.

The council convened a hearing run by independent commissioners in May to set the rules but after some updated Defence Force data on noise from engine testing, the commissioners said part of plan has to be redrawn.

That meant the council has to seek new submissions and hold a new hearing before the final rules for the zone can be set.

Cabra Developments said that had created a frustrating wait.

Development manager Duncan Unsworth said it was ready to start work on 250 sections but was now in limbo.

"We have to go through the hearing process again, pay consultant fees, holding costs... The 12-month delay in the hearing effectively delays development for 12 months as well," he said.

The biggest noise offenders were the Orion planes.

The Defence Force said for the most affected homes in the zone, the sound that reached them would be similar in magnitude to driving at 100 km/h with the windows slightly open.

But there would be small periods where it was more like being next to an idling truck or using a vacuum cleaner, he said.

Whenuapai residents spoken to by RNZ said the engine testing noise was much more disruptive than planes taking off but said they were used to it and it was part of the special character of the area.

Under the new proposal, the part of the zone most affected, about 440 homes, would not be allowed to be developed at all until 2023 when the Orions were due to be retired.

The deputy chair of the council's planning committee, Richard Hills, said the council had no choice but to relook at the Whenuapai planning rules because the independent commissioners had ordered them to.

And it had chosen the fastest process possible to resolve the situation, he said.

"We are keen to see more development and speed up development," he said. "We also have to make sure we do it right because it's the public and the council that will end up having to fix the issue and it's the residents in that area that could be adversely affected by noise from the Defence Force planes," he said.

The new hearing would take place later this year.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


News Deserts: The Death March Of Local Journalism

Joseph Cederwall: The corporate media sector seems unable to do anything to halt the raging dumpster fire of consolidation, layoffs and centralisation of content production. All this means we are increasingly seeing ‘news deserts’ appearing in local communities. Illustration by Paul Sahre. More>>


Joseph Cederwall: Journalism Has A Problem - It’s Called Capitalism!

To the extent that solutions exist, they must be solutions that allow journalism to move outside of the broken system that has caused this situation. For this reason, a resurgence in more engaged and community focused local journalism offers hope for a way out of this situation. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Justin Trudeau's Fate Matters To NZ

The scandal now engulfing Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party is the kind of train wreck that confirms the public's worst feelings about politicians and their back-room dealings. More>>

Joseph Cederwall: Venezuela; Oil, Neoliberalism And White Supremacy

Venezuela has been suffering a slow-burn, yet devastating internal insurgency and economic war since the optimistic beginnings of the ‘Bolivarian’ socialist revolution in 1998. More>>


Ramzy Baroud: What Price Netanyahu’s Victory

It is quite typical for Israeli politicians to carry out confrontational measures against Palestinians shortly before general elections are due. The nature of these measures is determined by the kind of political constituency that Israeli leaders aim to appease. More>>

  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog