Unitary Plan Updates – Day 2

We Finally Move on from Residential Provisions


Two days later the Auckland Plan Committee finally got through Recommendations A-E, V, and W. Effectively 7 out of 69 recommendations have been passed since yesterday.

What happened on those two days? Some rather shameless (or is it shameful) politicking and lobbying via the now defeated Councillor Ann Hartley-slash-Auckland 2040 lobby group’s amendments. If some of the more dangerous ones passed, they would have held Auckland back towards 1950’s style planning for the next 30 years. There were a few amendments though that were needed to clear things up in which the planners supported any how (these were not wrecking amendments though). Councillor Hartley’s amendments had effectively grounded down the Auckland Plan Committee into spending two full days covering residential provision. The Committee has not even started yet on such topics as:

  • The Rural Urban Boundary
  • Business Zones and The Centres
  • Social and Physical Infrastructure
  • Port of Auckland
  • Heights in some centres


Despite what some representatives and others might think, I hold the liberal view that through defeating these amendments Auckland has stepped one bit closer a more liberalised planning framework. What does that mean? For every control the conservatives lug onto the Unitary Plan whether it be: 80m2 minimum backyards in the Mixed Housing Zones, minimum parking on the Terrace Housing/Apartment Zone and Mixed Housing Zones, minimum lot sizes (so opposite unlimited density in certain circumstances) and so on is a cost to the developer that is passed on to the end-user – the resident.

Furthermore the planning disasters we have had in Auckland are actually owing to two things:

  • The Building Act reforms of the late 90s and early 00’s which led to the leaking housing disaster
  • Over Planning (too many controls) which as an example led to the shoe box apartments we see in the city today

And so if the cost has to be passed on from the developer to the end-user what do we get? Housing Affordability and Choice out of reach even further for everyone, not just Anglo-Saxon nuclear families.

Now I do advocate quality urban design via the Auckland Design Manual and solid building of dwelling (such as treated timber, eaves, and good heating and ventilation of the house interior). But I will not advocate controls that interfere with a freer market to deliver the choices and price ranges to every single person whether they are in a collective or nuclear family living in Auckland. Controls as seen in Councillor Hartley’s amendments that were defeated today, and Councillor Brewer’s parking amendments that also need to be defeated.


I do give my absolute congratulations for Councillor George Wood for his reasoning, logic and sanity in voting down those Auckland wrecking amendments. Thank you George for allowing us to bring Auckland slowly out of 1950 to the 21st Century.


I have decided to be at tomorrow’s proceedings as the Councillors pass the recommendations on:

  • The Business Zones (including the Metropolitan, Town and Local Centres)
  • The City Centre which includes Port of Auckland
  • Social and Physical Infrastructure


Live Tweets and updates will occur as they happen.

Oh one last thing:

“Any urban plan thicker than one’s thumbnail length will fail and cost the city due to the said plan’s over complex nature which makes it beyond comprehension.”

Controls add to the thickness of an Urban Plan…

Remedy? DIET!



Talking Auckland: Blog of TotaRim Consultancy Limited

TotaRim Consultancy
Bringing Well Managed Progress to Auckland and The Unitary Plan

Auckland: 2013 – YOUR CITY, YOUR CALL