Unitary Plan Difference

Forgive me if I say forget them


The M-Central multi-role Tower nearing completion  Tower to hold apartments, food court, retail and maybe some office space
The M-Central multi-role Tower nearing completion
Tower to hold apartments, food court, retail and maybe some office space



As I suspected when the Proposed Unitary Plan zone maps came out (pretty much a year ago) the amount of down or up zoning across the Auckland area compared to the first version of the Unitary Plan was extensive. That is the Isthmus and North Shore is in favour of bottling itself and down zone its zones (so more restrictive in future urban development) while the South and West take the brunt and both up zone and take on more future urban zones.

Well Stephen Davis has produced a map showing how much was either down or up zoned and where this happened.

From Transport Blog

How the Unitary Plan Changed

One of the big disappointments with the Unitary Plan process was the way the councillors and local boards shirked their responsibility and gave in to a vocal group of complainers. That ended up seeing large swathes of the city have its zoning downgraded, in some cases to less than what was allowed for by the existing district plans created by the old councils in the pre super city era. In saying that some local boards were actually smart and went the other way increasing the zoning across large areas, this is particularly evident with the local boards in the West.

To highlight the changes reader Steve D has put together this map showing how the zoning changed between the Draft Unitary Plan and the formal PAUP that was put out for consultation. In the map below the key changes are shown as:

  • Greeen have been up-zoned
  • Red have been down-zoned
  • Orange is new future urban land.

One thing to note is that in the Draft Unitary Plan there was a Mixed Housing Zone. In the PAUP that was split in to two separate zones, Mixed Housing Suburban (MHS) and Mixed Housing Urban (MHU). There were a number of differences between the two and one of the biggest was height limits with the Suburban zone allowing for two storeys and the Urban zone allowing for three. Where a section has gone from Mixed hosing to MHU then it’s considered as being up-zoned while going  to MHS is down-zoned.

Unitary Plan changes from draft to proposed version on Koordinates (use that for now until the embed works)

What you noticed quite strongly is the amount of down-zoning on the North Shore and large parts of the Isthmus with larger swathes of up-zoning in the West, South and East. Also with hall that future growth in the North West and South the Northwest Busway and rail electrification to Pukekohe are going to be essential

Yes thank you Stephen for the time and effort putting into the map as it is a very good eye opener to the situation.


Upon pondering over the entire situation I am incline to say to the Isthmus and North Shore: SEE YOU LATER.


At the end of the day with resources (including time) being scarce one must pick the fights and battles that delivers the best outcomes possible. In my opinion constantly fighting the vocal NIMBY’s on the Isthmus and North Shore would be an utter waste of time right now. The City Centre Zone is under no particular threat through the Unitary Plan so I am more inclined to put resources to the South and West where they are willing (and also being at the unfortunate end owing to the Isthmus and North Shore) to do their share in bring Auckland into the 21st Century (of course the City Centre still gets its share as well).

Investment, businesses, people and all things growth will go where things are easy and “bureaucracy” does not hinder them. And the way the Isthmus and North Shore are going that investment, those businesses, residents and growth will head to the South and the West (as well as the City Centre). The Isthmus and North Shore will only hurt themselves as they effectively shut themselves off to a constantly evolving City (and the investment that comes with it) by the end of the Auckland Plan.

The question can the South and West handle the extra pressure owing to the Isthmus and North Shore not stepping up? The West might struggle compared to the South without the North West Busway in position so the residents can access the City Centre (their primary job centre) quickly and efficiently. The South can easily take the extra pressure owing to good transit links (road and rail) already in place (as well as being upgraded or soon to be built) to either southern or wider Auckland major employment centres. The South also has large industrial complexes (Wiri, Highbrook, East Tamaki, Drury South (planned), the Airport complex, and close proximity to Onehunga/Southdown complexes) within it, Manukau City Centre as its heart or “major” commercial centre, and two other Metropolitan Centres (Papakura and Botany) to assist. If push comes to shove the northern Waikato can step up too.


So to the people of the Isthmus and North Shore: Do you want to be stuck in the 1960’s while the rest of Auckland progresses into the 21st Century?

I am not particular fussed either way being from the South.