Councillor's u-turn on house density

About-face by former opponent of intensification sinks North Shore colleague's motion

George Wood. Photo / Natalie Slade
George Wood. Photo / Natalie Slade

Auckland councillor George Wood has controversially voted for unlimited density on the North Shore.

Mr Wood, a staunch opponent of suburban intensification, caused a stir yesterday when he voted against a motion by his North Shore ward colleague Ann Hartley to scrap unlimited density in suburbs across the city. The motion was lost 12-10.

The North Shore has been at the forefront of opposition to suburban intensification provisions in the draft Unitary Plan and spurred the creation of the Auckland 2040 movement to oppose haphazard development.

Auckland 2040 spokesman Richard Burton said he was disappointed Mr Wood had done a u-turn after consistently supporting what the group stood for to preserve residential character.

Mr Wood, who voiced support for Mrs Hartley's position on Wednesday, said he changed his mind after satisfying himself that unlimited density in the suburbs would be taken care of through design controls and would provide a good mix of housing types, including affordable housing.

He said he supported a plan by Mayor Len Brown to increase the minimum size for unlimited density in the mixed housing suburban zone from 1200sq m to 2500sq m. This proposal was deferred until Monday when Mrs Hartley suggested increasing the minimum size to 5000sq m.

Mrs Hartley, who like Mr Wood is standing for one of two North Shore ward seats, said she could not work out where Mr Wood was coming from. "He is certainly not listening to the community, nor the Devonport-Takapuna and Kaipatiki Local Boards."

The council will resume a three-day meeting of the Auckland Plan committee today to wrap up the Unitary Plan. The meeting will continue on Monday to try to finalise the unlimited density controls in the mixed housing suburban zones covering 40 per cent of residential Auckland.

How they voted

In favour of scrapping unlimited density in the suburbs (lost)

Cameron Brewer, Sandra Coney, Chris Fletcher, Ann Hartley, Mike Lee, Calum Penrose, Dick Quax, Sharon Stewart, John Walker, Wayne Walker

Against (won)

Len Brown, Penny Hulse, George Wood, Arthur Anae, Cathy Casey, Alf Filipaina, Michael Goudie, Des Morrison, Richard Northey, Noelene Raffills, David Taipari (Maori Statutory Board), Penny Webster

- NZ Herald

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