Planning Committee Digest – November 2016

What when on in the Planning Committee


The Decisions Digest from the Planning Committee that met on the 29th of November.

From Auckland Council:

First meeting of Planning Committee held

Auckland Council’s Planning Committee held its first meeting of the new term yesterday with business dominated by discussions on major roading and housing infrastructure works for Auckland.

The following is a digest of decisions made. The agenda is available on Auckland Council’s website and the minutes will be added once confirmed. This meeting was also webcast on the council’s website and items are available on demand.

Items 1-8 were administrative items.


Item 9: Planning Committee 2016-2019

Mayor Phil Goff, Planning Committee Chair Chris Darby, and Deputy Chair Denise Lee opened the meeting with some introductory remarks.

Councillor Darby said that the key focus for the committee from early in the term will be addressing the chronic congestion and housing shortages with a willingness to look at bold solutions.

“Our trains are at near 100 percent capacity, buses are standing room only, rail and bus platforms are spilling over with people, and motorways and arterials are chocked with single occupancy vehicles. Auckland has been paved with roads.

“The task for this committee is to pave a way forward for people to move about this city with a comprehensive public transport system with mass transit at the core of that network – including progressing light rail across the isthmus and to the North Shore, mass transit to the airport and ramping up efforts to provide safer cycling across Auckland.

“The unitary plan and special housing areas are in place but the enormity of the housing crisis requires a new plan, for the committee to develop a coordinated and multifaceted action plan to be launched across all of council early in the term”, says Mr Darby.

Mayor Phil Goff said the Planning Committee will deal with some of the critical challenges facing this city – rapid population growth and the critical failure of housing and transport infrastructure to keep pace with that growth.

“We need to get infrastructure into housing developments and paying for it will be a larger challenge than rapid consenting under the Auckland Housing Accord.

“We also need to be thinking about other ways to fund transport which is why I have proposed that a regional fuel tax as the quickest and administratively cheapest option to put in place and far more equitable than putting the costs on to ratepayers”, says Phil Goff.

Councillor Denise Lee said she was honoured and privileged to take on the deputy chair role and emphasised the need for strategic governance alongside a clear vison for the city.

“Of particular interest is the Auckland Plan refresh that will reflect our choices for the future of Auckland and which underscores the principles required for collaborative work, connectivity and working across all of council and with central government,” she said.

The committee’s work programme will be developed over the next few months.


Item 10: Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan – Appeal of KiwiRail Designation 6303 for the Avondale to Southdown Railway Line

The committee has agreed to lodge an Environment Court appeal against KiwiRail’s decision to reject some of the council’s recommendations on the designation for the Avondale to Southdown Railway Line in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

A designation is a planning tool used by central and local government agencies and network utility operators to undertake public works on a particular site.

For most of the recommendations made by the Independent Hearings Panel the council was making the decisions, but for designations for infrastructure works the council makes recommendations to the authority responsible for that designation to make their own decisions.

As the decision making authority on the designation KiwiRail has rejected some recommendations by reinstating four original conditions and deleting nine new conditions recommended to address the potential adverse effects of the proposed railway line.

Council is concerned that KiwiRail’s replacement conditions do not adequately address the potential adverse effects on the safety of the road and rail network which extends to cover 17 roads, including seven arterial roads.

Lodging an appeal against KiwiRail’s decision would enable the council to enter into discussions with them to reach an agreement on the conditions. If an agreement cannot be reached, then a hearing would be required before the Environment Court.


Item 11:  Auckland Unitary Plan – Update on Appeals and Delegations for Urgent Decisions

The committee agreed to delegate to Planning Committee Chair Chris Darby, Deputy Chair Denise Lee, Councillors Alf Filipaina, Penny Hulse, and Mike Lee and Liane Ngamane of the Independent Māori Statutory Board the authority to make any urgent decisions that may be required on any current appeal or judicial review relating to the Auckland Unitary Plan from 29 November 2016 onwards.

There may be times when the High Court and/or Environment Court will require the council to make decisions on mediation or appeals more quickly than the timing of a regular monthly committee meeting. This requires some delegated authority for decision making. At least four members are required to be in agreement for an urgent decision to be made.

The committee also received an update on the High Court and Environment Court’s management of appeals and time-frames which are available in the committee reportonline.


Item 12: East West Link Project – political reference group and delegations

The committee agreed that Auckland Council will make a submission to a Board of Inquiry on the New Zealand Transport Agency’s (NZTA) East West Link project.

NZTA has prepared notices of requirement and resource consent applications which it is currently expected to lodge with the Environmental Protection Authority in early December 2016.

A political reference group was also established to consider and approve an Auckland Council submission, including:

  • Councillor Chris Darby, Chair Planning Committee
  • Councillor Denise Lee, Deputy Chair
  • Councillors Mike Lee, Dick Quax and Daniel Newman
  • Chair Maungakiekie –Tāmaki Local Board
  • Chair Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board
  • A second member of the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board
  • A member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board


In addition, Deputy Chair Denise Lee proposed an amendment, agreed to by the committee, that the council request NZTA to delay lodging their application to the Environment Protection Agency until 2017 to:

  • allow an alternative design proposal from the Onehunga community to be considered by NZTA prior to the lodgement of their applications
  • allow NZTA to complete the fly-through and 3-D images of the project so that the community can clearly understand the visual and physical effects of the applications
  • ensure the submission period does not begin prior to February 2017 to maximise participation on the submission and hearings process.
  • request that NZTA consider an eight week submission period due to the projects complexity and effects it will have on the local community.

The Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation will jointly make a decision on the national significance of the project and whether a Board of Inquiry is required.


Item 13: Northern Corridor Improvements Project – political reference group and delegations

It was agreed that Auckland Council will make a submission to a Board of Inquiry considering the New Zealand Transport Agency’s (NZTA) Northern Corridor Improvements project, the final piece of the Western Ring Route road of national significance.

A political reference group was established to develop and approve an Auckland Council submission comprising:

  • Councillor Chris Darby, Chair Planning Committee
  • Councilors Wayne Walker, John Watson, Greg Sayers and Richard Hills
  • Chair Upper Harbour Local Board or nominee
  • A member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board

NZTA intends to lodge its project applications with the Environmental Protection Authority in early December 2016. A ministerial decision on the national significance of the project is also expected at this time.  Depending on the Minister’s response, the applications could be notified in early February 2017. A hearing is likely to be held by mid-2017.


Item 14: Submission on the Regulatory Systems (Building and Housing) Amendment Bill

Auckland Council’s submission to the Local Government and Environment Committee on the Regulatory Systems (Building and Housing) Amendment Bill was approved by the committee.

A copy of the council’s submission is available here and is attached to the committee report available online. Submissions close Friday 2 December 2016.


Item 15: Auckland Housing Accord Extension

The committee noted that the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor, as members of the Joint Housing Steering Group, will work with the Minister of Housing to extend the Auckland Housing Accord termination date to the close of business 22 May 2017.

This extension will allow a small number of existing Special Housing Area applicants that have yet to complete their plan variation applications to continue under the Housing Accord and Special Housing Areas Act 2013. It also extends the council’s ability to process plan variations and resource consents for qualifying developments under the Act.


Item 16: Auckland Plan Refresh – proposed approach

The committee has agreed in principle with the broad approach and timeline to preparing a refreshed Auckland Plan.

The Auckland Plan was adopted in 2012 and a commitment was made to review the plan on a six-yearly basis.

The refreshed Auckland Plan will be developed over 2017. This includes elected member workshops in early 2017 followed by public engagement on big issues, development of a draft plan and formal public consultation. A detailed work programme is currently being developed.

The refreshed plan is intended to be adopted in December 2017 and will inform the development of the Long-term Plan 2018-28.


Item 17: Roading Exchange Policy

Auckland Council and Auckland Transport sometimes receive requests from developers to exchange existing roads with new roads to be developed as part of residential, commercial and industrial developments.

The committee approved the Roading Exchange Policy to provide Auckland Council and Auckland Transport with a transparent and consistent process for evaluating and responding to such requests.

The policy is intended to apply where an applicant makes a request to Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to stop a legal road, either formed or unformed road, and exchange the stopped road for new road(s) constructed by the developer on the developer’s land.

The new roads are then vested back to Auckland Council as legal roads and then come under the management and control of Auckland Transport.

Any exchange proposal must provide significant public benefit and would be subject to public consultation with provisions for the right to object to the road stopping. The disposal of land also requires Auckland Transport Board and Auckland Council committee/governing body approval.

The full Roading Exchange Policy is available here and is attached to the committee report available online.


Item 18: Summary of Planning Committee information memos and briefings – 29 November 2016

A regular information-only report providing greater visibility of information circulated to committee members via memos or other means, where no decisions are required.



Source: NZTA
Source: NZTA