West Auckland Needs Heavy Industry

West condemned to Commuter status unless it diversifies job base

A running theme through the comments department over the last month (although I have brought it up in the past) is the lack of an industrial complex of any size in West Auckland in comparison to the big five complexes in southern Auckland. The lack of such complexes (mainly heavy industrial complexes) in the West is part of the reason why West Auckland commutes a lot to the City Centre and to the complexes in the South. It also gives rise to the social consequences of not having a diverse job base such as social deprivation and unemployment (I believe now nudging South Auckland off that sorry mantle).

However, the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan will not address the employment via industry issue in any meaningful way.

Below is a zone map from the Unitary Plan. The yellow is the Future Urban Zone, land that can be flipped to residential, commercial or industrial. The cyan and darker cyan colours mark light and heavy industrial zoning.

Auckland Industry
Auckland Industry Source: Auckland Council Unitary Plan Maps

You can see the lack of any sizable heavy industrial zoning (let alone light industry zones) in West Auckland compared to southern Auckland. This creates the situation of the West being a commuter area with the bulk of commuters travelling to either the City Centre or the South with its industrial complexes. This is in comparison to the majority of southern Auckland commuting within itself.

However, not is all to despair with the West and a diverse employment base.

West Auckland Industry potential
West Auckland Industry potential

I have circled two areas in West Auckland that might be prime for heavy industrial zoning. The larger one would replace the light industrial zone north of the Westgate Metropolitan Centre. The same with the Kumeu industrial zone as well. Both areas have ample Future Urban Zone around them and are connected to either State Highway 16, the rail line or both (with Kumeu) so the transport links (freight and passenger) are there already.

The Kumeu area having the North Auckland Line running through it makes it also prime candidate for a rail intermodal freight port like the ones in the South. This allows the area to “service” the primary industries up in Northland and get the freight either to another industrial site for manufacture or to Port of Auckland for exporting. Zoning heavy industry and the operation of a rail inter-modal freight port in Kumeu might also take the pressure off the scarcity of industrial land in the South at moment  as well.

The heavy industrial zoning also caters for a wider range of activities that might be more restricted in the Light Industry or Mixed Use Zones. Film studios comes to mind being able to take up residence in the heavy industrial zone (providing other background noise was not too bad).

So perhaps if the West wanted to diverse its employment base and remedy some of the level of commuting that they do now maybe Councillors Webster, Cooper and Deputy Mayor Hulse should push for some rezoning towards heavy industry up in the West.

Topography of the West and North West

West Auckland Industry  Topography
West Auckland Industry

2 thoughts on “West Auckland Needs Heavy Industry

  1. We totally agree that the west and north-west urgently require more business and industrial zoned land to provide local jobs for the huge number of residents that are being planned for with all the special housing areas that have been approved.
    The March 2013 draft of the Unitary Plan showed almost all of the Whenuapai area as “Future Business.” The coastal fringe was shown as Future Residential. When the ‘Proposed Unitary Plan’ was unveiled the entire area was labelled “Future Urban.”
    Since then the council has approved one Special Housing Area within the earlier “Business” zone, and subsequently announced that it would make business land a priority. If the latter can be taken at face value we should expect at some point to get an announcement of a large block of business land being rezoned in Whenuapai. This should include plenty of land for light industry, if not heavy. The area has good motorway links to the North Shore and central city. The completion of the Waterview tunnel in 2017 should make this a very easy decision for council.
    But we are not holding our breaths!

  2. I would call those places Nor West and Nor Nor West. That’s Rodney. And that could be a good strategy for them . But that’s entriely different region and demographic to Henderson./Sunnyvale/Glen Eden. This area needs a strategy also. And there are long term ongoing serious issues with the current funding and political situation out West underpinning the problem. Our local activities were entirely different to what was described in our local plan. The vastl majority of our money is going into Trusts linked to the Politiciians and their assistants for contracts with unscoped deliverables which have been denied under OIA – loosely environmental , education, and social programmes which are available region wide but appear to only be paid for by West Auckland . It’s like CCO’s except without the accountability. With this section of Auckland getting poorer, social issues rise and we are seeing a rise in a more extreme political environment and the misleading local plans and council staff and politicians delivering festivals and social media via their programmes controlling what you think we are losiing the transparency and democracy required to make this situation better. The contracts to these trusts are Millions per annum but don’t appear to be listed on the Council’s new publshed contract list. Partnering with industry and the commercial sector requires that you don’t think they are the enemy. Auckland needs to deal with this. Zoning changes might be a long term option, but this plane isn’t flying straight and someone needs to pull some levers.

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