Public Meetings on The Clunker

Preconceived Motions Do NOT Help Anyone


At times I have to play the devils advocate and go into bat for those I often would not. Last night at the Weymouth Public Meeting on the Southern Rural Urban Boundary and the Karaka-Weymouth Bridge, the poor planners pretty much got ambushed by some (not all – as I am being fair) of the Weymouth residents last causing the presentation to be cut short considerably. After talking to some of the other residents, then going one-to-one in front of the Unitary Plan maps with more interested residents  I can concluded (to my own opinion) some points out of that meeting:

  1. The majority of residents  have not read The Unitary Plan (I know it’s an 1854 page clunker but do what I do and read specifics to your area of concern (so anything south of Otahuhu)) at all including the Rural Urban Boundary Addendum. Meaning a minority have read at least some of The Clunker and (to be frank) showed in the line of questions they were asking. 
  2. Are not actually asking key players questions they might have on issues. The Karaka Bridge I would be hammering the AT Board for an answer until a resolution came out of there (sorry Christine I know that means more pressure but they need certainty in Weymouth)
  3. Someone in AT has shot their mouth off on the Karaka Bridge before the Board has made any firm decision on the bridge (I need to get a hold of that letter that particular resident had from AT)
  4. Majority of residents holding of preconceived motions – this comes from point one and they most likely not reading The Clunker. I really wanted to those residents holding a preconceived motions on the Karaka Bridge that at this point and time no FINAL decision has come out of AT (if it has then the Board is hiding something). Like the Eastern Highway the designation (if there is one for Karaka in the first place) has to be in the maps for all to see, this is in case NZTA decide to go run with the particular project and decide to build it. The only way to have the designation removed from a map for good is to get NZTA to remove the designation formally!
  5. If one does not know something, we will just go insult the planner anyway – not acceptable nor mature from residents who should know better. I don’t personally have time to rock up to public meetings to go learn something, talk to people, and enter dialogue if all some residents are able to do is fling insults. For your information South Auckland is anything south of Portage Road Otahuhu to the Franklin Local Board area in which it then becomes Counties Auckland. Overall the area is known as Southern Auckland! 


I wish I had my maps with me last night along with Councillor and AT Board Member Chris Fletcher‘s comment on the Karaka Bridge – as well as the RUB (as I had it in A4 colour) to help the planners. But I did not know the meeting would turn out the way it did, and I am hating to think how this is going to turn out in two weeks when the Mayor and Deputy Mayor trundle along.


This is Chris’s comment on the Karaka Bridge made recently:

Christine Fletcher There is strong opposition from the Karaka Residents I know to the proposed Weymouth Bridge. I am aware of a number preparing submissions in objection. It is a ridiculous proposal. It has no funding and does not appear in any planning document. Given that we don’t have sufficient funding for our existing and approved transport projects it is wrong to distress so many people on a proposal that will never go anywhere. Further evidence of the flawed thinking around the ill-considered Unitary Plan. You can imagine Penny Hulse and Roger Blakely playing with a big felt tip pen oblivious to the respective communities. I don’t think that I can attend that meeting but I will put you in touch with the independent planner consultant who is helping residents to draft their submissions.


I stress that Chris’s comment be read and taken into account. I also stress then grill the Deputy Mayor in two weeks on the bridge and how the heck it got there – but please residents; READ THE SOUTHERN RUB DOCUMENT FIRST PLEASE!


These are the maps on the Southern RUB last night that the residents would not have been able to see (yes you can print them):


I also stress the following point made in the maps:

  • Waste water treatment plant and transport link likely to be required


Emphasis on likely but not a “must” (although that treatment plant is going to end up as a “must”)


I am also going to reiterate what I said yesterday:

I have commented on this with my “THE RURAL URBAN BOUNDARY – SOUTH END“” post last week – briefly recapping:

Personally I am in favour of the Draft Southern RUB Options – Corridor Focus (Page 4 of the embed) which contains primary urban development to Drury and Karaka (Core’s K and D), along the State Highway 22 and North Island Main Trunk Line rail corridor, the North East Pukekohe flank, and the Pukekohe South East flank. This option keeps the main development either near existing development or along a transit corridor making infrastructure provisions (Drury and Paerata Rail Stations) and access more easier than the other options such as those that include Karaka North and West. Per The Unitary Plan there is an option to retain a green belt between Pukekohe and Paerata which would provide a wildlife corridor as well as park space. While development is kept away from the highly valuable Pahurehure Inlet which according to the maps contains colonies of wading sea birds. In any case that area slated as Karaka North and West if need be can be converted either into lifestyle blocks with strict covenants or over time into a new regional park and green lung for the ever-growing Auckland (which is what I would prefer Council would do (like an Ambury Farm or Puhinui Reserve set up)).

I have also noted as potential transport link from Whangapouri to Weymouth via a new bridge over the inlet as well as talk of a new waste water treatment plant. With me preferring the corridor option thus Karaka West and North not being developed – but actually wanting to be flipped over to lifestyle blocks or even better a regional reserve I can not see the need for a transit link through that area connecting to Weymouth. That link would create a rat-run from State Highway 20 at the Cavendish Drive Interchange, down Roscommon and Weymouth Roads (Route 17), over the new bridge, down the new transit link and through to State Highway 22 just north of Paerata rather than containing it to State Highways 1 and 22. That kind of rat running would lower the amenity of the new Greenfield developments and do nothing to solve congestion issues. As for the waste water treatment plant, well with Karaka North and West no longer under development you can away plop the new plant there out of the urban road but near the potential outfall site.


Submission wise I am going to follow through and “recommend” toAuckland Council that the Corridor Option for the RUB being the preferred southern Greenfield development options, providing there is:

  • A green belt maintained between Pukekohe and Paerata

  • New waste water treatment plant is built

  • That transit link over the Inlet is not built

  • What was labelled Karaka North and West either be allowed to be converted to Lifestyle blocks or even better a regional reserve seeming wading birds live in those areas

  • And that Auckland Transport will build the Drury and Paerata Mass Transit Interchanges (rail and bus station, and park and ride)



So what I am getting at in this post is the following:

  • Do your reading first and dump any preconceived ideas you have at the door
  • A submission simply opposing something is useless, you need to play the Council and AT at their own game and get an actual alternative across that is viable and a win-win for all. I have as seen in the above statement and is a card I am using in working with Council and the Unitary Plan that is a win-win for most (just not the land banker in Karaka West)


There is another meeting in two weeks time with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor being invited to be present at Weymouth School Hall. I will be present again and this with my maps and hopefully a clarification from Auckland Transport in that cursed bridge. In the meantime I am off to Milford tonight to go listen in on the intensification plans IN THAT AREA which is causing a certain amount of heart ache for residents over there.


One final thing: I know what the residents in Weymouth are staring down as I am staring down the exact same thing with the Mill Road corridor and the consequences it will cause (rat running being the main one) on the transport side. With intensification I also know what the Weymouth residents can be staring down as my house is up for re-zoning from Residential-1 to “Mixed Zoning”  (see my:  ) and the fact I am only 100 metres away from the Papakura Metropolitan Zone which allows buildings to go up to 18 stories high (economic conditions permitting). RUB wise I can also share the Weymouth residents concerns and the impacts that can actually cause. For me it affects the trains and State Highway One transport wise as more people need to be moved from the south. To the north of me I could be staring down 15,000 new houses if the RUB at Addison gets moved eastwards despite it being a floodplain. So Weymouth and Papakura are in the same boat here with The Clunker in all regards. I can understand anger and frustration but I do not tolerate preconceived motions nor insulting planners who are the messengers. You have a beef; take it with the Councillors and the Mayor…




6 thoughts on “Public Meetings on The Clunker

  1. John McCaffery: Manukau Harbour Protection Society

    Further to the ability or ordinary residents to participate in the planning processes of the Unitary Plan and associated planning proposals.Based on our over 30 years of experience in Planning processes including winning the struggle for cleaning up the Manukau Harbour the following represents our lack of confidence in the Planning processes.

    At the first round of responding to a planning proposal or scheme change ordinary people seek to make submissions explaining how they are affected by the proposal and why.

    At the first hearing stage unless they appear with a Lawyer’s or Planners evidence our concerns are almost always overlooked-Unless the submission is backed by an organisation; Ratepayers Inc Society, Conservation group, Iwi/ hapu , or Community group representing widespread public outrage and or petitions that concern the politicians enough to frighten them off going ahead with it. Planning and legal evidence and submissions cost a great deal of money to buy.Being softly spoken, reasonable logical , submissive and deferential to the experts gets you no-where except exhausted, broke, and frustrated.The concept of a Public Planning Defender / Officers in Planning in the case of this huge Auckland developments needs to be put in place now for the Unitary Plan.

    At the Planning Tribunal and Court level it gets much worse with submission being largely ignored UNLESS they are based on detailed specific Legal and Planning evidence which this time costs even more.At this stage also the Developers with an expectation of making vast sums of money from the proposal can and do afford to spend vast sums of money to present their case in the expectation that winning or overturning the Council level decision with pay back the legal costs -hundreds- thousands or a million fold.

    What communities need is a recognition that the current NZ Planning processes are anti- democratic as it is NOT participation that counts in the end,( unless in big outraged numbers) but PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISE PARTICIPATION that wins the day, the week the year the decade and in this case the next 30 years .

    Therefore the concept of a Public Planning Defender / Officers in Planning in the case of this huge Auckland developments needs to be put in place now for the Unitary Plan.This cost would be a fraction of the huge profits and Local Govt and Central Govt democracy benefits that will come from having a genuine democratic process with some sense of equal participation involved.

    We are therefore asking ALL Ratepayers Conservation and Community groups to ask Auckland Council to provide such a service ASAP.This will also allow the tight time frame the Council wishes to follow, to have some chance of being achieved and defuse those who say the whole thing needs to be delayed and delayed .By the way the longer the delays over the RUB the more speculators and developers will start to buy up land houses and sites to control where development should happen and make greater profits from having a 16, 8 4 3 or multiple mixed 300 m plot approved for the land they own or control.ordinary people will also get in on the act. Already residents in the new higher density Zones are being advised to with hold subdivision or sale until they can legally sell off( 300m/ ??? sq m) their existing properties for a far greater profit.Such extensive property speculation id not in Auckland or the nations interests.

  2. To readers of the Blog- I would be very interested to know why Ben considers predetermined motions / resolutions by residents to shut down an option before it can grow legs and become a real serious option is a problem ? The development of Karaka West was NOT on any Council plan or proposal. WEymouth and manurewa were not consulted at all about the proposals. Why is it now on all the RUB option maps, AT plans, maps and proposals? When residents of an area believe they are again being are hijacked by outsiders including planners and vested financial interests who seek to use wealth, local body and central political power and legal and PLANNING expertise to buy the development of their land into the Council Unitary Plan and thereby force locals into submission – all is fair in planning and politics for communities. While the comments to some planners was harsh it was not the Mayor who put the bridge on the RUB and AT plans – It was the planners themselves who appear to have put it up as a serious option – Why? They needed to answer this question and they refused to do so-Why?

    Planners and want to be planners and consultants have a touching faith in planning processes which in my 30 plus years of planning and legal struggles before the Tribunals Courts Council Bodies for Manukau local and community issues is seriously misguided. Planning decisions are as much about the politics of ordinary peoples representation as about long winded cripplingly expensive and vested interested planning processes that only those in the business can afford to take part in and usually be listened to. For a recent example attempts to take part in the new Wiri Prision processes were insulting and demeaning to residents who sought to make submissions and appear. Fighting this bridge and motorway and sewage plant issue on a “we dont want it and will knock it on the head strategy” is one legitimate way in a democracy of disposing of it early before we have to spent thousands to fight it through the planning processes- which we will do if necessary.

    1. This is why I caution again predetermined motions against something. Nothing wrong with having a voice, but I like to seek out information, clarity and compromise as part of my “voice” on an issue rather than doing a “folding the arms and going – Nope” option which Milford is going down with the Unitary Plan

      This is directly from Auckland Council on my Facebook page and provides (to me any how) full clarification on the Weymouth Bridge (Council even provided a link):

      Auckland Council Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and NZTA have no plans to build a bridge and new connection between Karaka and Weymouth. It is not part of future transport projects agreed under the Auckland Plan, or other current transport plans. No decisions have been made to include Karaka North or Urquhart Rd peninsulas in the Rural Urban Boundary (RUB). Options maps for the RUB in the south, available for public feedback as part of the draft Unitary Plan, show an indicative transport link between Karaka and Weymouth labelled as “a possible future transport link”.

      In order to retain the functionality of State Highway 1 in particular, a major new north-south corridor (such as a Karaka to Weymouth bridge connection) will be needed at some stage if the levels of growth envisaged in the south happens.

      We initially developed RUB options maps with no references to a bridge to Weymouth on the plans. A decision was made that it could be seen as disingenuous to consult on these options without making people aware of potential infrastructure implications of the amount of growth envisaged in the south.

      For more visit:

      What Council replied to is what I somewhat expected. If you don’t want the bridge then YOU need to consider the Southern RUB options very carefully and any alternatives around it. I have mentioned this again and again in the blog post these comments are attached too and else where in my blog

      1. We just don’t think the Southern RUB Report on Nov Dec Consultaions provides an adequate explanation of how a Bridge from Karaka West came to be a real serious development option from the RUB consultations never having passed through a full Manurewa / Weymouth or wider Auckland Consultation?

        Here it seems are the facts as we interpret them – is there another interpretation we have missed?

        The development of Karaka West block was not on any of the original RUB options that Council or any of its agencies seriously discussed approved until suggested( sold) by land owners in Karaka who either want to develop and or sell their rural land for a greater return.They commissioned a planning implications and a transport report in an attempt to sell it to the planners at Ak City involved. It worked . They have bought/ purchased their way into the Unitary Planning process and got it in as a serious option that is now being put to communities as an option on which we all need to comment. And what is worse that we the taxpayers and rate payers will be expected to fund for them ! Madness all round. The option needs to come off the plans and maps for consultation NOW . It could be reinserted if Council considers it appropriate, after this first formal consultation planning round.

        From a few questions at the consultation meetings- a Karaka West development option appeared together with statements on all of the three Southern RUB options and maps saying that which ever option was chosen a Karaka to Weymouth Bridge and probably a Karaka Sewage plant with a Manukau Harbour discharge as well would be needed ?

        The planners then added this security of link planning argument about needing two ways into and out of Auckland and drew up maps accordingly showing the Karaka – Paerata link.

        These proposals by the Karaka land owners group own costings add up as follows – Total cost well over a billion dollars ! This is a Billion dollars that could go instead into a rapid rail and main state Highway motorway upgrade or the Mills Rd option

        1) Some $550.000 = Bridge $200 million/ the road to link with Paerata = $250 million plus / Pukekohe – The upgrade to a motorway link to State highway 20 Airport Manurewa Roscommon motorway /expressway = $200 million plus.

        2) A Karaka Watercare Sewage plant and associated octopus links costs at at least $ 350 million or massive octopus links to Mangere to overload that plant at about the same cost. (We are already facing a huge problem with Auckland wanting a cheap solution to to dump its unseparated combined stormwater and sewage from old Ak drains back into the Mangere Plant to double its output- Instead of separating Storm water from Sewage as promised and taking only the sewage to Mangere , discharging the stormwater into the Waitemata as long planned).

        3) Crossing the Hingaia Estuary is also problematic and new bridges would soon be demanded

        4) Significant other as yet uncosted development costs that a formal Council / Watercare and other agencies exploration would have uncovered.

        Surely keeping development along the existing transport links rail and motorways will accommodate the housing and development needed, keep costs down, contain developments to existing or nearby industrial and housing developments and if we had the brains drive the case for a fast efficient rapid rail link to Manukau CBD and Auckland CBD- Why not not have several CBDs and regional centres and open another major one at Pukekohe for the South. A billion dollars plus for the Karaka madness as Chris Fletcher says would go a long way to assist with this . Perhaps if we had a few thousand dollars to pay for Transport Plans, favourable Planing Reports and fancy drawings and get this option well set out and costed -we too could buy our way into the Unitary planning processes and options ? The option needs to come off the plans and maps for consultation NOW . It could be reinserted if Council considers it appropriate, after this first formal consultation planning round.

        The Meeting at Manurewa / Weymouth to hear further from the Council and hear from Manurew residents and other Aucklanders about this option is set down for-

        Thursday 18th April 6.00 pm Weymouth School Hall 23 Evans Rd Weymouth We hope you can be there as the Southern RUB debate has huge, expensive and long lasting implications for All Aucklanders- see you there…

  3. Hi there Ben. I am one of those residents who stood and spoke extensively at the Weymouth meeting you’ve discussed. Yes, I’ve read the plan and I’ve made a point of focusing my reading on the specific provisions that relate to Weymouth (whether directly or indirectly). I have correspondence from AT regarding the bridge – from what I know the content of my correspondence is essentially the same as was received by the other resident that spoke of receiving a letter. I’m happy to provide you with a copy. Let me know if you do want one. Oh… one other thing… I may have been perceived by you as someone attacking the planners. I don’t think I did, though I did speak forcefully and I make no apology for that because the information provided is not balanced. As I mentioned at that meeting, there is a legal standard for consultation and this is not being met. There’s also evidence that there is a predisposition towards favouring approval of the bridge given that the principal planner who spoke at that meeting admitted tonight at a 2nd meeting with residents that each of the 3 options advanced for the Southern RUB Options “need” a bridge. Cheers, Dene Andre

    1. Good Morning

      If you would not mind sending a copy of that AT letter about the Karaka-Weymouth Bridge to that would be most appreciated please. The letter would give at least some idea of what someone in Auckland Transport is thinking, and more so who sent it and which department. After that I’ll try and get clarification again from both the Auckland Transport Board and the Council Transport Committee.

      I do remember who you were that night and your comments to the planners. My post is in no way reflective of you (if Rebekka my wife was present she would of spoken in the exact same manner to the planners) and your strong reflection of the situation at hand. In fact I commend you for it entirely – and hope you make your point again when the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are present as they need to be told. Even though I am not from Weymouth (Papakura) I might even get up and make my point clear to Penny Hulse at least on the Clunker situation in support of Weymouth. I could even suggest the Rural Urban Boundary option that would be best and would kill off that bridge.

      On a final note I did speak to two of the planners after the Weymouth meeting, I did tell them to be on their game a bit better in presentations for next time.

      Might see you again in two weeks when the Mayor should be present


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