The Options Presented to the Governing Body Today for the #UnitaryPlan

Six options available so which one will they take


At 2pm today the City and the Governing Body’s fate will be decided depending on which of the five options they take today on the Unitary Plan. I said in the subtitle there is six but the sixth one belongs to the Government to exercise.


The addendum agenda below contains what the options are, what the consequences are and where we have gotten to with the Unitary Plan as of today:


Now the five options presented to Council are the following:

Part D – Options at this point in the hearings process


  1. The following options have been prepared to assist the Governing Body in responding to concerns about the council’s current position as set out in the evidence lodged with the Panel on 3 December 2015 and 26 January 2016.


Options Implications
Option 1


Withdraw out of scope changes from the council’s evidence


·    Addresses the concerns of some members of the public

·    Results in a piecemeal approach as the evidence is completely integrated (geographic areas and in and out of scope)

·    A re-write of the expert evidence will be required; and there is no time for that to occur before the specific residential zone hearings commence on 3 March 2016.

·    Results in a major disconnect between the zoning maps and the council’s evidence

·    Disadvantages submitters who have not filed evidence on the basis they were happy with the council’s position

·    Disadvantages submitters who have spent money and time putting evidence together after reading the council’s evidence

·    No council planning witnesses to support piecemeal zoning as such an approach is contrary to planning best practice

·    No council planning witnesses there to provide a view on Housing New Zealand Corporation’s request for substantial up-zoning


Option 2


Withdraw all of the council’s zoning evidence


·    Generally as above

·    Less complex for the Panel and submitters to understand the council’s position.

·    Council’s expert evidence that supports or responds to in scope submissions will be lost and council’s experts will not be able to attend the hearings.

Option 3


Not withdraw the council’s zoning evidence (in whole or part). Auckland Council legal submission to request that the Panel carefully considers issues of natural justice and fairness when considering any proposed out of scope changes.

·    Avoids the adverse implications of Options 1 and 2

·    Does not derail the hearings process

·    Allows participants to have their say at the hearings without changing the process or their evidence

·    The council stays in the hearings to give a balanced view to diametrically  opposing views

Option 4


Not withdraw the council’s zoning evidence (in whole or part). Ask for a preliminary hearing on Housing New Zealand Corporation’s position in relation to the scope provided within its submission and the Government’s submission.

·    As per Option 3

·    Would confirm the Panel’s view in relation to the extent of out of scope changes proposed by the council and others

·    Legislation allows out of scope changes so the Panel may not want to bind itself until it has heard all the evidence.

Option 5


Not withdraw the council’s evidence (in whole or part). Arrange two full day workshops in August solely on the zoning maps with a focus on any out of scope recommendations from the Panel.

· As per Option 3

·    Allows the council the opportunity to consider in greater detail the Panel’s recommendations on the zoning maps prior to making decisions in August 2016



  1. The adverse implications of Options 1 and 2 are significant. A combination of Options 3 and 5 is therefore recommended.


Source: Addendum agenda as linked above


I would also go for Options 3 and 5 as it still continues to follow the processes set out by Law in the Unitary Plan (Local Government Act) but allows the Governing Body to work through the rezoning issues that have everyone so wound up.

Now I said there is a sixth option and that option resides with the Government. The sixth option would be executed if Options 1 or 2 came to fruition and the Government subsequently decides that the risk to the economy through inaction on housing is too great. The sixth option being the so-called nuclear option: installing Commissioners to replace the Governing Body (see: Plea to Government: Prepare to Install Commissioners to Replace Governing Body of Auckland Council).


From what I am hearing the NIMBY Councillors’ positions have become entrenched making Options 1 or 2 most likely today. I am also hearing (and also seeming a Herald Editorial today was again the Government firing another warning shot) the Government’s own position is apparently a case of no longer if but now a case of when.


Some deep soul-searching today and even more so tomorrow as no one comes out the winner. A shame it has come to this.


Manukau Unitary Plan 081 Super Metro Zone
Manukau Unitary Plan 081 Super Metro Zone