Unitary Plan Participation Falling #AKLPols

Rates are falling

Not sure how the Rezoning Exercises will go next year


Reading through the Unitary Plan Committee Agenda for this month I saw the participation rates for the Unitary Plan Hearings at shocking low but expected levels.


From the Unitary Plan Committee Agenda – September 2015

Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearing Panel – Update on Progress

File No.: CP2015/17779


  1. To update the Unitary Plan Committee on progress made by the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel (the Panel) since last reported in June 2015.

Executive Summary

  1. The hearings programme is now entering into the final phase being the hearings on site specific matters. The programme remains on track and within budget. Participation rates by submitters and further submitters are slowly declining as the hearings continue despite a number of initiatives to support this participation.
  2. The Panel is continuing to release interim guidance on some topics to assist parties to prepare evidence.
  3. An innovative approach is being taken to hearings on designations, with the Panel taking the lead and commissioning planners to prepare independent reports on the various new notices of requirement, roll-overs and modifications to existing designations.
  4. To support the ability of the hearings to remain on track for completion by July 2016 there is the possibility of legislative change.



  1. Participation rates (percentage of those notified who actually attended hearing events) continue to decline slowly. Overall participation percentage (previous quarter in brackets) is 9.1 per cent (10.3 per cent). The rate with individual further submitters removed, being 15.3 per cent (18 per cent), is the best representation of participation as many individual further submitters unintentionally linked themselves to multiple hearing topics by supporting or opposing entire primary submissions.
  2. Participation rates for individual submitters, community groups and special interest groups are 2.6 per cent (2.7 per cent), 7.2 per cent (8.4 per cent) and 9.2 per cent (7.1 per cent) respectively. This continues to reflect feedback from some submitters about the demands of the process.



I am not surprised given the requirements need to prepare before an actual Hearing on the topic you submitted on.


For example with the Centres Zones topic (051) it all comes to a head on Monday when I present my Primary Evidence and Primary Submission on Monday. But prior to that the entire process started in March with Pre Hearings, then Mediation in July which took three days for me, waiting for Council’s Primary Evidence to start writing my own Primary Evidence in July-August, then waiting for any Rebuttal Evidence at the send of August (Council rebutted my Primary Evidence), and finally preparing your speaking notes as you have 10 minutes to have your say on the topic next week before waiting for recommendations from the Panel next year.

So if I take it from beginning to end (the final Recommendations) the Centres Zones ‘process’ would have been going some 13 months ( seven months if I use Monday as the end).


And that is just for the Centre Zones. I am still making my way through the vexed Residential Zones and the Rezoning exercises which are more controversial than the Centres themselves.


Couple all that with submitters having prior commitments such as work or childcare and you can see why the participation is shockingly but expectedly low.


Hope the Rezoning exercise in which the Panel goes out into the field will attract more submitters showing up to present their case.

Best practice approaches to rezoning, precincts and changes to the Rural Urban Boundary – released 31 July 2015

  • The Panel has set out its interim position on best practice for changes to the zones, precincts and the Rural Urban Boundary (RUB).
  • This is to help parties to prepare for the hearing on these topics.
  • Evidence for on these topics should address the matters set out in the guidance.

Read the full interim guidance here: Interim guidance released on best practice approaches to rezoning, precincts and changes to the RUB (PDF 190KB)


Source: Unitary Plan Hearings Panel