Employment Centres – INDUSTRY

Need to think of Employment Centres


Manukau is a Major One


And I Can Think of Countless others that are not the CBD


OUR INDUSTRIAL CENTRES being the Countless Others



The debate continues to rage about residential areas and intensification in those residential areas – particularly by those living either on the isthmus, The North Shore or maybe the Eastern Suburbs. However, a trend now emerging in the Unitary Plan debate is employment centres. Basically if we are going to house an extra million people where are they going to work. Discussion around our employment centres has been narrowly focused at the existing CBD’s and the centres (Local, Town and Metropolitan) – although with the centres it seems rather optimistic stuff here. But no proper discussion around existing employment centres or creating new ones that act as a true engine house of the Auckland Economy. And those employment centres I am referring to is our INDUSTRY.


This comment caught my attention this morning over on Facebook

  • Cr Dick Quax is certainly on the money w/ his predictions over where @aklcouncil officers are planning to site additional housing.

    Luxury homes picked for infill plan – National – NZ Herald News


    Billionaire Graeme Hart’s clifftop mansion is among luxury homes, schools, churches and golf clubs being set aside for possible infill housing and apartments in a new planning rulebook
  • Wayne Mason How come nobody talks about rebuilding Mangere or Otara with Apartment blocks ?? If the era of quarter acres sections is over lets start with the cheapest houses & rebuild there ???? The Government already owns them.

  • Wayne Mason Yea right , I’m on a pension but it seems basic economics to me. Build to increase the labour force where there are existing services & employment .
    • Ben Ross And where is our main industry for Auckland – I believe its Penrose, Onehunga, Wiri, Favona, Otahuhu, Mt Wellington, Wiri and Mahia  All very high employment centres

Okay I forgot a few centres such as Auckland International Airport and East Tamaki (which houses industry) but you get the point I am trying to raise here. The bulk of our main medium and heavy industry is located on Southern Auckland and Penrose/Onehunga.


I have mentioned Manukau as a second CBD previously which would see the area as a major employment centre down here in the south. However, Manukau would be a major employment centre in commerce (retail and office) not industry (the other employment half of the equation). So BR:AKL turns its attention to our industrial employment centres which are getting scant regard in the UP debates.

Now it has to be said that Council like Central Government do not create jobs but, rather influence them through their decision-making polices. And Auckland Council through the Unitary Plan needs to be favourable with our industrial employment centres. In the Unitary Plan, industrial zones are set out in the following:

From The Draft Unitary Plan Light Industry zone – Zone description

This zone provides for light industrial activities that do not generate significant unpleasant or noxious odour, dust or noise emissions. This includes light manufacturing, production, logistics, storage, transport and distribution activities. Due to the industrial nature of the activities, sensitive activities such as residential, office or retail activities that are not related to the predominant use onsite are not appropriate. An exception is made for trade suppliers, motor vehicle sales and garden centres, which may locate in the zone subject to location and traffic considerations.


  • 1. Light industrial activities locate and function productively within the zone.
  • 2. The establishment of activities that may diminish the efficiency and functionality of the zone is avoided.
  • 3. Adverse effects on the natural environment and general amenity, both within the zone and on adjacent areas, are managed.
  • 4. Development avoids adverse effects on the amenity of adjacent public open spaces and residential zones.


  • 1. Enable a range of light industrial activities to locate in the zone.
  • 2. Avoid activities that create reverse sensitivity effects and constrain the establishment and operation of light industrial activities.
  • 3. Limit retail activities in the zone to:
    • a. convenience retail that serves the local worker population
    • b. trade suppliers, motor vehicle sales and garden centres.
  • 4. Avoid office and residential activities, except where they are ancillary to the primary activity on site.
  • 5. Require development that adjoins public open space or residential zones to maintain and enhance the amenity values of those places.
  • 6. Manage development so that it does not adversely effect the safe and efficient operation of the transport network, particularly for freight. Heavy Industry zone – Zone description

This zone provides for industrial activities that may produce unpleasant or noxious odour, dust and noise emissions. Air quality emissions standards that are different to the rest of Auckland will often apply. A key attribute of the zone is that it contains sites large enough to accommodate large scale low intensity industrial activities. Sensitive activities are not appropriate in the zone and buildings are expected to have a mainly functional standard of amenity. The zone is typically located close to key freight routes.


  • 1. The efficiency of heavy industry is maximised without being unreasonably constrained by other activities.
  • 2. The availability of Heavy Industry zoned land and activities, which are required to locate there because of the nature of their operation, are protected from the encroachment of:
    • a. sensitive activities such as residential, community, education or medical facilities
    • b. commercial activities that are more suited to other business zones.
  • 3. The supply of large sites within the zone is not reduced by subdivision.
  • 4. Adverse effects on the natural environment and general amenity, both within the zone and on adjacent areas, are managed.


  • 1. Enable heavy industrial activities to operate with a level of certainty that their operations will not be unreasonably constrained by other activities.

  • 2. Prevent activities which do not support the primary function of the zone, such as:

    • a. residential activities other than for persons whose duties require them to live on site

    • b. office activities other than accessory office activities

    • c. retail activities other than convenience type retail to serve local worker population

    • d. the establishment of commercial activities that do not have a functional requirement to be located within the Heavy Industrial zone

    • e. community, educational or medical facilities sensitive to the effects of industrial activities.

  • 3. Avoid subdivision of large sites.

  • 4. Require development that adjoins public open space or residential zones to maintain and enhance the amenity values of those places.

  • 5. Manage development so that it does not adversely effect the safe and efficient operation of the transport network, particularly for freight.

  • 6. Control building location, height and bulk so that it does not adversely affect amenity in adjoining streets, Public Open Space and Residential zones. Particular consideration will be given to potential visual effects, dominance, loss of privacy and shading.


We have to be very careful in how we treat our existing industrial zones and areas in Auckland.  We need to actually treasure them as we would treasure our residential neighbourhoods (and I don’t particularly care if the industrial site has a big clunking factory on it – I find them some to be in awe of rather than repulsed) with proper transport and utility infrastructure for the place to function fully and efficiently. Hopefully the Unitary Plan will enable our existing industrial centres (our major employment centres) to function fully and without impediment. But in the same regard someone better tell Auckland Transport to improve the public transport in our industrial centres as well. It honestly sucks and needs some attention out here. Then again as a bit of a parody here I did reply to this in regarding on how bad our public transport is in our industrial zones:

  • Bryce Pearce East Tamaki, that area that has been developed with zero thought to PT
  • Ben Ross Our entire industry has that issue Bryce. Admittedly I am no better at it with industry and Mass Transit in Sim City Four, but that has changed recently with more bus stops and passenger rail stations


So if I can pull finger and improve transit connections in my old and new industrial centres (yes its SC4 but I am trying to prove a point here) which does benefit the city, then so can Auckland and Auckland Transport.


As for new industrial sites the Unitary Plan needs to recognise the fact we will need more Greenfield land for industry. I have noted the Drury Area Plan Change in flipping over rural land to I believe light industry (with the odd heavy industry site) per the Unitary Plan. However regardless of the battle that area is facing (which I believe will be in favour of the rezone to industrial) we still need more industrial land to support our population. The case is where?

That I can not honestly answer right this moment as I would need to look at the existing Wiri and Auckland International Airport sites, as well as the entire Southern Rural Urban Boundary area. Also I don’t quite want to go broad-brushing the entire Southern RUB area in zoning RCI (residential, commercial and industry) as I both don’t want to spook those out south AND jump the gun before any modelling is done by Council first (as I have called for).


But I will post some alternatives with industrial zoning per my submission to the Auckland Plan. These four industrial zones (with one still to be worked on) give some more flexibility with our existing and new industrial centres here in Auckland. They are:

From page  31 of my Auckland Plan Submission (see bottom of post for the submission in whole):


  • Agricultural Zone: Speaks for itself – farms, cows, sheep, horticulture, viticulture
  • Light Industry Zone: Small scale warehouses (like the National Mini-Shed storage complexes) and industrial type services (usually a small or a medium enterprises seen in places like Onehunga, East Tamaki and Penrose)
  • Medium Industry Zone: Medium sized warehouses, factories and high-tech industries. These types of industries would be associated with places like Fletchers Tasman Insulation plant in Penrose, the Sleepyhead Factory in Otahuhu, Bluebird Food Processing in Wiri, logistic centres like Mainfreight and Daily Freight in Westfield and Penrose and the Lion Nathan Brewery Factory in East Tamaki
  • Heavy Industry Zone: not a very common sight in New Zealand compared to Australia, we do not have car manufacturing plants for example. However Auckland does have arguably a few heavy industry sites such as Glenbrook Steel Mill, Blue Pacific Metal Mill in Otahuhu, the Fletcher Plant in Penrose and extremely large logistic centres like the Port of Tauranga Metro Port at Southdown. Per-se Auckland would not zone for heavy industry – however medium industrial zones should be open to allowing heavy industry to be developed on a case by case basis

Agriculture I have included under general industry as I believe it is up to the individual land owner to do as they wish with their land (as long as their activities do not cause adverse effects to the environment and if they do, those effects are mitigated properly). However if separate agricultural zoning is required than these are the sub categories.

Agriculture/Rural Zone

  • Large-Scale: your large dairy, sheep, beef or crop farms (minimum size 75 hectares)

  • Medium Scale: farming operations mentioned above but between 5-75 hectares

  • Small-Scale: your small scale stuff (under 5 hectares), this is where lifestyle blocks would fit in as well


Also in regards to my Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation “policy” from my Auckland Plan Submission

Existing Industry SLPD Review each area for LADU and redevelopment possibilities

Notes on Urban Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation

When dealing with Industrial Zone LADU, whether it be on existing Brownfield sites or Greenfield sites, responsibility in allocating the an SLPD with industry zoning in it would fall to the allocated central regulatory body (Auckland Council) rather than the Local Community Board. However the central regulatory body would have the obligation to inform and enter dialogue with the Local Community Board (or Boards) affected when Greenfield industrial zoning is undertaken. No obligation would be required any redevelopment in existing industrial areas (Brownfield sites).

*SLPD = Semi Liberal Planned District (found in my Auckland Plan Submission document)


Nothing concrete with the alternatives I have come up with but, some ideas to add to the Draft Unitary Plan to allow more flexibility with our industry centres.



All through this though and as I said above; we need to turn the debate to our employment centres out here in the South (there are those in the west and north too) as they are either existing employment centres or will be in the near futures. These employment centres are our often forgotten about industrial centres which are the engine house to Auckland and the wider nation. We need to treasure them and make sure they function to their fullest and most efficient potential. We have one million more people on the way and they need somewhere to work. Our commercial office and retail centre won’t just be able to cut the mustard – where as our industrial centres do. Time to take a look at employment through industry – and leave our residential centres alone for five minutes – please. Otherwise we will truly bugger the city up if we forget our major employment centres; Manukau and industry alike.



BR:AKL: Bring Well Managed Progress

The Unitary Plan: Bringing Change

Auckland: 2013 – OUR CITY, OUR CALL


Auckland Plan Submission