Initial Reaction to the Unitary Plan Changes – For the South

Not Amused Sorry


After a good couple of days with positive news for South Auckland as investment and growth flow into the area, the negative news strikes again. I just completed my first Unitary Plan map flyby of the South ( ) and it seems that for all the investment and growth coming, the Unitary Plan has effectively bottled in key areas.

Looking at the maps there has been down-scaling in the key areas of the south that would have taken the brunt of the Brownfield development. While we can see where the new Greenfield development will be going (the Corridor Option of the Southern Rural Urban Boundary – the option I supported) it is the Brownfield areas that have me more concerned.

I took a look in the Manukau City Centre area and its immediate surrounds and noticed thee things:

  1. Metropolitan Area scaled back (and height limit still in place)
  2. Terraced Housing and Apartment Zone lost to the immediate south of the Metropolitan Centre area
  3. The light industrial zone to the west of Lambie Drive was rezoned General Business Zone

These two fact sheets show the changes from the March Unitary Plan version to the current notified version:

Manukau City Centre



I am not particularly amused with both the Papatoetoe Local Board nor the Manurewa Local Board for effectively having a key strategic area bottled through down scaling in the Manukau area.

This is the map I submitted through which I will have to submit through again to the Commissioners

Click for full resolution
Click for full resolution

My submission to the March Version of the Unitary Plan can be seen here:

Effectively I had three core zones that would have allowed Manukau to develop and take the brunt of intensification. A general run down of the zone would have been:

  1. Core Manukau City Centre Zone: The only location that would allow unlimited height in the Manukau area of both office and residential towers. This would be the heart of both Manukau and South Auckland allowing greater investment as shown in the “Reinventing South Auckland” article
  2. Main Manukau City Centre Zone: The next step down allowing up to 8-12 storey commercial or residential mid rise buildings. Effectively the area would be a mix use zone and act as a flanking support to the core area.
  3. Manukau Semi-Liberal Planned District Fringe Development Zone: The final step down before you hit the wider Mixed Housing Suburban Zone. This would be effectively Mixed Housing Urban will provisions to allow some light small-scale commercial dotted around. Remembering the Mixed Housing Urban only allows a maximum effective height of three storeys.


This alternative zoning would have allowed Weymouth and other areas in the Manurewa Local Board area to have less pressure on them to intensify. However, with the down scaling of the Metropolitan Centre area (and still got that 18 storey height limit imposed rather than unlimited height) and the removal of the Terraced Housing and Apartment Zone to Manukau’s immediate south, the entire Manurewa Local Board area will be under more sustained and intense pressure to intensify, especially evidential here: “Reinventing South Auckland” and further outlined in my “South Auckland – The Rising Jewel in Auckland’s Crown” post.

Manurewa and Papatoetoe Local Boards are literally going to have to make a hard (or rather easy) choice here. Have the Metropolitan Centre extended and the Terrace and Apartment Zone re-installed, or the rest of their respective areas come under intensified pressure to intensify due to a bottling of enabling development potential in the Metropolitan Centre and its immediate flanks!


So it is a case of here I go again – this time in the formal submission capacity AND before Commissioners. It also effectively means from the three options on the submission form :-

I seek the following decision from Auckland Council

  1. Accept the Proposed Plan

  2. Accept the Proposed Plan with Amendments as outlined below

  3. Decline the Proposed Plan

I would be declining the proposed plan unless the respective Local Boards swing round and get that upscaling back into the Manukau area. Not exactly the position I want to be in when it comes to the Hearings in front of the Commissioners. I would gather you would be cross-examined quite intensely for rejecting the proposed plan out right rather than accepting and going for amendments. However, it will be a decision I will make closer to the time I send my submission in.


Time to take a good hard look at this and get ready to make a solid and robust submission to the Unitary Plan


I also just picked up this Tweet:

Unitary Plan zoning pattern has no resemblance whatsoever to the Auckland Plan development strategy. WTF?


I wonder if that will mean legal issues as I know the Unitary Plan is a statutory document and the Auckland Plan is also statutory. The UP is meant to follow  the Auckland Plan as the AP is the Master Document so I wonder if there is a potential mess the Council AND Local Boards are about to fall into.

Need to check on this


In the meantime though we can not bottle the increased growth and investment down here in the South.  Not when it presents massive potential for the entire sub region to uplift and better itself. And the only way we of the South get to have the chance to uplift is by allowing minimal (NIMBY) restrictions get in the way of that growth and investment.