Are We Bottling Our Intensification Targets in the Unitary Plan

Evidence suggests yes significantly

We have all heard about housing crisis and probably getting sick of it no matter where we are in New Zealand.

The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan was designed to allow 400,000 dwellings to be built over 30 years both on Green and Brownfield land in a 40:60 split per the Auckland Plan?


We wont get anywhere near the Brownfield target meaning pressure goes onto our rural land to become urban land.

I’ve already picked up recently on how Council models suggest that 11.4% of those 400,000 proposed dwellings are “ready” to be built.

Unitary Plan Falls Very Short of Enabling Those 400,000 Homes Needed by 2041

Try on current proposed provisions 316,000 (approximate) short

Finally the updated Residential Capacity Model has come out for submitters to use in their Hearings, and for the Unitary Plan Panel to consider in their recommendations next year.

I have the expert conference report below and will upload more material later next week.

In short the Unitary Plan is meant to enable some 400,000 dwellings on a 60% intensification, 40% Greenfield split through to 2041 as per the Auckland Plan. That means at minimum 240,000 residential dwellings need to be built in the existing urban area of Auckland (so Brownfield development).



The initial output of the ACDC15 development feasible dwellings, which total 64,420, or 20% of the CfGS13 (published) dwellings and 11.4% of the ACDC15 plan-enabled. If we were to add the 19,000 HNZC dwellings (conservative) that the PAUP allows, this would provide a total developable feasible dwelling number of 83,420 or 26% of the reported CfGS13 plan enabled.


So why the shortage? Is it:

  1. Under zoning the exist urban area of Auckland that might be better suited for a higher density zone that can actually take the higher density
  2. Infrastructure costs (more likely to be with Greenfield development but can occur on Brownfield sites)
  3. Geo technical reasons (other words the topography sucks like the swamp land out Takanini way which causes large and expensive works to be done prior to any house being built)
  4. Development Controls within the existing proposed zones in the Unitary Plan?



Now in that post I picked up on Council Planners saying:

As for the opposition (of the Super Metropolitan Centre) on the grounds of “Notified provisions do not elevate individual metropolitan centres over others.
Current framework enables enough potential/capacity” (from Mediation report into Topic 051 – Centres Zones).


Since Council evidence came out for the Centres Zones (Topic 051) to which opposition dropped and Council went to a neutral position: I do not consider that a new zone of the type described is necessary at this stage of Auckland’s development.

Manukau Metro UP map revised
Manukau Metro UP map revised

Now then I am writing evidence myself rebutting that above claim and you will see that evidence when I send it to the Unitary Plan Hearings Panel next week. One of the pieces of evidence from third parties I am using though to support my claims is from Patrick Fontein.

This was his submission:

In short Mr Fontein points out due to watering down of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan provisions for intensification by the Governing Body of Auckland Council (they blinked) we are going to end up 150,000 short of the 240,000 Brownfield dwells needed per the Auckland Plan (on the 60:40 Brownfield:Greenfield split). Note that the 70% Brownfield figure has been used by Mr Fontein which shifts the total Brownfield Dwelling numbers to 280,000, so for sake of continuity I will use the 70% figures.

The Metropolitan Centres, Town, and Local Centres are the worst culprits in being short on helping us reach the targets needed if we are to avoid excessive sprawl. The Metropolitan Centres currently with the provisions proposed are 28,000 dwellings short and the Town/Local Centres being 70,000 short collectively.

Meaning where are the dwellings going to go for those 700,000 to one million extra people?

It means out into the rural areas of Auckland which will ultimately costs in providing infrastructure to them and costs to the new inhabitants having to travel further to get to a job centre (although not so bad with the South).

While Auckland will have some sprawl, unlimited sprawl is not the best way for both the physical and human environment I can think of.

For those involved and wrote submissions to the Unitary Plan, those like me are writing our evidence to support our claims and often rebut what Council comes out with ourselves. Right now I am writing my evidence for the Centres Zones in wanting the addition of the Super Metropolitan Centre Zone. I will comment more on this once the evidence is sent through next week.

But in the meantime Auckland needs to do some soul searching if we want a great international city – which comes will growth and one way or the other intensification (the agglomeration effect).

One thought on “Are We Bottling Our Intensification Targets in the Unitary Plan

  1. This should surprise, no one. Everybody knows. If you write, draw and speak A Nimbys Charter it doesn’t matter if you call it something else.

    The Unitary Plan, for example.

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