Stephen Forbes, Local Democracy Reporter
Three of New Zealand's biggest developers were last week given the green light to rezone 330 hectares of land in Drury, which would turn the small, semi-rural town south of Auckland into a new satellite city.
But what do the local residents think of the massive changes earmarked for the area?
Independent hearing commissioners approved the private plan changes of developers Oyster Capital, Fulton Hogan and Kiwi Property in a decision released on Thursday.
The developers applied in July 2020 to rezone the land in East Drury, from future urban to a mix of residential, business and open space zones.
The council has continued to oppose the plan changes on the grounds it would have to foot the bill for over $1 billion in infrastructure needed for the development to go ahead, and can still appeal last week's decision.
Drury resident Phil Hogan said he's not opposed to the developers' plans.
But the retired builder said Auckland Council and ratepayers shouldn't have to pick up the tab for the infrastructure that would be needed.
"It should be the developers paying for that," he said. "They should have the roading and all the rest of the infrastructure in place first."
Hogan said local residents knew the small semi-rural town was changing and he's happy to see the area grow.
"I just want them to get on with it because it's going to be good for Drury."
Local resident Riet van der Gulik's Fitzgerald Rd property is just inside the area Fulton Hogan wants to rezone and develop.
"The council is kicking up a bit of a fuss because it will have to pay for the infrastructure, but it forgets it will get a whole heap of rates out of it in the long run," she said.
"We all know Drury is growing and if we have people that need houses you have to provide them," van der Gulik said. "Progress is progress."
Murray Wardell lives on Brookfield Rd, which borders the 95 hectare area Kiwi Property wants to redevelop, which will include a new town centre and commercial district.
He's semi-retired and said he moved to the area four or five years ago because of the lifestyle. But Wardell said he was aware at the time that there were plans to redevelop Drury.
Earthworks have already started at the end of his road and he said some of his neighbours had already sold up and left because they didn't want to be in the area when the work started.
"It's such a big development," he said. "It's a city the size of Napier going in here and it's going to be huge."
But Wardell said he wouldn't support the Auckland Council appealing last week's decision.
"There's no point fighting it because it's going to happen anyway," he said.
The total population of the Takanini, Drury, Opāheke, Paerata and Pukekohe areas is expected to grow to 120,000 people over the next 30 years.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff was approached for comment. In a statement a spokesman said Auckland Council was currently reviewing last week's decision and it would have 30 days to lodge an appeal.