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Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Unitary Plan 'in force next month'

The new planning rulebook for Auckland will come into force between September 19 and September 29, council chief executive Stephen Town says.

He said the earliest the council's governing body can make the rulebook, or Unitary Plan, operative is the first working day after the period for appeals ends on September 16, which is Monday, September 19.

The governing body is not scheduled to meet until September 29, but could hold an extraordinary meeting anytime from September 19, Town said.

The new rulebook to squeeze in a million more residents by 2041 which tells people what can be built, where and how high buildings can go, was passed by the governing body yesterday.

The 7000-page document signals a new era of where and how Aucklanders will live, work and play for the coming decades.

Town said the council will be holding its breath and hoping for a minimum number of appeals to the plan.

Appeals of a geographic or policy nature could lead to administrative and complex challenges, he said.

Town said planning applications still in the works at the date the plan becomes operative will still be processed under old plans.

Asked how the council could build the infrastructure to meet the housing targets in the Unitary Plan and population growth, Town said the city was moving into an era with the crown and council working closer together to make sure infrastructure was there.

The city, growing at 3 per cent, was still in catch up mode and would not get on top of it without working with large developers, bankers, funders and central government, Town said.

A level of understanding had been reached between council and central government there are debt constraints, a desire to retain the council's AA credit rating.

- NZ Herald

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