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Comment On National's U-Turn On Resource Management Act Reform

Intensification Done Well

Character Coalition urges reasoned action on housing density.

In an election year about-turn, the National Party’s rethink of support for the National Policy Statement on Urban Development does not get a resounding thumbs-up from heritage advocates, Character Coalition.

Representing more than 60 resident and heritage groups across Tāmaki Makaurau, spokesperson Sally Hughes says that while she’s pleased that bi-partisan political support for legislation which could see a minimum three-story three-dwelling development across every property in Auckland, has evaporated, the alternative greenfield development proposed to make up the housing shortfall is problematic. “It’s not a binary issue”, says Hughes, “it’s not a choice between either intensive housing or sprawling housing”.

“We need more affordable housing and more of it,” says Hughes, “Character Coalition has always acknowledged that, but greenfield development brings challenges too; with poor transport choices and infrastructure deficits that are already constraining Auckland. The Coalition’s position is that it’s possible to preserve both character and heritage and intensify the city”, she says. She points out that “Auckland’s Unitary Plan allowed for planned intensification with an identified 900,000 sites across Auckland allowing for population growth for the next 30 years.

“The bipartisan supported changes to the Resource Management Act were always a sledgehammer to fix a housing issue”, says Hughes. It is going to create more problems than it solves, and Aucklanders had a serious wake-up to that fact earlier this year with the tragic Anniversary weekend floods.

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Hughes hopes the election year will bring continued focus on Auckland’s growth. “We welcome debate and options, but the issues facing Auckland, and the rest of the country are too important to be solved in one election period.

There’s a good deal of thinking and listening needed from decision makers because Aucklanders of all ages and demographics want to get the planning of our city right”, says Hughes.

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