Tsk Tsk – For a Major Debunkment


Well I debunked Orsman this morning in my “DEBUNKING ORSMAN – AGAIN AND AGAIN” post. Sure enough it upset some centre-right conservatives and Orsman fans (despite the Twitter storm against Orsman this morning) which triggered off this response from me on Facebook:

A message to our Centre-Right Conservatives in Auckland 

If you want to know why I debunk Orsman day in day out ; it is because I will not allow the Main Stream Media to get away with misrepresentation’s and utter crap. That graphic purporting on Papakura was a classic example of deliberate misrepresentation on something that could never occur. What was more insulting of that misrepresentation was that is was of my home Papakura – where I live and shop. 

While I live in a Mixed Housing Zone and will look at a three storey house in the future in the area once the UP is operative, I am also 100 metres north of the Papakura Metropolitan Centre and know extremely well what I am in for through to 2040. And what Orsman used as a representation for Papakura that is false is insulting and scaremongering to the residents and businesses down here. I am also to believe that Orsman was handed the graphic by the Character Coalition which will irk me even further. Irk number one for Orsman not checking a graphic that is a misrepresentation which was subsequently placed in the paper, irk number two for the Character Coalition obtaining (again failing to check) or drawing up a wrong graphic knowing that kind of building can not be done in Papakura.

That is why Orsman will be debunked. The conversations from others on Twitter in relation to this matter reflect my sentiment against him as well



Well pretty much on cue the Council debunked Orsman and I even think the Character Coalition who “supplied” the false drawings that went into the Herald. The debunking was on similar grounds to my debunking but with the rules and proposals quoted under the Unitary Plan. I shall do a copy paste job over for your reading. The two articles by Orsman that were debunked were:





The illustrations used in today’s NZ Herald and credited as being “Supplied” are not Auckland Council illustrations but were done by a student. Those student impressions are incorrect and not possible under the rules of the proposed Unitary Plan. They do not represent development that would be allowed under the draft Unitary Plan.

They have fundamental flaws:

Sandringham images

NZ Herald

The sites on the corner of Sandringham Road and Cambourne Road are zoned Single House in the draft AUP. The Single House zone does not permit development of the scale shown in the image. The Single House zone has a maximum permitted height of 8 metres.

Papakura images

Secondly, the building in the background of the image would breach the proposed maximum tower dimension control for Metropolitan Centres. Above six stories, this control limits the horizontal distance between the exterior faces of the two most separate points of a building to 50 metres.The buildings shown in the illustration would fail to meet a number of the urban design criteria for development in Metropolitan and Town Centres. Examples of this are the requirements that “buildings should be designed to avoid long, unrelieved frontages and excessive scale when viewed from streets and public open spaces” and “buildings should provide a variety of architectural detail at ground and middle level”.

A building of the length shown would not be permitted under this rule. The image does not represent the form and design quality of buildings that would be required under the draft Unitary Plan in Metropolitan Centres.

St Heliers images

NZ Herald 2

Firstly, the buildings do not meet the specific requirement for a number of streets in the St Helliers local centre (including the two shown) that buildings are set back at least 2.5 metres from the front boundary above 8.5 metres in height.

Secondly, the buildings would not meet the very detailed urban design criteria for St Helliers, including the requirement for buildings to “respond to the elements that contribute to the character of St Helliers”. The key criteria are listed below.

a. New buildings should respond to the elements that contribute to the character of St Heliers and have regard to:
i. The contribution any existing building on the site previously made to the character of St Heliers as described in Appendix 12.1 St Heliers character statement.
ii. Where the site is located.
iii.  The existing or original street subdivision pattern and the extent to which buildings are articulated to avoid potential adverse effects of scale and bulk.
iv. The visual interest at street level should be maintained in order to enhance the pedestrian amenity of the street environment. Buildings should be designed to front streets, concentrating main entrances and windows on frontages facing the street.
v. Where appropriate incorporate a recessed street frontages to create transition space for outdoor dining, seating, planting or other uses.
vi. The scale of proposed building elements should be compatible with that of existing buildings in the vicinity. In particular, where a proposed building is higher than an existing adjoining building, to reduce the dominance of upper levels consideration should be given to differentiating upper storeys from lower storeys. For example, this can be achieved by setback from the frontage, change of building form, change of building materials/colour, or by other appropriate design variation.
vii. Roof design should maintain or contribute to the varied roofscape of the centre as viewed from the surrounding residential area.
vii. Rooftop projections including towers, chimneys, lift towers, machinery rooms, air conditioning equipment, ventilation ducts and equipment, or water towers should be integrated in an architecturally attractive manner as part of the overall design of the building.

b. Site development should respond to features of the surrounding context including: topography, streetscape character, scale and pattern of the public/private interface.

c. On-site car parking and vehicle circulation areas should not visually dominate views of the site from the surrounding public realm.

d. For development across two or more sites, including amalgamated sites:
i. the clarity of the grid-like structure should be maintained or enhanced
ii. the number, variety, scale and quality of public spaces, such as streets, lanes, alleys, squares and/or parks, are maintained or enhanced
iii. pedestrian permeability and comfort should be maintained or enhanced.



Before I go any further a comment on St Heliers. St Heliers is a place where I am keeping very special attention focused in regards to the Unitary Plan to a degree of fondness for the place. That would be stemming from what the UP has in store for St Heliers, me disagreeing with that aspect of the Unitary Plan, and creating the Special Character Zone in reflection of the St Helier’s community. If it was the Character Coalition supplying incorrect and highly misrepresentative photoshopped graphics to the NZ Herald I would be extremely disappointed of the Coalition. The Coalition does have ties to St Heliers and I believe knows of my Special Character Zone work under way. My disappointment due to the misrepresentation caused by the graphics in the Herald today would serve me to apply distance not from St Heliers and the Orakei Local Board but to the Character Coalition.

Work such as the Special Character Zones would of complimented the Character Coalition’s view on a special and specific zone to high character areas of Auckland. However scaremongering such as seen in the two Orsman articles has the very high potential not only to piss off the city as a whole but has the very high potential to annoy council and undermine any work towards things like the SCZ. If as an example the SCZ work was undermined because of the shonky reporting today then that would be a massive blow to St Heliers, the wider city, and myself after the work put in thus far (and what was still to come). I hope for the Coalition’s sake if it was them and the graphics today that Council does not go hostile to the SCZ’s.



As for the rest of it I shake my head at the shonky reporting from the Herald. But it is also what I expect from that particular “journalist” hence the constant debunking. The Council should demand an apology from Orsman for his trifle in both articles today. It does not help the debate nor the submissions with the Unitary Plan. It also makes the job for private and even professional individuals and organisations like myself harder as we have to scale back the misinformation before getting to the actual nuts and bolts of the plan. Local Boards would also be rightly annoyed especially they get swamps with concerns stemming from the articles as they too claw back the misrepresentation before getting the again actual nuts and bolts.

Maybe this might serve a reminder to people on where to go with Unitary Plan information. Certainly not the Herald (apart from Rudman when he does comment)…


Speaking of debunking take a listen to this piece from Morning Report on the 2040 Auckland group. The link is this’s-housing.asx

Radio NZ seemed to be providing the right questions and debunked 2040 Auckland rather well. The Deputy Mayor got on afterwards and then had her piece to say.



If I were take a guess at this I would say the level of misinformation thus the level of debunking in return will only increase as May 31 gets closer, and formal notification gets closer (whenever that is)…

A pity as it does undermine work like Manukau as the Second CBD of Auckland, and the Special Character Zones…



BR:AKL: Bring Well Managed Progress

The Unitary Plan: Bringing Change

Auckland: 2013 – OUR CITY, OUR CALL