Council Looking Down the Barrel of a Wrong Decision Over Hobsonville Point – UPDATED

Aucklanders seeming to be not happy on the Film Studio Decision

Yesterday the Auckland Council Auckland Development Committee resolved to follow through with the ATEED proposal of building a film studio at Hobsonville Point rather than ACPL’s proposal of more houses and a Local Centre.

The presser states:

Screen precinct earmarked for Hobsonville Point

Auckland Council’s Auckland Development Committee has today passed a recommendation to create a screen precinct on council-owned land at Hobsonville Point.

At the same time, the committee agreed that council will no longer proceed with a marine industry precinct on the 20 hectare site, a legacy project adopted by Auckland Council from the former Waitakere Council in 2010.

The committee today weighed up two options. The first, recommended by Auckland Council Property Limited (ACPL), would see 14 hectares of land committed to residential development, with the remaining 6 hectares earmarked for an Employment Hub.

The second, passed by the committee, is a proposal by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Limited (ATEED) to allow a procurement process for private investors to build and operate a screen precinct on 10 hectares of the land, with the remaining 10 hectares to become residential development.

ATEED now has until 31 October to complete the procurement process for the film studio campus and will report back to the Auckland Development Committee at its November meeting. In the event that a commercially viable proposal for developing the screen precinct hasn’t been secured by then, ACPL’s proposal will be adopted by council.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse says council has worked with the marine industry on the precinct project over the past 10 years to make it a success, however it has not been able to secure any superyacht proposals and the land is now available for other development opportunities.

“Now is the time to be practical and if a marine precinct cannot provide employment, then other options need to be considered that provide the best outcomes for both the local area and the wider region in terms of homes and jobs”.

ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says ATEED is pleased with the councillors’ support for the screen precinct proposal and the opportunity to follow up on the high level of interest from private sector investors – including major international studios – to build and operate a precinct at Hobsonville Point.

“The hard work starts now as the Auckland Investment Office and ATEED go back to potential investors with a concrete proposal in place and firm up a deal by the end of October deadline. It’s good to have a tight timeframe in place which will deliver certainty for everyone,” he says.

Mr O’Riley added that Auckland has a valuable and highly regarded screen and digital sector, but ATEED believes it could be much better.

“ATEED’s vision is for the private sector to create a thriving modern, world-class, price-competitive, studio complex with adjacent film schools and associated commerce.

“That will allow Auckland to attract the major international productions we are missing out on, allow the domestic industry to continue to grow, and provide more than 400 high-value jobs long term in the Hobsonville area,” he says.

ACPL Chief Executive David Rankin says he appreciates council’s wish to see where ATEED’s proposal for a film facility might lead and to provide another three months to explore that potential.

“In the interim three months ACPL will continue to complete the consenting for roading infrastructure and associated design so momentum is maintained in the event council adopts the 14 hectare/6 hectare mixed development proposal later in the year,” he says.


I have been told that this new studio would replace the existing Henderson film studios owned by the Council so the employment opportunities might very well turn out to be a net gain of zero (if not some actual losses).

But the main concern in which it becomes a hurdle is the underlying zoning on which the Film Studio would eventually sit on.

Below is the Unitary Plan map with the base zones:

Hobsonville Point Zones
Hobsonville Point Zones

Now unless I have the location entirely wrong the film studio would be located in the big square in the middle right of the map.

If so the zone under the Unitary Plan which goes live in about 12 months is Mixed Housing Urban Zone, with the immediate surrounds also Mixed Housing Urban with the Terraced Housing and Apartment Zone on three of the corners of that big square.

There is some Future Urban Zone also in the area that can be converted to any urban zone over the life of the Unitary Plan via a Plan Change but must reflect what any existing urban zones to avoid Reverse Sensitivity conflicts.

Here is a map with the former Marine Precinct location, this is where the Film Studio will possible go:

Hobsonville Point map marine precinct
Hobsonville Point map marine precinct

As you see it studios would sit on the Mixed Housing Urban Zone while surrounded by more residential zonings

Below is the aerial map of Hobsonville Point

Hobsonville Point map
Hobsonville Point map

Now the Deputy Mayor has told me the land is actually zoned Business. Is it? Because it certainly is not under those Unitary Plan maps that is for certain. If it is Business Zone under the Legacy Rules which expire in 12 months then we have further problems coming into play.

Once the Unitary Plan does go live the Legacy zones and rules disappear and the Unitary Plan one will apply. Given that the bulk of the area will become residential zoning inherent conflicts will stop cropping up almost immediately (including one of noise and traffic).

So you might ask what about a Plan Change? Not possible if you are wanting to change the Legacy zone on the Council’s own admission that there will be no more new Plan Changes until the Unitary Plan goes live. If Council attempts a rezone on the Unitary Plan zone sitting over Hobsonville Point then they (the Council) must notify Unitary Plan submitters like myself of their position before Rezoning Mediation starts. From there in mediation Council must convince the submitters if they want to avoid having to fight it out with the submitters in subsequent Hearings. Finally the Panel passes its recommendations which very well might not support a rezone for that area.

Of course there are also consenting issues for the Film Studio proposal given again the area and surrounding area it is proposed to be built on is Residential under the Unitary Plan. Basically the activity would be incompatible and face a tough time if not ending up in the Environment Court.

All in all the Auckland Development Committee in mu opinion has made an entirely wrong decision on this. The film studios should locate in a rural area not slated nor going to be surrounded by current and future residential zonings. Kumeu would have been such a site.

The ACPL proposal of medium density housing and a Local Centre (probably would have gotten away with a Town Centre) is both more prudent given the growth in Auckland, and less risky from zoning changes and Reverse Sensitivity conflicts now and in the future. Furthermore the Albany and Westgate Metropolitan Centres are both 15 minutes away from Hobsonville Point so there was never going to be an issue with “local” employment (that would be more sustained than a film studio).

One thought on “Council Looking Down the Barrel of a Wrong Decision Over Hobsonville Point – UPDATED

  1. Reblogged this on Oratia and commented:
    New Hobsonville Point film studios to replace the Studio in Henderson Valley?! The multimillion dollar investment from Westies via their rates created the Film Studios and local industry and West Aucklanders as shareholders never saw a return. (see issues as detailed here) Now, it looks like some succes, with international opportunities and council investment in the industry and the business will go to Hobsonville Point? Council was unable to make a go of the Yachting industry originally planned for Hobsonville Pt and Deputy Mayor Hulse says that now “other options need to be considered that provide the best outcomes for both the local area and the wider region in terms of homes and jobs”. But the question for our Elected Members should be what is the best outcome for Waitakere’s local area and jobs, This appears to be the loss of a strategic sustainable local industry from an area deprived of employment and opportunities to a new affluent housing precinct with a significant business precinct down the road in Constellation Drive . There has been no public consultation on this decision and the impacts it could have for Henderson, Sunnyvale, Oratia , the Waitakere Foothills and the Waitakere Ranges. Death by a thousand cuts.

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