Comments by Cameron Brewer – August 2016:
Some of us kicked up a fuss about the Independent Maori Statutory Board being at the table for the final deliberations and it was the right decision for them to withdraw. If they had remained sitting as judge and jury of the plan which they’d submitted heavily on, there would’ve been serious issues around conflicts of interest and legal challenges galore. That was avoided and in the end taking it straight to the Governing Body for the Mayor to chair and for only he and councillors to vote on was the best process.
While I was one of the 20 who voted for the overall unitary plan. I did however voice and vote against the zoning maps in the former Auckland City Council area. The Independent Hearings Panel’s recommendations were for a lot more density and much less single housing for the likes of the Eastern suburbs – than even the council had proposed. I sought to go back to the council’s proposal for the isthmus area as the lesser of two evils. However in the end the IHP got its way. This means the council’s original maps have effectively been put on steroids – with now no density provisions whatsoever in the widespread Mixed Housing Suburban areas, much less single housing and more Mixed Housing Urban and Terrace Housing and Apartment zoning.
“The ‘out of scope’ changes that the council tried to bring in nine months ago, which upzoned most of Glendowie for example, were thankfully thrown out few months back. However the IHP has effectively reinstated all the council’s ‘out of scope’ changes and the worst thing is locals never got a chance to have their say on these dramatic property zoning changes. Yes there was plenty of consultation on the proposed unitary plan, but this final version is now so much more intense, the public could not have their say, and that’s why I voted against the latest zoning maps for our old Auckland City suburbs. I argued that if we upzoned them even further, taking away density controls and the pre-1944 overlay, we will lose a lot of that lovely character that defines our family suburbs forever. Sadly, I didn’t get our way.
The ultimate decider for me was that in the end the load was spread pretty fairly and the commissioners looked well beyond the eastern suburbs for solutions. The rural-urban boundary is finally softened, our country villages can grow, and much of the region’s low production land will become country lifestyle. Opening up more land north, west and south will hopefully slow down the rapid rise of property over time. And let’s not forget that for many Auckland property owners about 75% of the home’s value is the land it sits upon. Opening up the city limits is long overdue and will help not only take the pressure off Auckland property prices over time, but should take some pressure of the likes of the Eastern suburbs that are already carrying too much of the growth.
Also visit East & Bays Courier story: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/east-bays-courier/83260746/east-auckland-councillors-vote-against-unitary-plan-zoning-maps