Today is the historic day when Auckland Council adopts The Auckland Plan – the vision document for the next thirty years. An agenda plus attachments of today’s historic meeting plus the final version of the Auckland Plan can be found HERE (meeting of 29th March)!
There are also a media article and a press release floating around at the moment talking about the The Auckland Plan and today being the historic day. You can read Stuff’s “Final draft of Auckland plan locked in” and Citizen and Ratepayers “Don’t forget affordability, say independent councillors” articles by clicking on the respective hyperlinks.
After reviewing the final version of The Auckland Plan and reading C&R’s piece I have come to the final conclusion that Auckland will be as of 10am today lugged with a C – grade Plan that does near nothing in addressing the situation at hand that is on people’s minds: Housing Affordability – not being priced out of a home. Transport came to mind but that I will leave to the Long Term Plan and Regional Land Transport Program when Hearings start for those (and I did submit on both so don’t worry readers).
Starting with The Auckland Plan
I have mentioned that there was one Tactical Victory and one Strategic Victory in regards to The Draft Auckland Plan in regards to Climatic Change and Urban Development. However reading the final Plan those victories have been overshadowed by the overall defeat in The Auckland Plan achieving its primary supposed goal – that goal being (or rather should have been): To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Liveable City.’
My goal was similar to the one the mayor had set out in The Auckland Plan, except mine had more “teeth” and actual objectives to it rather than the subjective terminology used by the mayor (in fact affordability did not even get a mention in the Mayor’s vision). Thus I look at Chapters Seven and Ten (Rural and Urban Auckland) and see apart from the Brownfield:Greenfield urban development ratio being moved to 60:40 (which was the strategic victory) the rest of those chapters are exactly the same DESPITE the editing or “playing around with English” that was made (playing with English means you change the words/wording but the end product is still the same as in the previous version). So I fail to see how affordability will be addressed in a Plan that showed little change.
As for the Citizens and Ratepayers piece:
I have time for CnR most days of a given week but today that seems to be in short supply. After reading the press release I had to wonder if the horse has already bolted and now they are trying to shut the gate.
I will post the actual release here – the hyperlink is at the top of the article:
C&R leader Christine Fletcher and key independent councillors have implored Mayor Len Brown and fellow councillors to not forget the principle of affordability in tomorrow’s governing body meeting to adopt the Auckland Plan.
“The Auckland Plan is a far-reaching, profound document for our city. But with all its grand plans for the future, it is missing one critical principle – that of affordability for Auckland’s residents and ratepayers”, said Cr Fletcher.
“That’s why I will be proposing an amendment by way of addition that the Auckland Plan does have regard to affordability as a principle. It’s simply not good enough for us as politicians to impose a wishlist of spending and visionary statements that will impact on future ratepayers and residents. For example, the Auckland Plan represents a 30 year program of spending, but as politicians, we only have provided a 10 year long term plan for budgeting”, said Cr Fletcher.
“Including an amendment to have affordability as a principle for Aucklanders over the next 30 years means that residents and ratepayers can have confidence that they won’t be priced out of living in Auckland. There are many people in Auckland who are on fixed incomes, or who will be on fixed incomes over time. They need the certainty of knowing they won’t be financially hurt to live in Auckland”, said Cr Fletcher.
“I am pleased that this amendment will have the support of the C&R bloc and key independent councillors. I hope it meets favour with an overall council majority as well”, said Cr Fletcher.
“Not to forget the principle of affordability.” Now if there was ever political posturing seen in local politics that would have to be it – as that entire amendment is nothing more that political posturing! The principles of affordability should have been fought tooth and bloody nail when Rural and Urban Auckland were being deliberated on by Auckland Council – however I see that it clearly was not. No point raising the amendment now if the actual question was failed to be addressed in the deliberation stage AND not mentioned as oppositional policy for 2013 when the next available chance for an Auckland Plan rewrite is available. Let me remind C&R of MY GOAL that I had raised and was even heavily scrutinised by the late Owen McShane – champion of urban freedom and affordability:
The Auckland Plan should have One Goal: To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Liveable City.’
In doing that I had written my land use chapter of my submission which can be found in the embed below. Simplistic as my Land Use Chapter was, the entire weight and merits behind that chapter laid in its simplicity – PLANNING SIMPLICITY. The very same planning simplicity that would (in my honest and frank opinion) be the best weapon in achieving that “Most Liveable City” dream that was being constantly hammered on about.
So has The Auckland Plan failed: I say it barely passes with a C- grade (lowest pass you can get at university) but it would not take much to tip it over to that F grade at all. The only thing stopping a total fail was Chapter 11 – Transport which had merits to it, if it was not for the transport chapter I would have given the Plan an F(ail)
Oh well – nothing short of the Prime Minister can stop today at the old Manukau Civic Council Chambers today as The Auckland Plan is brought into actual existence. Although I did not say ratified – that will not happen until 2013 when Auckland votes in its new council and mayor. We throw out existing members it means we reject the Plan, we bring them back in it means we approve the Plan.
So banging on about a C – grade Plan is not going to assist Auckland very much except maybe spin a wind turbine and add to “global warming” . The Plan needs a rewrite and can be only done in 2013 with a new Council in place – so a challenge to anyone: Stand by your Principles and run for Auckland Council to deal with the affordability principles?
My Original Submission to The Auckland Draft Plan