Tag: Auckland 2040

Dissension Over #UnitaryPlan Directive on Development Capacity For Unitary Plan Residential Zones

Auckland 2040 Not Happy with ACDC15 Directive


This morning I blogged on the Directive the Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel issued on doing a third run of the Auckland Council Development Capacity Model (ACDC15) for the Unitary Plan Residential Zones (see: #UnitaryPlan: Oh Council Wont Like This With the Development Capacity Model Being “Pinged”)

In that post I wrote:

Rather ouch to Council as their re-run of the ACDC15 model in which they were pinning on would show the market feasible would increase from the initial 11% to over 60%. But it seems the Panel is not convinced thus the directive issued above that is going to have implications on the proposed controls for the Residential Zones and later on Topic 081 which is the rezoning exercise.

I am going to take a hunch that what the proposed development controls are for the Residential Zones in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (density controls removed and height limits increased) are fine (unlike the Centres Zones) but where the respective zones are placed will be causing the major issues.

It might be a case of once the Residential Zones hearing is complete next month that initial runs on moving the zones around might need to be done to see how the development feasibility ends up. Of course legally this would open up the Rezoning exercise of Topic 081 for public submissions again to allow natural justice to occur. Just maybe this needs to be done and the Hearings extended six months beyond the nominal time frame of July 2016 to ensure everything to do with the Residential Zones and their spatial placement is correct.

Will see how Council reacts to the Panel Directive this week.



Well for the most I was right with what I said above, it is that Auckland 2040 reacted to the Directive first before Council did.


Auckland 2040’s Richard Burton sent a memo to the Panel this morning outlying his concerns. At the time I wrote this post the memo from Burton was not on the Unitary Plan Hearings Panel website. However, given the very high public interest in the Residential Zones (Topics 059-063) and the perceived implications (real or not is to your interpretation), and there is no personal information included I have put the memo below as an embed. Disclaimer: I am a Primary Submitter who has given Primary Evidence to Topics 059-063 – Residential Zones to which the Directive on the ACDC15 third rerun and any replies to that Directive such as that memo from Burton have implications on potentially.


The Memo from Richard Burton:


The Key Parts

  • I am extremely concerned regarding the IHP directive to parties requiring that a rerun be made of the Capacity for Growth model reflecting the inputs of Messrs Fontein and Thompson. I believe the directive raises significant issues of natural justice and process. This could potentially lead to applications to the High Court for judicial review. I am disappointed that that the work of other parties in mediation and expert conferencing can potentially be undermined through the IHP’s directive.
  • At my first meeting of the CFGS team I made the following two observations based on my involvement with models of varying types over many years:
    1. Outputs from models are entirely subject to the assumption set loaded into the model. Many assumptions are subject to significant variables so that the personal belief set of the modeler influences the inputs and accordingly the output
    2. That in my several hundred appearances as an expert witness before the Environment Court I have never seen a model pass the test of cross examination. This is largely because, when the assumptions which control the inputs to the model are examined, even small discrepancies can have a significant effect on the output.
  • In the interests of natural justice, due process and fairness to all parties, the following matters need to be considered by the IHP
    1. That the experts who prepared the assumption sets need to be made available for cross examination by any party who wishes to do so. The model has assumed such importance that an opportunity for robust cross examination of those responsible for its preparation is essential
    2. The hearings will need to be deferred by at least one month to allow for the above matters to be addressed
    3. As the results of the first and second model runs have been used by submitters and their expert witnesses to prepare their evidence, there needs to be sufficient time for them to consider the output from the third model run and file revised briefs of evidence if thought necessary
    4. The assumption sets for all three of the model runs should be set out in detail in a manner so that meaningful comparison can be made between model runs for each assumption. The variables behind each assumption and the basis for those variables also need to be available. The input of the full CFGS team, particularly Dr Fairgray and Kyle Balderston is essential for a fair assessment of the assumptions
    5. It is anticipated that the proposed assumption set being prepared by Messrs Fontein and Thompson for the proposed model rerun again will not be fully disclosed to the full CFGS team. It is essential that this occur and the assumption set agreed on before the model is run
    6. It is accepted that the assumptions made by Dr Fairgray and Mr Balderston in the second model run have been challenged by Messrs Fontein and Thompson. As Dr Fairgray is currently overseas, he has no opportunity to comment on those challenges or to participate in the process to ensure that a balanced approach to these important assumptions is achieved.
    7. The IHP originally requested the establishment of a team to advise on the projected demand for dwellings in Auckland and the likely developable capacity based on the PAUP as notified. It is the CFGS team which was asked to advise the IHP. To allow two individuals who participated in the process to essentially dictate to Council the assumptions to be made in the model may lead to justifiable claims of bias influencing not only all submitters but also the Panels role in addressing them.
  • I believe that failure to address the above matters could bring into question the integrity of the hearing process. I wish it noted that Auckland 2040 believes the directive of the IHP raises matters of law which if unresolved could necessitate an application to the High Court by way of review. To this end Auckland 2040 is engaging senior counsel. Because our counsel Mr Brabant is overseas and not returning until the first week of October I was not able to refer this to him. However I have taken interim legal advice which has indicated that a challenge could be made to the process being followed by the IHP in reaching its ultimate decision.



I can see where Burton is coming from in that a third run of the ACDC15 with parameters independently set by Fontein and Thompson could have natural justice concerns given Primary and Rebuttal Evidence to the Residential Zones can not be done on this third model run. This stems from that the third run of the ACDC15 will not be ready until the Hearings start in October meaning submitters like Burton and even myself can not rebut against the model run if we were to do so.

Threatening a Court challenge is something else and Burton is free to do so if he wishes.


It will be very interesting to see where this all ends up.

Again I am publishing this for your information as I deem it the utmost public interest given this will affect every single Auckland citizen living here.





Auckland 2040 – So We Need to Talk

But Please – Lay Off the Main Stream Media


This is a message for the Auckland 2040 Lobby Group

I have received and noted feedback from you (2040) via a third-party on me. I have noted that you have seen my often scathing remarks against you in regards to the Unitary Plan but; I have also noted that you (2040) have read my 104 page submission which included the Special Character Zones, and Manukau and were “impressed” (words handed back this way).

Admittedly relations between myself and Auckland 2040 would be “frosty” and that can be owed to the heavy debunking spearheaded from this end in the last weeks of the Unitary Plan feedback process. Those relations as of current are still frosty.

However, if truce flags are willing to be raised the guns will fall silent for the duration. That is Auckland 2040 – if you were “impressed” at the submission I wrote and the introduction of the Special Character Zone then the next move is yours – you know where to find me or contact me.


In saying that I do have on request though for Auckland 2040. Lay of the Main Stream Media appearances please – for your sakes not mine nor the City’s.

Why do I ask this? I saw your interview on the NZ Herald yesterday (Friday) and heard your question at the Auckland Conversations on Population Trends. From those I can deduce that your fixation on three set issues are truly annoying the city to no-ends of the Earth and will not win you any allies in getting the Unitary Plan modified to something more palatable to the city as a whole. Oh and the wider city also does not care if one of your “heads” has 30-years of planning experience if the humility and “nous” is somewhat lacking (meaning get a PR guru and a face that can sell your message without annoying the city (Of particular note here: If I as an individual can sell off a successful message in the social media and MSM realms and get mentioned for it – without annoying the bulk of the wider city there might be some lessons here for you guys on “facilitating the debate”)).

As for the three issues annoying the city they are:

  1. Fixation on the North Shore with little regards for elsewhere in the city including the South and the West
  2. Fixation of trying to lower the population projection. The statistics are saying otherwise to your claims. So at least just pause until we get the latest Census results to see where things are going on a more up to date reflection. You did seriously annoy the audience with your fixation at that Conversation piece last week earning you no favours.
  3. And for heaven’s sake – drop the three storey issue in the Mixed Housing Zone. I and others have already debunked that piece (Guy Haddleton’s house in a Single Housing Zone) and will always have it as ammunition if need be against you. Three storey pieces can already happen under the existing plans and not much changes in the Unitary Plan. Constantly banging on about it especially in regards to the North Shore will definitely earn you no favours. If you want my advice on this; three storey pieces will happen, let’s get the quality right and in-line with our population growth. Do that and you would win more friends.

Now was that advice harsh? Maybe but, it is also valid. Valid in me laying out my concerns to you so we have a no surprises policy when reaching out and thawing relations as well as where I currently stand.


As mentioned earlier – your move next.

Ben Ross
Talking Auckland


Rethink the Housing Accord says Auckland 2040

Rethink or NIMBY‘s Striking Again?


Auckland 2040 released a press statement on Monday about the Housing Accord. This will be due to that Auckland Council is giving their submission to the Accord today after deliberations yesterday at the Auckland Plan Committee that I sat in and observed.

This is the press release from Auckland 2040

Rethink the Housing Accord says Auckland 2040

Monday, 10 June, 2013 – 11:41

Auckland 2040 says linking the Auckland Housing Accord to the notification of the draft Unitary Plan (DUP) will put pressure on the Council to ‘fast track’ the plan ignoring around 14,000 submissions.

The coalition has written to Housing Minister Nick Smith requesting that he reconsider tying the Accord to the DUP notification and providing an alternative solution. It’s concerned that Aucklanders have just had their first look at the DUP, invested considerable time in preparing submissions and that the planners won’t have the time to read, consider or adopt the suggestions.

Auckland 2040 spokesperson and planner Richard Burton says there are serious shortcomings in the DUP and it’s important that the Council is not forced to notify the Plan before it is ready.

“We do not believe that Auckland Council has the time or the resources to consider the large number of submissions received, to rethink the Unitary Plan and rectify the problems by the target notification date of 1 September. Much more time is needed to prepare a quality Plan.

“There’s also an easy solution that will take the pressure off the planners and make sure Aucklanders have not wasted their time making submissions. We suggest Council identify Special Housing Areas (SHAs) and then prepare Structure Plans. These will also ensure better quality housing,” said Richard.

The current Auckland Housing Accord makes no mention of requiring Structure Plans for SHAs which Auckland 2040 argues is a serious omission. It says that structure plans will avoid haphazard unplanned development by matching the level of development intensity to infrastructure capacity, including roads, waste water and other services. It would also integrate residential development with reserves, community facilities and schools. Community consultation is another component of a Structure Plan and would allow greater consideration of the interface between SHA’s and adjoining communities. Qualifying SHA Developments would then have to comply with the Structure Plan.

“Requiring Structure Plans in the Accord legislation doesn’t need to be overly time-consuming. Auckland Council could quickly identify a number of SHAs and then commence planning. The other advantage of this approach is that neighbours and affected parties will have a say in the process. Without meaningful consultation and a right of appeal, the potential for abuse is high,” says Richard.

Auckland 2040 is a coalition of local non-political groups passionately concerned about the long- term implications of the draft Unitary Plan (DUP). It wants Auckland Council to ‘ReThink’ the Plan in order to balance intensification with infrastructure capability and urban character values. The group opposes random high density multi-story apartments haphazardly scattered throughout Auckland, poor planning and provision for infrastructure, and inadequate community involvement in the Plan. For more information go to http://auckland2040.org.nz/.



All seems good doesn’t it? On paper it does look good what Auckland 2040 is suggesting with Special Housing Areas and these Structure Plans. These Structure Plans could end up similar to my proposed Semi-Liberal Planned Districts for greenfield areas and Centralised Master Community Plans for brownfield areas.

However, there is a catch. My SLPD and CMCP’s take effect when the Unitary Plan is in operation. Meaning it has been thrashed out and the Rural Urban Boundary options firmed up after research and further consultation.

Auckland 2040’s idea would take effect once the Accord was in operation which would not bother me per say. But, in knowing Auckland 2040 they would clam up in any Brownfield Special Housing Areas being put forward (especially on the Isthmus and North Shore) and dump the entire lot in the Greenfield areas out in the south.

In Auckland 2040 would like to suggest a Brownfield area on the Isthmus and North Shore that would have significant development then let me know in the comments box your location choice below. Otherwise your subsequent silence would imply pro-sprawl behaviour down here in the south. Of which I believe the NIMBY term applies.


What is wrong with lugging significant developments in the greenfield areas now? We of the south are still going through the Rural Urban Boundary processes at the moment. Currently in the Unitary Plan feedback process that closed last month we got to choose one of three options we would think best for Greenfield development under the UP. Council is now considering this and hopefully are doing capacity and infrastructure studies on the options. Once done it is meant to be reported back and a more informed selection can be made by us in the formal notification stage at the end of the year.

What Auckland 2040 are doing is effectively short circuiting the RUB process away from Southern Auckland. It can also be implied through some of the NIMBY aspects of Auckland 2040 that they would want the bulk of the SHA’s in the greenfield zones.

I’d rather have the RUB processes done fully and properly first. As I have mentioned before if the wrong section of land is opened up down here in the South the unintended consequences are large. That being the Karaka-Weymouth Bridge which has upset a lot of people here.


So what do we do now?

Sit and wait for the council to finish the southern RUB work. Lets see how many houses we can get, what infrastructure is needed and at what cost, and what employment centre bases will also be needed as well. Suggesting SHA’s down here now would be beyond pointless when we and the area are simply not ready.

The RUB Addendum 1/2

The RUB Addendum 2/2


2040 Has an Alternative

Thoughts and Comments?


2040 Auckland and the Character Coalition have released a statement and letter on their alternative for the Unitary Plan. Please not I am not endorsing or disagreeing (yet), just seeking YOUR thoughts on what they have to say.

From 2040 Auckland and the Character Coalition

Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse meet Auckland 2040 Group for

Urgent Talks about Unitary Plan


Auckland 23 May 2013


In response to mounting public outrage following Auckland 2040’s disclosure of the implications behind critical elements of the draft unitary plan, Auckland 2040 Founders Richard Burton and Guy Haddleton met this week with the Mayor, and Deputy Mayor for intensive discussions.


The meeting was constructive, with the Mayor willing to consider proposals put forward by Auckland 2040 for amendments to the plan. He also expressed a commitment to have a fair and meaningful dialogue with Auckland 2040 over the next few months, stating that the Unitary Plan would not be notified in September until 80-90% of the issues were resolved.


Following the meeting, Auckland 2040 has submitted their proposals in a letter to the Mayor and is now awaiting feedback.


Comments Richard Burton, “I look forward to the healthy public debate that will emerge from our proposal and our participation in on-going discussions with Council”


Letter to Auckland Mayor below:


22 May 2013


His Worship the Mayor


Our thanks to you and Deputy Major Ms P Hulse for taking the time to meet with Auckland 2040 and the Character Coalition yesterday. We were very pleased to read in the NZ Herald that you agreed with much of what we said.


A fundamental issue in looking at the future growth of Auckland is the extent to which Auckland is likely to grow over the next 30 years. That Auckland is growing and will continue to grow is undisputed; it is the rate and extent of growth which is at issue. Significant under or over estimation can have profound effects on future planning. We request that Auckland City:


  • Be completely transparent in revealing the statistical justification for Council’s 1,000,000 population increase forecast for the next 30 years


  • Reconsider the Auckland population estimate of 1,000, 000 additional population over the next 30 years to align with Statistics NZ Medium estimates. Overseas cities generally adopt the Medium estimate in planning for growth and then monitor that estimate over time, with adjustments up or down depending on actual growth. The High estimate as used by Auckland Council may overstate actual growth by as much as 50%. Overstating the population increase has serious implications on infrastructure and the need for high density intensification and or greenfields development.



The Draft Unitary Plan has been prepared on the basis of an additional 1,000,000 population over 30 years. Even if Auckland reaches such growth levels, it will not happen overnight but rather in a progressive incremental manner. It is thus logical to release land for intensification and green field’s development in a staged manner. To zone immediately 56% of Auckland’s residential areas for unrestrained, scattered apartment development is neither logical nor staged. Neither would immediate release of greenfields land sufficient for 400,000 people be logical or staged. Fortunately no-one is suggesting the latter.


We are not opposed to intensification, nor apartment development. We are opposed to scattered, un-planned, uncoordinated developments with no or inadequate consideration of urban character values, heritage values or infrastructure and no community consultation.


Certainty in an urban framework context is of fundamental importance to most people living in or buying into neighbourhoods. While alteration or addition of dwellings is largely accepted, structures introducing a different, more discordant building form are strongly opposed. Many residential areas have a mature character with established dwellings and streetscapes. Some have a dominant heritage character. Many of the most popular areas have had significant infill, but the infill is of a similar character to the existing housing so is accepted, albeit reluctantly in some quarters. Apartment buildings are a very alien building form in those streetscapes and the uncertainty of whether this form of development will occur in “my street” is what is galvanizing Aucklanders to object to Council’s proposals.


Auckland 2040 and the Character Coalition request that Council approach the Unitary Plan in a more planned and staged manner. Specifically Council should reduce the amount of land zoned for apartment development and instead have a more targeted focus providing development opportunities while preserving most of the existing residential areas.


If demand indicates more apartment zoned land is required, Council can undertake the appropriate neighbourhood or town centre studies with meaningful community involvement prior to release of more land for redevelopment. If full structure planning is required prior to release of greenfields land then why should not the same apply to intensification proposals within the existing urban area?


The following proposals should be considered in the context of the above statements. We request the Auckland Council give consideration to the following proposed amendments to the Unitary Plan:



  1. The introduction of a new residential Infill Zone which allows one and two storey buildings only and permits infill at a density of one unit per 350m2 net site area. This zone to be applied to the majority of the residential areas and in particular to residential areas which:
    1. Retain a strong residential character of 1 –2 story dwellings ,or
    2. Have significant heritage values, or
    3. Are close to sensitive environments such as the coast, lakes, volcanic cones, or
    4. Have been subject to considerable infill development, but which retain predominantly stand-alone housing, or
    5. Have topographical challenges which would tend to increase the adverse effects of apartment buildings


  1. The Mixed Housing Zone be restricted to areas in close proximity to town centers or selected arterial routes with good roading, public transport and infrastructure and which do not have the characteristics in (1) above.


  1. The Terrace House and Apartment Zone be confined to areas immediately adjoining inner city or Metropolitan Centres, plus the major town centres subject to (5) below.


  1. Development controls to be reconfigured to address adjoining property effects, and height limits to be restricted by full discretionary activity status, including public notification and affected party’s consents for exceeding height.


  1. That Metropolitan, Town Centre and neighbourhood studies be undertaken with community involvement to determine the most appropriate zoning mix after due consideration of existing urban character, heritage values, infrastructure and traffic. That Council reconsider town centre studies undertaken by previous council’s or Environment Court decisions affecting specific areas and incorporate the principal findings of those studies/decisions into the Unitary Plan.



  1. That should Council determine that additional intensification is warranted in the future due to increased demand, Council undertake structure planning of the areas where intensification is planned. Such structure planning should be similar in scope to that required for greenfields planning and have an aim of achieving a significant degree of community consensus.



We would welcome the opportunity to discuss these proposals in a constructive manner with Council and senior staff.





Yours sincerely,


Guy Haddleton, Auckland 2040

Richard Burton, Auckland 2040

Sally Hughes, Character Coalition



About Auckland 2040


Auckland 2040 is a newly formed grass roots organization of non political residents passionately concerned about the future planning and shape of Auckland. Its web site is www.auckland2040.org.nz


Comments and thoughts in the comment box below