Experience from the Unitary Plan

Part One of my reflections of the last 11 weeks with the Unitary Plan


Writing this while listening to Q & A on TVNZ-on-demand is going to be an interesting exercise. Reactions on Susan Wood’s interview with Mayor Brown at the end of this post.

My own experiences with the Unitary Plan at this stage of the (long) game has been real interesting and an eye opener (and that is still being an underestimate as well) since the launch on March 15.

The Unitary Plan was launched on March 15 with the first round of engagement with the wider city having just closed (on May 31). I was in Australia on holiday when the Unitary Plan was launched and was not back until a week after the launch. But, once back in the country the extensive and leading independent commentary on the Unitary Plan would begin.

“Part One” in my experience journey of the Unitary Plan – essentially the first four weeks (March 27-April 2) was reading sections of the Unitary Plan and attending my first round of community Unitary Plan meetings.

The particular sections of the Unitary Plan are (and would be what I would submit on):

  1. Section 3 – The Zones and Centres
  2. Section 4 – The Rules and Definitions
  3. The Rural Urban Boundary Addendum (which includes the two new “taxes”)

The first round of community meetings would be on the North Shore and out in the East. However, a Council run Civic Forum was also run in Manukau which I attended.


This part of the experience with the particular three sections of the Unitary Plan will be the learning and networking part. Brushing up on what the Unitary Plan has installed for me personally and the wider city, seeing initial reactions from communities, and forging or strengthening relationships with both ordinary people and key players were occurring in this part. All this work in the part would be required later on as the UP debate became increasingly political and divisive from some quarters.

But keeping the commentary balanced (the Deputy Mayor has acknowledged my opposition to some aspects of “The Clunker” but also keeping mature through keeping the commentary balanced on both sides (what works and what does not work)) and running those thought-provoking alternatives – all starting from Day One is what kept me honestly sane as well as acting a moderator to a very hot reactor about to meltdown (the reactor being the city, the fuel being the Unitary Plan).

I suppose the question is; ‘Would I do this all again?’ Would I be a moderator plunging myself into a very hot reactor that could meltdown any time – again? The answer is yes I would and will actually be doing so again. Again being when the Unitary Plan goes for formal notification at the end of the year.

My next “Experience from the Unitary Plan” post will cover the month of April. The month where the commentary was running hot, the alternatives running hotter, the Rural Urban Boundary saga running white-hot, and the opposition finally getting a clue on the UP.

All here at Talking Auckland

Oh and as for TVNZ’s Q&A program. Note to TVNZ; get better interviewers who know how to interview. Oh and do your actual homework on the Unitary Plan and who is actually running for mayor. I want dialogue and critique, not Len’s predetermined PR spin and an ill-informed panel looking at our Super City elections…



One thought on “Experience from the Unitary Plan

  1. Good on you Ben….. The news media is alway there to make the news… Its seems to forget it should be reporting the news.


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