Debunking or Clarification?

Always Returning Planning to Local Board Level



The 2040 Auckland meeting at Takapuna Grammar last night attracted around 500 people and is covered by both Orsman in the NZ Herald and Joel Cayford with his blog. I will ignore Orsman unless I want to waste a post on debunking him again. But, as for Cayford I found myself nodding away to what he was saying.


The “meeting” yesterday however, would only reinforce my presumption that the Unitary Plan is an Anglo-Saxon Euro-Centric plan that is unrepresentative of a significant and growing proportion of Auckland’s population. You can read further into the commentary of the Unitary Plan being Anglo-Saxon in my “MISSING SOMETHING WITH THE UNITARY PLAN” post. Further more from comments coming out of that meeting another section of the population was missing (and I don’t blame them either) and that was the under 35’s. Yes even I did not go and rather spend time with the extended family watching the NRL, netball and movies than hear a one-sided fest on the UP. In saying that I have seen the under-35’s mobilise with the Unitary Plan. 150 at Generation Zero meetings and 20-30 in the Southern Auckland Youth Forums run by the Manurewa Local Board. All present, all just as concerned as the elders on the Unitary Plan having the potential to go very wrong very fast. So I wonder who is not giving a fair go here?


As for Cayford you can see his piece “Auckland 2040 Unitary Plan Meeting at Takapuna” by clicking on the hyperlink.

I did pick up these points though from Cayford

Meanwhile, back in the meeting there were questions from the floor. One bloke asked about the Auckland Housing Accord. I was a bit taken aback by Richard Burton’s response. “The Special Housing Areas in greenfield and brownfield. I think that’s a good idea. Completely separate from the unitary plan process…”  He failed to mention that it is Central Government and Auckland Council doing the selection of these areas. Seemed unconcerned by the fact that Central Government was about to step into Auckland Town Planning.


I agree with Cayford there and have commented heavily on the Housing Accord and Special Housing Areas. Friends in the National Party and Government have heard me against both aspects and reasons why. Cayford’s concern would be similar to mine (separate to the Unitary Plan process and government interfering). So I wonder if Burton either realises the actual issue with the Accord or vested interests somewhere? Hmmm


One “rethink the plan” point listed in the feedback form was of concern to me. It was the last one. It asks Council to re-evaluate the greenfields versus intensification balance in the plan. I would strongly oppose that submission – having sat for years trying to slow sprawl into Auckland greenfield land. The emphasis for compact city planning needs to be on mechanisms to achieve change – rather than blanket zoning controls that permit an unregulated free markets approach. The meeting heard from one resident who insisted that the city was growing and that it needed to change in some way to accommodate that need. I felt the meeting was short-changed a little on planning information about housing diversity, and about the housing needs of the broad demographic – including active retired people (who don’t want a big house and garden), and young people who would like to start with an apartment not too far from where they grew up.


Yeah well nothing unexpected from that lot in 2040 with the Greenfield bit. Harking back to what they know and 1950s planning? The 60:40 Brownfield:Greenfield urban development provision is one I called for then supported when it came up in the now operative Auckland Plan. I still support it as we take Auckland out of 1950 and into the 21st Century. My Housing Simulator attempts (crude as they are) outline how I would divvy up the Brownfield:Greenfield allocation with the 60:40 split, and I had a surplus of housing to allow flexibility in both areas. My submission to the UP will continue support for the 60:40 split.

What I came up with to give my take
What I came up with to give my take

That is the Housing Simulator mix I came up with and will be running with in my submission


While I take aim at 2040 Auckland with the Greenfield aspect of their submission, I do hear them more clearly with other aspects of concern. This is where the Brigade and myself are talking the same but differently at the same time. This slide I saw was rather interesting:

What this 2040 want with the Unitary Plan


I can see and hear everything single point made in that slide. This is what got me going again Councillor Dick Quax when he implied I was defending the Unitary Plan which you can see here:

  • Dick Quax Ben for someone who follows Council matters as closely as you seem to it’s ironic that you can only refer to people’s age as some kind of defence for the Plan. I expected better.
    • Ben Ross Dick do not assume under any circumstance what so ever I am mounting a defence for the Unitary Plan. I refer to age to point out the imbalance we are seeing with the UP feedback. Can you safely say 20% or more in the room were under 35? If not then a section of the city was missed – badly and sadly. My views on the Unitary Plan are very clear and have been clear since Day One. Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse knows it and acknowledges I refer to the UP as The Clunkler for a very good reason. But she also knows the effort and resource I have poured in to turn a crap hand to something more useful for the city. It is how I got the Special Character Zones for Orakei Local Board, the CMCPs and SLPDs for the entire city, Manukau as a Second CBD of Auckland for Auckland’s sake, Auckland as a megaopolis for Auckland’s sake. Heck even got approached by John Palino and had a very fruitful 2.5 hour chat on Friday discussing an alternative future for Auckland. So you can expect better Dick as I will go above and beyond the call of duty as a citizen and as a professional with the UP. It was so mentioned last Tuesday



Auckland as a Megaopolis, Manukau as the Second CBD of Auckland, Special Character Zones, Centralised Master Community Plans and Semi-Liberal Plan Districts, re drawing up the zones and centres to better reflect, simplify and solidify the planning process in Auckland. All mentioned, all drafted, all being submitted on that will cover those very points made in the slide above. At the moment though the information is scattered across many documents and blog posts. I am collating it into one master document though as I write-up my submission to the Unitary Plan which will be made available May 31.



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So do I debunk or clarify? Clarification it is as I go collate all the information together



BR:AKL: Bring Well Managed Progress

The Unitary Plan: Bringing Change

Auckland: 2013 – OUR CITY, OUR CALL