Month: September 2014

Unitary Plan Hearings Under-Way

Day One Begins


From Auckland Council

Hearings on shaping Auckland’s development underway


New Zealand’s largest planning review gets underway in Auckland today with an Independent Hearings Panel beginning its deliberations on Auckland Council’s  Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

The hearing is before Environment Court judge, David Kirkpatrick who chairs the Panel, and seven panel members. There are also 15 mediators and facilitators who will help resolve issues through expert conference and mediation.

The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan sets the rules about how the Auckland region will develop over decades, including what can be built and where, and how to protect the environment and Auckland’s built and cultural heritage.

More than 9500 submissions were made on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.  The Panel will consider the views of submitters – plus a further 3500 submitters who have responded to the original submissions – over 74 topics.

Judge Kirkpatrick said the hearing is the biggest ever in New Zealand planning history because it involves the Regional Policy Statement and both the Regional and District Plan documents all wrapped up  in one document.

“There’s been a huge number of submissions and a high level of public participation – and that’s a good thing for such an important document,” said Judge Kirkpatrick.

He said the requirements of the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act made this hearing different from the traditional adversarial planning hearing. The Act has a requirement that the Panel use pre-hearing processes and mediation to help identify the most appropriate planning position for the Auckland region.

“So there’s a large level of the ‘Good of the Auckland region’ objective here rather than simply saying which side wins and which side loses,” said Judge Kirkpatrick.

“With the complex issues involved we have to have a very clear high-level regard for the sustainable management of the resources of the whole Auckland region. If we adopted a solely technical approach to our task we would ‘miss the wood for the trees’.”

He said the Panel is working to an extremely tight timeframe to complete its report to Auckland Council by July 2016 on changes it thinks should be made to the plan.

The Panel will be working through a process ‘from the general to the particular’.  It will start with the Regional Policy Statement issues such as rural/urban growth, residential and industrial growth and higher level transport issues. It will then deal with the more specific rule-based issues and then move on to the site-specific changes.

“It’s important that we have integration between the higher-level objectives and strategy of the plan and the methods on the ground,” said Judge Kirkpatrick.

“We could compromise a policy very easily by simply by having exceptions to the rules which give away its validity.”

Judge Kirkpatrick said the Panel is endeavouring where possible to come to decisions on issues when the Panel hears from submitters.

“It’s better that we do it when we hear from people, but we acknowledge that as we go through we are likely to have to go back and reconsider some of the things we have decided.

“We need to make sure that our decision-making has been consistent throughout and that the recommendations we are making to Council produce an integrated set of planning provisions.”



The Hearings’ Order Paper


The Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel website can be found here:


Talking Auckland will keep a roving update from the Hearings Panel as relevant information comes to hand


August ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking

Up a few places last month to 38th with the blog breaking its record in most views ever.

Open Parachute

Bloggers in the thick of election campaign? Image Credit: Against the Current

PLEASE NOTE: Sitemeter is playing up again making it impossible to automatically get the stats using the normal process. I have done a manual work around but it was still impossible to get the stats for a number of blogs that I list below. Maybe more bloggers will shift to StatCounter or other counter.

No stats could be found for these blogs:

Works in progress
Weakly Whirled News
Two Minutes Sport
Wysiwygpurple’s Blog
Stats Chat
Social Media and the 2014 General Election
Love your work
Today is my birthday
This Mum Rocks
Infectious thoughts
Science Behind the Curtain
Louis’ Outlook
West City Darts
Woodleigh Nursery
Kyle MacDonald
A conservative perspective
Save our schools NZ

There are now over 300 blogs on the list, although I am weeding out those which are no longer active or…

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Back Tomorrow

After a nice long weekend in Tauranga (I come back up to Auckland) this afternoon and one heck of a £%$” storm with Dirty Politics also over the weekend, Talking Auckland will be back full steam tomorrow with your Auckland issues and commentary.

Coming up this week:
1) The Southern Initiative finally gets going
2) The continuation of the Auckland Commuter Journey Series
3) If I can land it, a chat with Auckland Development Chair and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse on the first look at the 10 Spatial Priorities and what they might mean for Auckland.
4) If Auckland Transport come back by Thursday the Manukau South Link and where we go from there