Report on Today’s Auckland Plan Committee Proceedings

Two Hours on the Processes – Not the Mixed Housing Zone or Terrace Housing and Apartment Zone


The Auckland Plan Committee today discussed the first two workshops around the Unitary Plan post May 31 feedback deadline. Well that is the Auckland Plan Committee were MEANT to be discussing the results of the first two workshops (June 19 and 26) but, for two hours decided to discuss the “process” instead.

Unfortunately I can not link the video as it is behind a Pay-wall. However, you can track my Tweets on the affair today via @BenRoss_AKL and for some the #shapeauckland hash tag (which spams the Shape Auckland council website as well).

You can see what was meant to be discussed in the Addendum which I will embed below. In short the Councillors were meant to be looking at this and giving a set of directions on these aspects:

24. The following interim direction was generally agreed at the 26 June 2013 workshop in relation
to the Mixed Housing zone:
a. Investigate splitting the mixed housing zone into two sub-zones and investigate options
as follows:

  1. (i) A mixed housing sub-zone, generally located next to the Terrace Houseand Apartment Building zone and centres;
    1. up to 3 storeys (10m) in height, restricted discretionary consent with design assessment, non–notified; Undertake further work on a possible 11m height considering practical and architectural merits.
    2. over 10m in height fully discretionary consent, silent on notification
  2. (ii) A mixed housing sub-zone, generally between the above zone and the single house zone;
    1. 2 storeys (8m) permitted height limit;
    2. over 8m height fully discretionary consent with design assessment, silent on notification.
  3. (iii) Officers to develop a full package of controls for both mixed housing sub-zones including:(iv) Investigate opportunities to zone areas of the current Single House zone into the two storey Mixed Housing sub-zone where there are no heritage or environmental constraints. This requires discussion with local boards at the mapping workshop.
    1. – density
    2.  landscaping
    3. – height to boundary
    4. – set backs
    5. – site coverage (different between both sub zones)
    6. – neighbourhood character
    7. – infrastructure availability (including community facilities)
    8. – topography

The Terrace Housing and Apartment Zone was also meant to be discussed as well today but, the main focus was on the new split with the Mixed Housing Zone. In what could be said as irony (although I did “warn” Councillor Brewer) it was the splitting of the Mixed Housing Zone that caused the two-hour debate on processes rather than the actual new sub-zones themselves (the sub-zones are mentioned in the bullet points above).

Two things basically happened:

  1. The Mixed Housing Zone – sub zones have themselves gone to a workshop for deliberation behind closed doors
  2. Because the splitting of the MHZ won’t work in Orakei but will in Papakura, Councillor Brewer passed a recommendation which passed by an absolute majority this morning. More in that recommendation in a moment.


We were meant discussing essentially this which has come out of the two workshops thus far:

That the Auckland Plan Committee:

  • a) Discuss and agree the interim directions (outlined in the report) relating to:
    • i) Principles for building heights in centre zones
    • ii) Principles for building heights around centres in the Terrace Housing and Apartment Building zone
    • iii) Principles for notification for height infringements in centres and the TerraceHousing and Apartment Building zone
    • iv) Principles for volcanic viewshafts and blanket height sensitive areas
    • v) Approach to design quality
    • vi) Provisions in the Mixed Housing zone
    • vii) Provisions in the Terrace House and Apartment Building zone
    • viii) Minimum dwelling size controls
    • ix) Notification of development control infringements.
  • b) Forward this report and resolutions to all local boards for their information.

None of that was discussed at all in any substantive way that was expected but, the recommendations all passed. Cute we pass a series of critical recommendations but, no actual substantive discussion on it. Fart-arsing around this:

  1. (i) A mixed housing sub-zone, generally located next to the Terrace Houseand Apartment Building zone and centres;
    1. up to 3 storeys (10m) in height, restricted discretionary consent with design assessment, non–notified; Undertake further work on a possible 11m height considering practical and architectural merits.
    2. over 10m in height fully discretionary consent, silent on notification

…does not count as no counter-recommendation was put forward by ANY of the Councillors. For heaven’s sake I wish I was on that table as a Councillor today and in places I was biting my tounge really hard (but spamming Twitter hard enough). As I said earlier just because the MHZ sub zone splitting might not work in Orakei does not mean it should not have a chance to work in Manukau and Papakura that are more suited to it.

While Councillor Brewer was going through his counter-recommendation (and I warned him on this after the fact) I already came up with a further counter-strategy to get the MHZ splitting through as is for the South while the Isthmus works itself out using the Special Character Zone framework I drew up and posted in my submission. Come on Councillor think faster here…


So what effectively because of the MHZ splitting which I did submit on giving such an idea we get this motion from Councillor Brewer:

That these proposed interim directions and principles be instead sent back to the local boards for their consideration, feedback and guidance before anything agreement by the Governing Body

It is basically a middle step that can do one of two things:

  1. Send the MHZ splitting back to the Local Boards so they can consult on the new material with their communities and feedback to the Council and Auckland Plan Committee. 
  2. Stall proceedings out of pure politicking and grandstanding

Now Point One I can understand concerns that would give rise to that. The Addendum is the first time I have seen the MHZ split for which I agree in 90% of the aspects per my own submission. But, Point One could have been easily dealt with in moving the main recommendations. With the MHZ splitting going to the workshops, this should give the Local Boards enough time to get further feedback on this so it can come back to either a workshop or the next APC meeting. However, and this comes out to Point Two and some uncreative thinking of the Councillors; this did not occur and we are wondering what the hell now.

Point Two is what effectively happened because of Councillor Brewer’s motion. Whether Cameron intended on that or not is beside the point. I warned Cameron after the proceedings that he should have followed my Point One as the South is effectively ready to go with the MHZ split (that is in a better position to take it that the isthmus). For two entire hours I basically saw half the Council chamber grandstand on whatever politics and barrows they had to push rather than go through the recommendations line by line by line.

I believe the word dysfunctional or kiddies in the play box (wait I did use that one again on Twitter) would be best suited here. Given that I sat next to an international visitor who did pass a comment on the proceedings being play ground politics – OUCH!

Look Brewer’s motion had merit to it on the provision that it was based on Point One rather than Point Two. Cameron (as did Desley) did reassure that his motion which passed on an absolute majority level was around Point One. Okay Cameron now that your recommendation passed make sure Point One is the real reason behind your motion


Now even though Cameron’s motion passed by an absolute majority (over 75%) I wonder which Councillors did back it, did it on either Point One or Point Two. I’d say most did it on Point Two – GRANDSTANDING!


52% of Submissions Only “Ready”

What has not helped the case today and fuelled the issues that would have caused Point One and Point Two sentiment from Cameron’s recommendation is that only 52% of the submissions have been “codified” and sent to both Local Boards and the Councillors for their viewing. This means 48% are not ready yet nor been seen by our representatives yet.

It was told by the Deputy Mayor that all 100% of our submissions will be available to our representatives by Friday last week. According to Chief Planning Officer Dr Roger Blakeley, all our submissions will not be available to the Councillors and Local Boards until this Friday a week late.

Now we have no idea when all 22,700 pieces of Unitary Plan feedback will be on the Council website for our public viewing. Although least I sent my electronically rather than by paper copy. Scanning 104 pages would not be “funny” although I make no apologies.

And so I can hear Councillor Brewer and Orakei Local Board Chair Desley Simpson’s concerns around how can the Committee proceed when not all submissions are available. However, a motion to stall the proceedings until all submissions are “ready” was not called for so the circus around this drags on (where are our savy Councillors).



And so we have a mess folks, an absolute Ruddy mess (sorry had to slip that in 😛 ). How are we meant to have confidence in the process when the bulk of the Councillors passed Cameron’s motion on grandstanding grounds. AND HOW ON EARTH are we meant to have confidence in our elected representatives when two hours were wasted on Cameron’s motion yet the main recommendations passed without a hint of substantive discussion and deliberation.

48% of our submissions are also not ready so yes how are the Councillors and Local Boards meant to make an informed decision especially around the white-hot topic issue of Mixed Housing and the Terrace and Apartment Zones.

Something is critically wrong here and by the looks of it this is not going to get better with the current lot around the main table.

Your comments and thoughts folks in the box below please


Addendum Agenda

My own feedback to the Draft Unitary Plan [check from page 31]



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