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Stop The Zombie Plan Change: Character Coalition Urges Government To Let Auckland Decide Now

A group representing 60 resident and heritage groups across Tāmaki Makaurau is calling on the Coalition Government to act quickly to let Aucklanders decide the future shape of their city.

Character Coalition’s spokesperson, Sally Hughes welcomes confirmation that Minister of Housing Chris Bishop intends to let Auckland Council opt out of the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS). These allow ‘3 by 3’ residential developments across all of Auckland. Hughes says that “already these have resulted in buildings with poor public and resident amenity arising sporadically throughout Auckland suburbs, often in areas where the infrastructure cannot cope”.

Hughes says Auckland already has plans to grow. “Auckland’s existing Unitary Plan already allows for the growth of a denser and more liveable city for the next 30 years without the unnecessary and unpopular MDRS,” says Hughes.

However, she is concerned that, until the Government legislates to give Auckland this opt-out ability, Council’s Plan Change 78, which applies the MDRS will continue to roll-out.

With hearings to an Independent Hearings Panel on the Plan Change scheduled next month, Hughes says that resident and heritage groups must continue to participate in the planning process. “That takes time and resources”. Her organisation estimates it will cost member groups over half a million dollars to participate in a process for something the Council is likely to scrap.

Hughes wonders why Government departments such as Kāinga Ora and Ministry of Housing and Development, which oppose many of the positions of her member groups, are still throwing seemingly unlimited government funds at a “zombie plan change”.

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“If we’re going to get Auckland back on track, deliver affordable housing, a liveable city and maintain the heritage and history for residents and visitors, we need to get off the wrong-track, fast. We need to stop wasting time and resources”.

“Government needs to make the MDRS optional now, so that Auckland Council can postpone its Plan Change 78 hearings”.

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