Skewing of the Unitary Plan

White, Senior (in age), Conservative and from either Central or North Auckland

Had two articles I could have written on this morning. One being on Auckland Transport and the other on the Demographics of the Unitary Plan.

Tell you what here is the AT post in a few bullet points as the news was that underwhelming:

And we wonder why our public transport system has issues…

Simple though explaining AT for the month now wasn’t it. So back to the Unitary Plan.


Demographic Skewing

Last night I caught via Twitter a report done for Auckland Council. The report was on last November’s People’s Panel Online Forum for the Unitary Plan. I am a member of the panel and participated in that forum. In short the report was outlining the demographics of those who participated in the Forum and the skewing of a particular demographic in that forum.

The report can be seen here

I want to point out some key findings of the report here:

Demographics of UP 1 Demographics of UP 2

Click for full resolution

Basically what the graphs show is that: If you are “White, Senior (in age), Conservative and from either Central or North Auckland” you made yourself heard in the Unitary Plan Online Forum. While I have no issue of people making their issues known, a heavy skewing to one particular demographic has some major issues.

I could go on about what my Political Studies lecturers went on about in my University of Auckland years but I don’t want everyone being put to sleep either. But in short what you get is one segment of the community over represented and another segment under represented. This is deadly for democracy as the (either) vocal minority or majority can have undue influence on the democratic processes – including the Unitary Plan.

This over vocal situation then gets played out in the main stream media such as the New Zealand Herald (and often why I go debunk Orsman (although not needed today)). This leads to further skewing of the demographic “representation” towards the Unitary Plan and can befuddle the Councillors and bureaucracy to the thoughts and opinions of those who have not spoken up (again the South and West). And again this situation is deadly to democracy as we get an unrepresentative situation with comments on the UP. Autocracy is a word I am thinking of here.

So because Central and North Auckland are being vocal in what they want with the Unitary Plan, does not mean it is what the silent citizens in the South and West want with the Unitary Plan in their own minds and eyes. The Council must realise this when forming decisions over the Unitary Plan.

In saying this though I must be clear that the South has been busy with their Unitary Plan submissions and meetings. Some people need a big shout out and I am going to start with Angela Dalton and Simeon Brown of the Manurewa Local Board:


 Coming up tomorrow on Talking Auckland (formerly BR:AKL)
  • If you are “White, Senior (in age), Conservative and from either Central or North Auckland” you have skewered the discussion of the Unitary Plan – and this is not a good thing either

    How? Find out tomorrow #shapeauckland

    • George Wood What about places like Weymouth, Wattle Downs, (Angela Angela Dalton andSimeon Brown territory) and Howick/Pakuranga ( Michael WilliamsDick Quax and Sharon Stewartterritory).
    • Nick Kearney George, where were the Asian community in Northcote tonight? Why didn’t the organisers ask them to attend? They *are* Northcote.
    • Angela Dalton I can assure you my meetings have covered most ages and most races and have been fairly representative of the demographics of my part of the city.
      • Ben Ross Without Angela nor Simeon amongst others, we wouldn’t of got a fairly representative mix down here in the South 
        Good for them for going out there with the UP to their communities
    • Nick Kearney Good for you, Angela. It seems they were excluded from the Northcote meeting.
    • George Wood No one was excluded from the Northcote meeting tonight. The Asian community may have attended the earlier meetings in Northcote.
    • Nick Kearney They should have been specifically invited.
    • George Wood They probably were Nick. Getting 150 along to a meeting on a Sunday night is a fairly good effort.

The comment thread also shows the skewing situation as shown in the Northcote meeting last night on the UP.

I also caught this comment that would ring rather true in ONE aspect of South Auckland not participating in the Unitary Plan process: “South Auckland – more concerned on day-to-day survival, feeding the kids, and whether we have a job the next day. Thus too busy to focus on Unitary Plan…”

A sad indictment of reality down here? Hate to say it but most likely. A reminder that Weymouth is up for Mixed Housing while the Manurewa Town Centre is up for 8 storeys as it designated a Town Centre under the UP.

I don’t quite think despite me asking Council the true socio-economics have been taken into account down here in the South.

I better clean up my submission for the Unitary Plan as the May 31 deadline approaches. But I know already the submissions in will be heavily again from this category: “white, Senior (in age), Conservative and from either Central or North Auckland” which is while okay, it is not okay as well…

One thought on “Skewing of the Unitary Plan

  1. I think Auckland Council has a lot to answer for. The Draft Unitary Plan is very complex and really only accessible on line. Only after the community consultation meetings were well underway were more paper copies of the Plan made available at libraries, and the Local Board factsheets produced. They are are in English so bad luck if English is not your first language. Also the Unitary Plan presentations were generic and not targeted to the specific community they were held in. For instance why come to Weymouth and not talk about the mixed housing zone and even THAT BRIDGE until questions/comments were made from the floor?? And the Southern RUB/bridge/highway information needed for Weymouth residents to give informed feedback on issues that could have huge impacts on their community has changed over the feedback period. Even the maps have changed since 15 March. Last changes on the RUB option maps happened only mid May and no one informed the Weymouth residents that they had happened. And where is the only place to find that new information? -On line. How can you give feedback if you don’t understand the consequences of Unitary Plan zoning and RUB options, and the information you require to give meaningful feedback keeps changing? Council has been less than transparent with Weymouth residents. We have had to muddle along finding information out for ourselves. Thank goodness for you and your many Unitary Plan posts on this blog Ben.

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