Could The Unitary Plan Actually Hinder Auckland?
Meaning to get on top of this particular topic for a while but have been busy dealing with literally a million other things.
Recently there was a Herald article from our Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse on the logic and reason behind the current tact of the writing up of the draft Unitary Plan before it goes out for consultation next year. Whale Oil – Cameron Slater has been keeping a close eye on this Unitary Plan development, especially around the fact that we could lose the right of appeal in the Environment Court on Unitary Plan decisions.
Lets take a look at Deputy Mayor Hulse’s remarks in the Herald:
From the NZH:
By Penny Hulse
Council is working with Govt to speed implementation and ensure consultation.
This month, Auckland Council is starting extensive engagement on the region’s new planning rulebook – which will set out where and how our city grows for years to come.
It will determine how we protect our wonderful environment and built heritage and how we improve urban design.
This rulebook, called the Unitary Plan, is the next step in bringing the region together, replacing the various district and regional plans of the old councils with one document focused on delivering the vision of the Auckland Plan.
The plan’s role in protecting our environment, character and heritage, while helping meet our growing housing needs, is clear. Perhaps less obvious is just how essential it will be to our economy. And that’s important, because our economy needs action, fast.
Yes, there are many excellent, productive businesses across many industries employing many highly-skilled people throughout our region.
But consider a few basic truths. Our GDP per head is three-quarters that of Sydney or Melbourne: we’re each generating nearly $10,000 less – every year.We lose too many talented workers overseas. Business growth is held back by too little space.
And our city’s sprawling layout and choking congestion means too much of our time and productivity chugs out of exhaust pipes on motorways.
On top of that, our shortage of affordable homes means too many families are spending too much of their money on rent or mortgages rather than seeing that money circulating through the productive economy or invested in new businesses.
So what can we do? Plenty.
A simple example. A refurbished train station will benefit existing homes and businesses. But if we enable more homes – and a wider choice of housing – near that station, along with more business development, more retail and other local facilities, then the bang gained from our buck will be far greater.
And that’s what we’re looking at, right across the city. Auckland Council has planned the biggest infrastructure investment in the city’s history, in everything from regional transport to local community facilities. As we develop the “compact city” that Aucklanders have asked for (loud and clear, through 18 months’ consultation on the Auckland Plan), we’ll ensure more people and businesses benefit from each piece of that investment.
It will mean “communities with stronger local economies: more customers for more local businesses, more people closer to more jobs, more sustainable facilities and livelier neighbourhoods.
We need to ensure land is available for development, with an extra 1400ha of business land needed over the next 30 years – the equivalent of 46 rugby fields a year. So one of the commitments we made in the Auckland Plan is to ensure an average of seven years’ forward supply of land, zoned and with bulk infrastructure in place.
All the evidence shows that bringing businesses closer together boosts productivity. Having related industries side-by-side stimulates the exchange of ideas and innovation, which itself creates more jobs and higher-paying jobs, while more attractive locations will be a magnet for further growth. This in turn will boost our city’s competitiveness in global markets. Our ongoing partnership with businesses is therefore essential as we develop the plan and then seek to implement it.
Then there are the other benefits of a simpler, consistent set of planning rules: less cost, less time and less hassle. Around 20,000 pages of existing plans – many more than a decade old – will be replaced by one, user-friendly online e-plan.
And, meanwhile, the economic boost from a building industry expanding from 2500 homes a year to our expected growth demands of nearer 13,000 – will be huge.
So we need to get on with it, but we also need to be smart. Which is why we want all Aucklanders to play their part, to help ensure the Unitary Plan protects what makes our city special, while delivering opportunities for growth. We are working with Government to find ways of speeding up the plan’s implementation and ensuring people can contribute. The last thing Auckland needs is for the plan to be held up in long legal processes where those with the deepest pockets tend to do best.
We have been developing the plan over the last 18 months, with input from businesses, environmental and community organisations, technical experts and other stakeholders.
This month begins a year of wider engagement. The intensive burst of workshops and forums over the next couple of months – with significant input from the local boards – will test the plan before its draft release in March, when we’ll be consulting right across the region.
I cannot stress just how important it will be for Aucklanders to have their say.
This is our chance to ensure the Auckland our children and grandchildren inherit will not only be more inclusive, sustainable, vibrant and beautiful – but also stronger and more prosperous as a result.
Penny Hulse is Deputy Mayor of Auckland.
And from a Right-Wing perspective – Whale Oil’s perspective of our Deputy Mayor’s article
From Whale Oil:
by Whaleoil on September 26, 2012
Hypocrisy is a deadly label in politics. These days hypocrisy oozes from every rotten pore of Auckland Council.
Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse is doing her boss’s bidding in Granny Herald, arguing for shit-box apartmentsaround train stations:
“A simple example. A refurbished train station will benefit existing homes and businesses. But if we enable more homes – and a wider choice of housing – near that station, along with more business development, more retail and other local facilities, then the bang gained from our buck will be far greater.”
This is a case of “live where I say, not as I live”. You see, Penny herself does not live on the fourth floor of an apartment building above the train station at New Lynn. She lives in tranquil Swanson, and a quick surf of Google Maps illustrates the kind of compact city living that she calls home.
This same double standard is practiced by Len Brown, who talks a good game: apartment living … compactness … public transport …. blah, blah, blah. The only issue is another quick surf on Google Maps illustrates the spatial living arrangements that the Mayor enjoys, replenished with double garages (not a train station for miles).
So Penny and Len are involved in a game of seduction. But it isn’t a seduction of ratepayers in Swanson or Flat Bush. It’s called the seduction of Environment Minister Amy Adams, and the proposition is the removal of appeal rights, and the prize is a squalid Auckland based defined by tiny apartments.
The deputy mayor is all too keen to stress the importance of public input into the compact city plan. But privately the strategy is to do the opposite: denying people appeal rights so they will be forced to live around train stations. She figures it is better to crowd the masses on top of one another rather than have them migrate near those leafy retreats where hypocritical councillors live.
My reaction to all this? Rather scathing actually for many reasons. I will run another post of the Environment Court and the Unitary Plan later on (as I want to see this play out some more over the rest of the year first) but for the most part I disagree strongly with the following:
- Compact City
- Smart Growth
- UN Agenda 21
- “Solid” Urban Limits
- Anything that will contravene my mix urban development ideals and proposals seen in my submission to The Auckland Plan
Why? Again for a more fuller explanation check my submission to The Auckland Plan, but in short it is these reasons found in my What Do I Stand For and Believe In – For a Better Auckland page – mainly the:
8) Stay out of my way: I believe in the following strongly “Individual Freedom -> Individual Choice -> Individual Responsibility (oh and do not forget the consequences)” I am an adult who can make choices for myself (whether it was right or wrong), treat me as such rather than a child.
And that rule extends to where I want to live and in part Auckland’s urban development and choices as well (mainly people should (within reason) be free (yes I know of limitations) where to live and work).
I am awaiting for the Unitary Plan to come out in which I will be looking over with a very fine tooth comb before writing up an extensive submission back to Council on my thoughts of this “rule book of Auckland planning.” Needless to say that my submission to the Unitary Plan as well as any other submissions I have done since 2010 to either Auckland Council or Auckland Transport will also form the backbone of any policies for my campaign to Papakura Local Board next year.
But in the mean time you can (again) check my submission to The Auckland Plan below where I adopt the Liberal K.I.S.S rule for urban development, as well as this piece about Democrats against Agenda 21 (by the way if I was a US vote I would be a Democrat supporter and voter).
Submission to The Auckland Plan
Democrats Against Agenda 21
Note: My method while I do have ideology, values and beliefs is one: consensus, action and best of both worlds (if possible). Divisiveness is not my style but if a strong hand is needed especially in leadership – I can and am known to show it to see something through.