Bill English is optimistic the Auckland Council will make good decisions when final recommendations for the city's new rulebook, or Unitary Plan, are given to councillors next week.

The Finance Minister said the council has a pretty good understanding of the importance of its decisions for Auckland and the wider economy.

"It also understands the need to enable more supply and I am optimistic it will make good decisions."

The comments are a softening of English's previous warnings that the Government could step in if the council does not accept a Unitary Plan that allows supply to meet demand.


The panel yesterday handed over its recommendations to council chief executive Stephen Town. They will be released to councillors and made public next week. Councillors will meet next month to make final decisions on the plan.

Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford said the party hoped the hearings panel would be bold enough to recommend a smarter approach to managing Auckland's urban growth that would abolish the urban growth boundary.

Labour wants to see the boundary replaced with intensive planning in growth corridors, investment in rapid transport to support new developments and reform of the way infrastructure is financed through bonds and targeted rates. Areas of special values, like the Pukekohe soils, should be protected, Twyford said.

Greens finance spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter is hoping to see planning rules that allow for more high quality homes in places where land prices are highest, where people really want to live and rules to ensure community engagement.

"That's the way to achieve affordability. If we are able to provide more dwellings where land prices are highest that will significantly bring down the cost of housing."