Moves to rezone thousands of properties for more intensive housing made by just handful of councillors.

A handful of councillors approved dramatic changes to rezone thousands of properties for more intensive housing and apartments, according to confidential meeting minutes.

The minutes, released to the Herald by the council, show just three councillors and an unelected member of the Maori Statutory Board approved zoning changes for north and south Auckland.

Under the "out of scope" changes to zoning, meaning residents did not ask for them in the proposed Unitary Plan, there is no formal right of reply for affected homeowners.

The zoning changes drew a crowd of 660 to a public meeting in Kohimarama last week and a majority of councillors are now calling for the changes to be overturned.


The changes were made by the Unitary Plan committee, comprising nine councillors and two Maori Statutory Board members.

There are 20 councillors on council and the mayor.

The minutes show four councillors opposed zoning changes for north and south Auckland - Cathy Casey, Denise Krum, Calum Penrose and Wayne Walker. The changes were approved by three councillors, Chris Darby, Alf Filipaina, Penny Hulse and Maori Statutory Board member Josie Smith, on the casting vote of committee chairman Mr Filipaina.

The central and west zoning changes were passed by a 6-4 vote at a separate meeting of the Unitary Plan committee.

The minutes also show that Mr Filipaina used his casting vote to defeat separate motions to request the Unitary Plan independent hearings panel consider late submissions from landowners impacted by the rezoning and for the council to advise affected landowners.

One councillor who wants the changes overturned, Chris Fletcher, said the issue was too important to be approved by the Unitary Plan committee. It should have gone to the Auckland Development committee where all councillors had a vote.

"I have been bullied by a number of people who are trying to suggest I'm anti-intensification. I'm in favour of intensification, but I'm not in favour of a botched process.

"It has been entirely predictable this was always going to be controversial. Therefore any work we undertook had to be evidence-based and democratically taken. That hasn't happened," she said.


Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said the council decided the high-level principles for the Unitary Plan would be made by the whole-of-council Auckland Development committee and the detailed evidence would be made by the Unitary Plan committee.

She said the evidence would be put to the panel, which would make recommendations to the council for final decisions in July/August where the entire council got to vote.

Green MP Julie Anne Genter yesterday said she had been lobbying City Vision councillors Mike Lee and Cathy Casey, who want the changes overturned. She said the Unitary Plan process was not representative of current residents and certainly not representative of future residents of the city.