Unitary Plan - The shape of Auckland

What do you want from the Unitary Plan? Photo / Brett Phibbs
What do you want from the Unitary Plan? Photo / Brett Phibbs

The new rulebook telling people what can be built, where and how high in Auckland has generated a fierce debate for three years. With recommendations only weeks away from being finalised, the Herald has gone back to many of the key players and asked "What do you want from the Unitary Plan?" From the youth lobby group Generation Zero to Auckland 2040, the voice for many homeowners; to national, council and local politicians, here are their hopes and aspirations for the shape and future of the city.

Richard Burton, Auckland 2040

A realistic balance between greenfields development and intensification of the existing urban area.

Recognition that intensification of the existing urban area will not occur to the extent necessary to accommodate foreseeable demand or supply of affordable housing.
Structure planned greenfield development along the north-south corridor providing large numbers of more affordable dwellings quickly.
Clear, enforceable limits to development within the existing urban area which protect the character of Auckland's suburbs.

Emma Ryder, Generation Zero

The Unitary Plan needs to ensure diverse housing choice will be available to every Aucklander. We need housing types that will meet the needs of future generations. This includes terraced housing and apartments that are built where people want to live, close to public transport infrastructure, allowing easy accessibility to employment and leisure opportunities. This will ensure Auckland is a vibrant, liveable city that offers variety and choice for all people.

Helen O'Sullivan, Ockham Residential

Ockham Residential would like to see the final Unitary Plan enable the development of homes that meet the social and demographic needs of current and future Aucklanders, at price points they can afford, in places they want to live. Achieving that in our view means maximising the established suburban areas of Auckland which permit three storey structures, unlimited density (measured as dwellings per 100sqm) but with a minimum of 40 per cent retained green space.

Sally Hughes, Character Coalition

The Character Coalition members have consistently recognised the need for intensification in their areas, but with the right for communities to be included in the changes with a say in how and where development happens.

We want the plan to reflect/acknowledge the value of character suburbs and buildings, a finite historical resource that makes Auckland unique.

Without protection it will be lost over time, and for no gain in the affordable housing the city so desperately needs.

Mark Champion, Employers and Manufacturers Association

Business in Auckland needs reassurance that its needs will be met in the most basic of ways - the provision of city land for expansion.

But we will also need confidence that land availability is matched with a strategy for the development of infrastructure and transport systems to support that growth.

We would also hope that the thrust of the plan and its political achievability will dissuade central government from intervention in the running of the city.

Ngarimu Blair, Ngati Whatua

I want us to grow much more up than out with more terraced houses and apartments on the isthmus connected to transport corridors. I want more housing choices for working whanau who can't borrow $500,00, let alone $1 million. We need to preserve our rural areas for kai production and native bush for cleaning our air and souls. I want Iwi - not convenient Maori consultation bodies and their advisors - to represent the mana of our ancestors.

Nick Smith, Minister of Housing

The Unitary Plan needs to enable Auckland to grow up and out.
The current development rules were drafted 20 years ago by seven disjointed councils for a city with 400,000 fewer people. These rules are a roadblock to much-needed housing and other development.

The Government's plan has been to bypass these outdated rules with Special Housing Areas in the short-term while also legislating for the streamlined process for the new Unitary Plan that now needs concluding."

Chris Darby, Auckland councillor

The plan is fundamental to getting us up to pace on housing. It is about reviewing density and putting in place environmental, heritage and design protections to ensure quality living.

Decades of inadequate planning force us to make significant changes now.
We face crucial issues we cannot shy away from. They are so enormous and confronting we will all need to yield a little in favour of a positive future for our children.

Desley Simpson, Orakei Local Board chairwoman

I hope for a Unitary Plan that reflects our ward's issues of democracy and natural justice in the process. A plan that goes 'up and out' and respects the characteristic differences of each of Auckland's many diverse suburbs . A plan that intensifies along arterial transport routes, around the region's major business and retail centres with appropriate above and below ground infrastructure. A plan that acknowledges the importance of parks, open space and community facilities to enable healthy, intensified living environments.

- NZ Herald

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