Government increases threats on Unitary Plan with housing
While Budget 2016 is certainly a flop to the point a national disgrace I have seen Finance Minister Bill English and Prime Minister John Key increase their “hints” about Government intervention against Auckland Council over the Unitary Plan.
Basically put and as blogged on in February and March this year if the Councillors do not pass resolutions to bring the required level of residential intensification towards Housing New Zealand levels (as HNZ and the Government via MBIE are wanting)(so more intensification than what even Council originally wanted) then the Government had a range of intervention measures such as:
- Codifying the Unitary Plan Hearing Panel recommendations through an Order in Counsel/Council
- A National Policy Statement on Urban Growth
- Governing Body of Auckland Council is sacked and replaced by Commissioners
Looking at the Prime Minister this morning we know the NPS is definitely on the way:
The biggest housing measure is still to come – a Government directive expected in the next two weeks which will press councils to scrap restrictive rules about where and how high houses can be built. “There will be no room for debate,” Mr Key said.
Finance Bill English for the first time has now explicitly hinted at Commissioners replacing Auckland Council:
ECan was the Canterbury Regional Council sacked five years ago and replaced by Commissioners after failing to get a regional plan through. Only now is elected representatives making their way back to ECan from this year I believe.
Minister Paula Bennett also confirmed the threat of Commissioners and the NPS as well.
So there we have it. The threat of Commissioners has now become very real against Auckland Council and we will know one way or the other in two weeks when the National Policy Statement – Urban Growth is brought forward. Note this NPS would allow the current 40% sprawl seen through the Future Urban Zone (some 11,000ha) as well as height limits either being relaxed or coming off entirely in the residential and business zone areas. So that does mean the Isthmus is up for more intensification!