The controversial plan of containing three-quarters of new housing development within Auckland's existing city boundaries is being revised.

Auckland Council has eased up on its vision of squeezing residents up closer by keeping 75 per cent of new housing on existing land and just 25 per cent outside the limits within the next three decades.

Instead, it is now discussing a 60/40 split, which the development sector is hailing as a victory after intense opposition and lobbying and independent reports which criticised the original scheme as unworkable.

The image of high-rise hell in heritage waterfront suburbs such as Birkenhead and Northcote caused an outcry and Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend said yesterday he was pleased about the apparent relaxation in the council's policy.


"The really interesting thing is that the 75/25 split was due to kick in at the start of the plan. I understand the new arrangement places high emphasis on greenfields development in the first 10 years, with a requirement for high quality dense development to get the market used to it as an approach."

Dr Roger Blakeley, the council's planning chief, used the new figures in his presentation on the Auckland Plan 2012-2042. "We will provide for 60 per cent to 70 per cent of total new dwellings inside the 2010 metropolitan urban limit and therefore 30 per cent to 40 per cent of total new dwellings outside in new greenfields and satellite towns," he said.

Instead of having 280,000 new houses within the town limits, there will be only 240,000, allowing for 160,000 new places outside the boundaries, he indicated.

Senior communications adviser John Evans said the idea of a 60/40 split was a reflection of some of the views of submitters who felt 75/25 was unachievable.

Councillor Dick Quax said the change to discussing a 60/40 split had caused some angst and not all councillors backed the new numbers.