Exclusive: Would You Want To Live Here? #AKLPols

Minister wants to build houses in this location in Manukau City Centre

Recently Housing Minister Nick Smith announced that the Government will release Crown Land to private developers for housing. The issue is already causing threats of legal action by Auckland’s Nagti Whatua as it sees the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi being roughshod especially after the Treaty Settlement last year. I hope Auckland Iwi take the Government to task in the Courts over that situation and what can be deemed an injustice.

But while that issue is brewing away in central Auckland another issue has popped up in South Auckland. That is the site at 52 Manukau Station Road, Manukau City Centre which is currently NZTA land under the Public Works Act is slated for either terraced housing or an apartment tower.

The location of the Manukau site:

Manukau housing site housing map close up
Manukau housing site housing map close up

The site is surrounded by three arterial roads and the South Western Motorway (SH20), a quick walk to the Manukau Station and soon Bus Interchange, and the mall is a quick five-minute walk to the north (top right corner). The zone for the site is Metropolitan Centre Zone which means you can go up to 18 storeys if one was inclined to do so. Being a Metropolitan Centre Zone means commercial retail and office can also be built.

The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan map for the site:

Manukau housing site zone map
Manukau housing site zone map

Now what you can see to left some dark cyan colour applied. That zone signals Heavy Industrial Zone as it is part of the Wiri Heavy Industrial Complex. The Prevailing winds are from the West and South West (the map is orientated to point North).

The proposed housing flanked by four heavy roads and heavy industrial zoning? Alarm bells should start ringing straight away on this alone if you plan to put housing there.

I entered 52 Manukau Station Road into the Unitary Plan search box to see what overlays come about as well as the base zone. What I got should concern everyone.

  • Air Quality Transport Corridor Separation
  • Aircraft Noise
  • Aircraft Noise – Auckland Airport – aircraft noise notification area
  • Aquifer [rp]
  • Designations
  • Designations – Airspace Restriction Designations
  • Heavy Industry Air Quality
  • Heavy Industry Air Quality – Sensitive Activity Restriction
  • High Use Stream Management Area [rp]
  • Indicative Streams [i]
  • Stormwater Management Area [rp]
  • Stormwater Management Area [rp] – Flow 2

The Air Quality Transport Corridor Separation overlay is below:

Manukau housing site zone map transport overlay
Manukau housing site zone map transport overlay

In short the three overlays I have placed in bold above should be alerting to potential developers the problems with the 52 Manukau Station Road site.

The transport overlay is there because of the motorway and the noise and air pollution the motorway generates. Both not very conductive to healthy residential living.

The two Heavy Industry overlays are also flagged owing to the pollution from both the Wiri heavy industrial complex in very close proximity and the resulting heavy trucks going to and from the complex (using the motorway and Lambie Drive Interchange).

The map below gives the wider context to the situation:

Manukau housing site housing map
Manukau housing site housing map

The Heavy Industry overlays would also be there as I see it as reminder to protect the existing land uses of the Wiri complex. That is new residents to that 52 Manukau Station Road site should not be able to infringe on the existing industrial activities. So problems are going to present itself especially if Wiri intensifies industrial wise.

While noise pollution can be dealt with in any new residential construction via sound proof walls and double glazing windows (which will drive costs up as is for the standard needed for the noise near by) the air pollution by a motorway and near by heavy industrial complex is not so easy to deal with.

The question we must be asking (before I get to the Public Works Act question) is why on Earth would you want to build residential dwellings that is surrounded by three arterial roads, a motorway, and right next door to a heavy industrial complex. Why would I want to subject residents to that noise and air pollution when there is perfectly good sites further north and north-east in Manukau City Centre that don’t face the same negative effects.

The answer is looking at the planning maps is I wouldn’t and neither should the Minister. Simply put the site location is crap and suited for either an urban forest green space or a bus park supplementing the Manukau Interchange to be built near by.

If the Minister gave a real damn about housing he would be pushing Development Auckland (Auckland Council Property Limited at the moment) to pull finger and get the segment of land on Lot 59 left over from the Transport Interchange flipped into a mixed use complex. Mixed use being retail and office on the lower third and residential on the top two thirds of an 18 storey (preferably higher like 26 stories).

Yellow is the bus interchange, Red the land set aside for passive recreation, the cyan is designated for urban development
Yellow is the bus interchange, Red the land set aside for passive recreation, the cyan is designated for urban development

The Public Works Act, and the Treaty of Waitangi

We also have a slight problem on who owns the land at 52 Manukau Station Road. In 2002 under the Public Works Act NZTA (well its predecessor) bought the site off the former Manukau City Council for the purpose of State Highway 20. Now I believe the land is surplus to NZTA requirements and under the Public Works Act the land must be given back to the original owner. So in this case it is Auckland Council via ACPL and soon Development Auckland. I am not sure if there is a Treaty Claim on it and if there is then that would be sorted first and whichever Iwi able to exercise First Right of Refusal.

I believe the Housing Act 1955 claim made by Nick Smith doesn’t wash here and hence the most likely challenge by Nagti Whatua against the Government over it.

If Nagti Whatua do win a subsequent Court fight and we are reverted back to the Public Works Act for the Manukau Site then Smith might be in further problems if Council gets pushy and wants its land back (and it should).

The entire process set forward by the Minister seems deeply flawed and probably should be dumped outright immediately.

—–Comment for Main Stream Media Purposes—-

I do wonder if Housing Minister Nick Smith in doing his part to get housing moving in Auckland has thought out some of the sites he announced last week.
The site at Manukau Station Road opposite MIT and Manukau Station might seem suitable but what were the fish hooks in terms of planning rules for that site.
The site is surrounded by three arterial roads and the South Western Motorway, with Wiri industry just across Lambie Drive. The noise and pollution generated by both those roads and Wiri would blow over onto the Minister’s proposed housing site making quality of living undesirable.
There is a reason why the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan has two Heavy Industry overlays on that Manukau site; the noise and air pollution from the traffic and industry nearby.
So would I want to live there (the Manukau site)? No I wouldnt and the Minister shouldnt subject people to that either. The site is better suited as a bus park or even better a green park/urban forest.
Ben Ross, Author of the Talking Southern Auckland Blog www.voakl.net

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