So yesterday saw the launch of the Draft Unitary Plan, which is now open to feedback between now and the end of May. Mayor Len Brown kicked off the launch with a fairly rousing speech, fighting back against many of the crazy things Central Government has been going on about in recent times:

We could continue to do things the way they were always done from the 1950s on.

More sprawling suburbs. More roads. More laissez-faire development. And what would happen?

There would be more congestion. There would be even less of a sense of pride in being Aucklanders, as we live in far-flung suburbs and centres.

We would see the loss of more of our farmland – some of the most productive land in New Zealand – as it was turned into roads and pavements.

And there would be more costs on ratepayers – because of the huge infrastructure costs associated with sprawling cities.

So onto the Plan itself – my first impression is that while the zoning map comes across as fairly simple, there’s a heap of detail in the text that will take a while to work through to actually understand it. Unlike the Auckland Plan, this isn’t a “pretty” and nicely worded document that’s easy to make sense out of and explains itself particularly well. This is, despite the great innovations of the online text and the GIS mapping system, still a complex and detailed resource management plan that isn’t easy to work out what it actually means quickly.

First, let’s analyse the positive things. Looking across the Auckland isthmus there seems to be some quite bold zoning changes, with fairly extensive use of the apartment/terraced (orange) and the mixed use (light-purple) zones: the two zones where intensification seems like it’s most easily undertaken:

Full map legend here:

It seems as though there’s a good concentration of ‘upzoning’ around the rail network and around key town centres like Royal Oak, Mt Roskill, Panmure and Avondale as well as along major arterials with frequent bus services – such as Sandringham and Dominion Roads. Most areas zoned for single dwellings (the lightest colour) on the isthmus appears as though they have been zoned that way for heritage/character protection reasons – although that actually affects smaller proportions of places like Grey Lynn, Sandringham or Balmoral than I might have anticipated.

The bulk of the whole city’s residential land actually seems to fall into something called the “Mixed Housing Zone” (the colour that sits between the very light brown of the single dwelling zone and the orange of the apartment/terraced zone). Because this zone is so widespread, the extent to which it enables intensification, the ease of getting consent for intensification and the quality controls which exist to ensure that intensification will be done well, will all be pretty essential in determining whether the Unitary Plan can achieve the delicate balance it wants: enabling intensification but in a quality way.

Working through the details of the Mixed Housing zone suggests that small-scale intensification isn’t going to be much easier than it is now (there’s a density controls of 1 unit per 300 square metres which is only slightly more generous than most residential zones at the moment), although minor units seem like they can be added in most zones as long as they form part of the main building. However on sites larger than 1200 square metres it seems the density rules drop away and much more flexibility is possible – though still up to two levels in height and this will require a resource consent.

The need for a resource consent seems like it will be pretty common under the Unitary Plan, with other rules like pre 1944 demolition controls covering pretty vast sections of the city, while any development in the terraced housing and apartment zone, and most of the business zones, will require some level of consent. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (as it means there can be discussion over the proposal’s quality), but the uncertainty of a consent may dissuade some from developing – potentially undermining the intention of the more intensive zones to actually enable growth in a relatively painless way.

Of course the other part of the Unitary Plan that we’ve taken great interest in is parking – whether the plan would retain minimum parking requirements, whether it would impose maximums, where there might be minimums or maximums and what levels those rates might be. Looking through the relevant section it seems as though there have been some improvements on the current system of minimums pretty much everywhere except the CBD – however I think the plan could still go a lot further. This is my summary of the approach:parking-controlsPerhaps what’s most striking from the outset is that there’s nowhere where parking isn’t controlled in some way or another (except for some outdoor recreational activities it seems). The Unitary Plan either limits the amount of parking you can provide or it forces at least a certain amount of parking to be provided. In some cases it seems as though the rates are fairly similar – but depending on the zone you can’t provide any more, or any less, than this magical number of spaces.

I guess to be fair there are some important wins here. The zones where minimum parking requirements have been removed are the most important zones for that to have happened. All centres, the Mixed Use zone, the whole city fringe area, the apartment and terraced zone: these are the main locations where intensification and new business (retail and office) activity seems likely to occur in the future and it’s simply fantastic to see minimums completely gone from these areas – in this respect Auckland is probably fairly world-leading in removing minimum parking requirements from such a large chunk of the city (should this survive through to the Plan becoming operative).

Yet I’m still not sure whether the Mixed Housing zone needs to control parking provision at all, and to be honest I’m not sure whether maximum parking restrictions will be justifiable in all the locations where they’re proposed. Just because we might want to remove minimums doesn’t necessarily mean we need to apply maximums.

So to summarise my initial thoughts on the two key areas of interest in the Unitary Plan (how easy is intensification and have we got rid of minimum parking requirements) are mixed. I still find myself with a lot of questions:

  • What is the Mixed Housing zone really trying to achieve? If quite a lot of small-scale intensification is envisaged for that zone then the density controls and the minimum parking requirements might need to go.
  • Is the Apartment/Terraced zone extensive enough to achieve the level of intensification envisaged? Should we really be lumping apartments and terraced houses together anyway – as it seems likely terraced housing would be acceptable in a far wider range of situations than apartments will be?
  • Could the height limits in the Mixed Use zone vary a bit more than what’s proposed? It seems like there are higher limits in places like Newton but those higher limits may also be appropriate in areas like along the inner part of Great North Road or around Morningside train station.
  • Can maximum parking requirements really be justified in all the places where minimums aren’t wanted anymore? Aren’t there some areas where we might want to just not regulate parking?

My big fear for the plan is that it’s been sold as something far bolder than it actually is – and the public outcry may result in what’s potentially just a semi-bold plan being wound back to not much change at all. I’d be keen for some analysis of the residential, mixed use and business zones to get a feel for how bold they actually are, especially when the details of development controls are taken into consideration.

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  1. quote – “apartment/terraced (orange) and the mixed use (light-purple) zones:”

    Is that the right way around?

  2. Nice summary.

    I hadnt realised resource consents would be needed for the Apartment zones etc. This isnt too surprising given they want to control design aspects, but I agree it is a bit concerning. However assuming that the consenting process can be streamlined (a big assumption, but it may be that once we get a bit of precedent things become easier), I think the plan is pretty good as far as development potential goes. You have to compare it to the history of the situation. The MUL came in in 1999 (I think), with the idea that all the city councils would do the sort of upzoning that is in the plan. But it basically never happened for over a decade. So I think this is really good. On the other hand it is still not yet enacted (and the Govt appear to be unwilling to expedite this – very hypocritical in my opinion), so we will have to see if it gets watered down or not.

  3. Are there any plans to improve the PT link to royal oak. I catch the buses that come from there every day and they are darn useless. I had to wait 30mins last week for a bus even though it was 8am.

    They only plus we have going for us is when waterview gets finished as they claim the traffic is meant to halve.

      1. Have you checked the FTN maps? Bus service everywhere is getting substantially upgraded through the New Network.

        I see two FTN routes through Royal Oak in the New Network. One crosstown, one into the City Centre. The crosstown takes you to no fewer than four rail lines! At Mt Albert, Onehunga, Penrose, and Sylvia Park.

        1. It’s one thing to have a coloured line on a map and another to have a functioning serverice. Currently Manukau road is meant to have a bus every 7mins running along it. However due to the current high demand and zero onroad bus facilities it is often takes about the same time to walk the 4km trip than it does to take the bus. Certainly the times I have ran to work I have got there faster. And when I drive faster still.

        2. Perhaps you should raise that at your next community board meeting, and discuss it when they do local information sessions on the RPTP.

          Bus lanes are the simple answer to that I think, initially peak direction peak hour clearways, then perhaps permanent full time lanes at a later date.

          The opening of waterview would be the ideal time to do it, assuming a lot of traffic to Mangere an the airport switches over.

        3. I don’t think it’s really my responsibility to fix up the bus service on Manukau road. The main issue they have is people parking in clearways and the huge amount of traffic going along the road. It’s also a mission to cross in most places.

        4. Unfortunately councils are politically driven organizations. Everyone at AT knows that Manukau Rd needs improvements to bus reliability. Bit if they propose such a thing they will get kicking and screaming for vested interests, people who believe the have the right to park on the street whenever and wherever the like for example.

          They desperately need some kicking and screaming in favour of the likes bus lanes to make them. So yes, it is the public’a responsibility to demand change if they want it.

  4. “There would be even less of a sense of pride in being Aucklanders, as we live in far-flung suburbs and centres.”

    What does Brown mean by “we”. He might live in a far-flung suburb, if you can call an area of lifestyle blocks outside the MUL a “suburb”, but I live in the center. Yet again the poster-boy for sprawl, lack of access to public transport, and bigger than quarter acre sections lectures the rest of us about the evils of sprawl. Did he have his self-awareness removed at birth?

    1. I read it as meaning that a lot of Aucklanders do live out in the suburbs, and that if we don’t re-think our way of doing things this will continue (and probably increase), which will de-value the overall community of Auckland.
      But then I would rather have a mayor who promotes a more compact city even though he doesn’t live close in, than one who promotes motorways and sprawl and lives in an inner suburb. As a comparison, I think we should improve cycling amenities even though I only get on a bike maybe once a year.

      1. “But then I would rather have a mayor who promotes a more compact city even though he doesn’t live close in”

        That’s a bit like discovering your chastity-promoting religious leader is a rooter, and still supporting their chastity message.

        Presumably Brown has to discuss these issues with Nick Smith. It’d help Auckland’s position if the person promoting it wasn’t a hypocrite. Smith must know that the MUL is a few hundred meters north of Brown’s place, and so this area is planned for intensification. And the MUL is a few hundred meters south of Brown’s place, and so this area is also planned for intensification. But, magically, Brown’s place itself is between these two MULs so he and his neighbours can continue to live on lifestyle blocks with poor access to public transport. He doesn’t have to worry about his neighbour subdividing and building four additional houses on their section, let alone a block of flats. It’s a wonder Smith doesn’t burst out laughing when Brown tells him that this is all necessary to promote a sense of pride in Aucklanders.

        This isn’t a difficult concept. If you’re the Minister of Health then you ought to give up smoking. If you’re the Minister of Transport then you shouldn’t drive drunk. And if you’re promoting an intensification agenda for Auckland (which, incidentally, I agree with) then you should either move to the CBD or the CBD edge and walk to work; or move to an apartment in Manukau central where you can walk to the new railway station and take the train to work. If you still feel you need a chauffeur for your job then the car can be left at the office overnight and the chauffeur can also take public transport, rather than driving across town and picking you up to drive you to work along a motorway.

        1. What’s your obessesion with where Len Brown lives? My understanding was that he lived in Clover Park. Given that he was Mayor of Manukau City, obviously he would live in South Auckland. And Clover Park is far away, but hardly rural.

        2. I don’t care where he lives (which is out in the countryside and not in Clover Park). Only that he is a hypocrite. I hope I’d be consistent and also criticise other hypocrisy, but I can’t think of any other examples when it comes to Auckland transport.

        3. I don’t think it’s about stipulating where people must live, only to provide people more choice to live in more intensified neighbourhoods.

        4. And if you are minister of tourism you shouldn’t have a holiday home in Hawaii? I’m not sure that this approach to the behaviour of politicians is one that be made to stick with any degree of consistency, it’s really just a straw man rhetoric.

          It might help if Len lived in an inner-city apartment, but then again, you’d probably criticize him in that case for having no understanding of people who want to live in the far-flung suburbs.

          Louis is right on the money with his comment above at 9:38.

    2. Yes I don’t know what he has against the various town centres like Albany, hobsonville, botany and Manukau. I think having these outer centres gives people a greater sense of place in Auckland, not less.

      As we can see in the plan however they are looking to further develop these places so what Len claims appears different from that of the plan.

      I do wonder how hard some of these developments will be however. Very few people like having big buildings popping up next to their quiet little houses.

      1. The problem I have with places like Albany, Botany and Manukau is the sprawl, big box retail with poor public transport, a complete lack of pedestrian amenity and acres of parking. The plan is for a more intensive, people friendly development.

  5. One thing that is disappointing is they have not looked at rezoning Penrose to residential. The former CEO of Fletchers came out not so long ago advocating for this, and given Fletchers mush own half of Penrose it sounded like it might be a real goer. It is well located next to rail and motorway.

    1. I think this might happen in time, possibly when large blocks of land come to the end of leases etc. but if all the industrial land left the isthmus, that would create a lot of travel need for the workers in the rugby league suburbs.
      I wouldn’t want all the industry to be down south.

      1. “if all the industrial land left the isthmus, that would create a lot of travel need for the workers in the rugby league suburbs”

        Most future occupations will not be in factories, but in offices and studios. Newmarket’s brewery becoming a university campus is one example of the change.

        1. The lion brewery moved down south, takanini? Forcing a lot of additional kilometers travelled.
          Still see lots of breweries in Europe in the middle of cities, it’s part of the culture.

          Agree that services segment will expand, but it’s nice to have the products industries mixed in with the services.

  6. Puketapapa Local Board sent out an invitation last week to Three Kings residents to take part in some workshops to discuss future development in the Three Kings precinct, once the Winstones quarry closes. I’m colour blind, but the map boundaries supplied with the invitation mirror some of the areas marked for housing intensification.

    The closure of the quarry provides a rare opportunity for Auckland Council to demonstrate how good their planning can be, as a substantial piece of land on the isthmus becomes available. TK has access to the high frequency Mt Eden Road bus route which also accommodates the Airport Bus, plus the East-West route along Mt Albert Road. The Southwestern Motorway is a block away, including reserved land for a potential rail line. It has substantial green space in the Three Kings Reserve, plus the remaining Big King itself, plus Monte Cecilia park a short walk away. The shopping precinct itself is dying and ripe for redevelopment.

  7. One of the biggest problems in the past when it came to development was the issue of fragmented land ownership. Amongst other things, this has been a factor in many areas of Auckland becoming a city of large houses on small sections – a giant compact suburb. Basically, it is very hard to do intensive housing well when it is not done comprehensively. I think the Unitary Plan recognises this but it’s only method to encourage better intensive development is to make land assembly more attractive than it currently is. It hasn’t really worked before as it was just written off as too hard by individual property owners, Perhaps to avoid repeating this problems again there I wonder if a stick is needed as well? I haven’t thought through how this could be achieved other than a crude tool of prohibiting intensive development on sites less than XYZ square metres.

    Oh – and in response to comments about needing a resource consent: the alternative is to prescribe development standards. This is a very bad idea. You end up with a bare-minimum tick-box design approach to housing a-la Albany’s first tranche of terraced development. The resource consent process provides discretion and flexibility that a set of rules cannot. Resource consent applications often get bogged down in arguments over whether an application should be publicly notified or not (this is because notified applications add time and cost as a result of the submitters being able to appeal decisions). That’s Wellington’s fault for creating such a complicated process – which their latest reforms aren’t going to improve much if at all. I see the Unitary Plan is trying to avoid the notification problem by making all controlled and restricted discretionary applications automatically non-notified. That should mean everyone can get on with assessing the merits of the proposal and deciding yes or no – much quicker.

    1. “Oh – and in response to comments about needing a resource consent: the alternative is to prescribe development standards. This is a very bad idea. You end up with a bare-minimum tick-box design approach to housing a-la Albany’s first tranche of terraced development.”

      Why cant the market set what spec they want developments to be? If we have broad scale liberalisation, there will suddenly be a lot of competition between developments. Quality will become more essential than ever for success.

      1. Sure but houses, once built stick around for decades, so any construction is there for a generation at least.
        So even bare minimum spec houses are effectively here to stay.
        And thats not actually solving the problem long term.

      2. “Why cant the market set what spec they want developments to be? If we have broad scale liberalisation, there will suddenly be a lot of competition between developments. Quality will become more essential than ever for success.”

        How do you then explain shoddy housing in NZ? Until recently there were no laws or rules that mandated insulation. So was there competition between builders to build dry and warm houses? The current state of housing stock speaks for itself.

        I’ve lived in two apartments facing Beach Rd (frequent truck traffic from the port) and neither had double glazing. AFAIK none of the older buildings do. So, a tiny increase in building costs but a huge improvement in living conditions? Only if it’s mandated by government or you do it yourself.

        1. You have to ask why the developer didnt include. They obviously managed to flog the apartments no problem, or did they?. If so the buyers obviously didnt see it as a big deal, or worth the extra cost.

        2. Swan I’m always interested in your faith in perfect outcomes from the ideal of an open market and quite often I agree it’s certainly worth a try, or at least may be no worse than the alternatives. But equally often it just seems a little naive. For example history shows that car manufacturers consistently fight any regulations to lower emissions and improve safety, always claiming that the outcomes are either not physically possible or will add unaffordable costs on their products. But once faced with the regulations they spent millions to avoid they found a way to make them work. And in fact it has only been the demands of regulation that lead to seat belts and less polluting cars being available for the consumer to exercise any choice over at all, although then they haven’t had the choice, luckily, once these things became mandatory.

          Sometimes the market will behave to keep options away from consumers, especially in a little economy like NZ where competition is usually far from perfect; as there are so many industries and sectors that operate as cosy duopolies, and the distance to other markets works to keep other competitors from entering and offering different products or services or prices. Regulation for certain outcomes then becomes a better option than hoping that self interest will always work.

        3. “Why cant the market set what spec they want developments to be? If we have broad scale liberalisation, there will suddenly be a lot of competition between developments. Quality will become more essential than ever for success.”

          Well if this was an treated like an ecosystem, then the better houses would out-compete the crappier ones in the market (i.e. sell more) and the crappier ones would then die off (actually the crappier developers of the houses would go away – the houses they built will stay).

          In an ecosystem, when a species “fails” its gets cleaned up (eaten) by other species when it “loses”
          – so the remains of the failures don’t hang around long in the wild.

          For houses, the failures stick around as long as the successes and more to the point – actually take up room and resources that prevent the successful expansion of the winners, producing a less than optimal outcome.

          But as this isn’t a wildlife documentary on Darwins Evolution of the Species.
          We expect AC to set some ground rules to stop the inappropriate use of resources (land, building materials, money etc) for the wrong outcomes.
          Problem has been that until now the wrong rules have been used and/or wrongly enforced.

        4. I probably shouldnt have made such a sweeping statement. I agree we need some regulation on development. Obviously that is what the zone rules are for a start. I was mainly responding to NZ Planner boy’s statement that you dont want written down rules, you want to have “flexibility”. To me that just sounds like subjectivity and uncertainty.

          We should have regulations which are clear, and which give a minimum standard. And the regulations should restrict themselves to areas where it might be difficult for prospective buyers to actually determine for themselves what they are buying. For example earthquake standards, insulation. However we should be careful about going beyond a level which at least some people might be happy with – by doing so we are cutting out sections of the market and adding cost. The other area for regulation is of course around externalities but I guess that is a different subject.

          On the issue of developments gone bad – I guess my thought is that competition will help to prevent the bad ideas even getting off the drawing board.

          Personally I think we will only need a few developments of each housing type before we get a bedding in of what works and what doesnt. And from there plain sailing :).

    2. That’s why I’n happy with the specific mention of terraces over apartment blocks. You can get perhaps three or four across a typical street frontage of a single suburban site. No need for land assembly, that is one way that works fine piecemeal.

      Take a look at Melbournes fabulously popular terraces. Most were built in twos or threes, very few number more than four on the same row. But over time the 19th c developers built out while suburbs with contiguous terraces, one plot at a time.

  8. Isn’t all of this just an exercise in pointlessness since National appear to be now planning to take away all planning roles from Auckland Council and vesting that with themselves?

      1. Not that I’m in favour of riots generally, but there’s something hilarious about the idea of a riot over zoning decisions.

    1. Even if the government forces changes to the MUL, it’ll still be up to Auckland Council to sort out the detail of what redevelopment can happen in existing built-up areas. So it is critical – either developers will have no choice but sprawl, or they’ll have the option of sprawl or intensification.

  9. I agree with Patrick’s response to Swan’s idealism about markets being the answer to quality development. Two words: leaky buildings.

    1. There are many components to quality Sacha, bearing in mind that quality broadly speaking means fitness for purpose. Markets, specifications, standards, regulations, design and workmanship are some of the components of quality. The leaky building debacle was primarily a failure of standards, which should allow tolerance for some of the other factors being sub-optimal.

      Purchasers representing the market should have been able rely on the standards, but were let down badly. So I agree that market forces are not the sole arbiter of quality, however if the other factors are managed adequately there is a better chance that the market will deliver good outcomes.

      In respect of multi-storey apartments or even terraces, one of the risks is the shared nature of such developments, be it construction defects, inadequate maintenance, or poor management.

  10. Me too. I’m living in one while it gets totally re-clad and what about all those un-Scenic Apartments on Quay and also Nelson and Hobson. If that’s what the market dictates then we need to stay as far as away from the market as possible! Even as a future first home buyer I’d rather see a more expensive apartment well designed due to planning conditions than a cheap and nasty designed place due to the market doing its work! And yes I second Nick’s comment about being happy to see terraced houses specifically mentioned. Just a pity the Herald (not surprisingly) went down the sensationalist route with its front page yesterday.

  11. Thing is I like the market, blaming developers for wanting to make money is like blaming sharks for eating fish. So we, collectively, need to set the boundaries within which they can operate.

    While often what is delightful in a city may be the result of accretion and mad accident we still must try to make delight by choice too.

    To me the best thing about the UP is that it does represent a real attempt to shape AK after decades of incoherent half pie hands off nonsense. Or rather a great deal of bossiness about the wrong things and no big picture idea of what were making. The worst of both worlds.

    1. Patrick, you know that there are “markets” and there are “MARKETS???” just as there are “sharks” and there are “SHARKS!!!!”

      So, yes Developers=Sharks is an ok comparison as far as it goes, but not all sharks/developers are created equal.

      So we need to keep out the “big whites”, Mako and Grey Nurse type developers who’ll do (eat) anything for a buck, and let the little dogfish and other smaller ones hang around and do an ok good job on a level playing field.

      So yes I prefer prescription and rules to a “perfect market solution” for housing – mostly as the hands off approach doesn’t actually seem to work here.

  12. I nearly soiled myself in excitement when I saw this map, was just curious about why so little of the isthmus was orange though, assume it must be character buildings? Also why is Newton not included in the city centre? or is that a post 2021 thing only?

  13. “Isn’t all of this just an exercise in pointlessness since National appear to be now planning to take away all planning roles from Auckland Council and vesting that with themselves?”

    Bbc- indubitably. If they can’t control AC via the ballot they’ll control AC via other means. The timing of Mighty River seems planned to win them the next TWO elections.

    It won’t matter what Aucklanders think..

  14. Is not the same as Newmarket, Newmarket has a centre of 18 and 8 and lower aroung, I would have liked to see Newton the same with the 18 around where the new station is going.

    1. 9pm on a Saturday? Well, from now on I don’t think anyone can ever criticise Auckland Council for not working hard.

  15. My house is currently 6a with no restrictions on what I might to with the existing house. The 1944 blanket restrictions would stop me subdividing if I wanted to, and I guess because of that will knock $300K off the current value. I’m wondering if I apply for a demolition permit now, how long it would be vaild for.
    Minimum subdividable area goes down to 300m2.
    Height to boundary is relaxed by 0.5m (height at boundary goes from 2m to 2.5m, angles stay same)
    Setback from road goes down to 3m with no area restriction as there was previously.

  16. Does anyone know why most of the properties on Mount Wellington Highway north of Waipuna Road have been rezoned from Residential 6a to Light Industrial?

      1. Currently there are some houses, although a fair number of them are businesses. There are some rundown flats as well underneath the power pylons. Although the pylons are coming down now.

        1. It’s definitely light industrial in the map. If it is genuine and not a mistake, it seems bizarre. There’s already tons of industrial land reasonably nearby in every direction – both further north and south within Mount Wellington, plus Penrose to the west and East Tamaki to the east. Some of that land is even being rezoned from industrial to something else. Yet the new area would itself be a new industrial island in mainly residential surroundings. It wouldn’t even be that much use to industrial tenants, because all the lots are for suburban houses – so less than a quarter acre.

          While there are a lot of businesses, they’re not particularly industrial (they are currently legal in a residential zone, after all), and there are still a lot of homes, too. Pretty much the textbook reason for having zoning is making sure that factories can’t move in next door to existing dwellings.

          What I’d wondered is if there’s something I don’t know – maybe Housing NZ still owns most of the land and wants to clear the place out. Or it’s all somehow part of a sinister “phase 3” of AMETI.

        2. Maybe a lot of the plots were bought as part of the AMETI project?
          But interesting you mention HNZ, as the plots along pilkington and tripoli that are orange are HNZ properties. I wonder what input they had.

      2. I’ve had it confirmed by council that’s it not an error. The area is being rezoned industrial, and that means developers can build factories as-of-right next to existing houses.

  17. The reaction on here, and from Central Government, just goes to show what a huge mistake the Super City was.

    Given that there the savings espoused by Hide have not eventuated I’d like to see the region split up into it’s original cities.

    1. No it doesn’t. Super city was one of the best thing to happen to Auckland. Now things in the city can move forward in one direction instead of multiple hick towns.

    2. The reaction was good by Ministers after the official release even though none were present at the release. Also Hide has already confessed that the Super City was not about savings.

      1. They work, but they take a really long time to load, and if you pan around a lot they tend to backlog. Try keeping all the overlays off until you’re in the right spot, then just turn on the ones you need, and turn them off again before you move. It doesn’t help that the application downloads all the aerial photography, even if it’s not visible behind the zones layer.

        I’ve emailed asking for the source data, but no luck yet.

  18. Oliver, please confirm how your Unitary Plan site meets the government’s web standards, particularly for disabled citizens. Or provide your superior’s contact details instead if you prefer.

    1. Unfortunately, local government doesn’t have to meet the NZ Government Web Standards if they don’t want to. Something that really needs looking at.

    1. I’m not letting them off anything, the (central) government is. Councils need to be made to bring their websites up to scratch the same as government departments are. I figure you’ve contacted AC about the unitary plan website, and I figure you’ve gotten the same blow off as me when I’ve complained about blatantly inaccessible local government websites.

  19. Steve. I totally agree. I wrote NZ’s only local government accessible comms policy alongside other practical work in that space for a decade.

    Auckland Council has some basic obligations to all of its citizens. I’d rather not offer them any boilerplate excuses for not meeting those, is all. Our national web standards are an obvious benchmark and this is not the first time they’ve been used as such at local body level. I’d like a reply from Oliver, not from other commenters please.

    1. I’d like to hear from Oliver too. I wasn’t trying to speak for him. I’ve made some of those inaccessible websites, and it’s frustrating not being allowed to make sure that they meet the needs of everyone.

  20. Hi Sacha and Steve D,
    Posting on a non-council website isn’t the most reliable way to get hold of us, best to try
    However I’ve seen your comments. I’m assuming you’re talking about the e-plan itself? There is PDF access to the content and our technical folk have done a lot of work to ensure screen readers are able to access the site but I know that some of this work is ongoing. Hope to have further details tomorrow – but if you can let me know specific concerns that would help.
    In the meantime though you might like to know that we’ve got a workshop for the disability community on Tuesday 9 April from 10-12.30pm at the Fickling Centre, 546 Mount Albert Road, Three Kings. It will be chaired by Colleen Brown, Deputy Chair of the Council’s Disability Strategic Advisory Group. If you want to attend, please email the same address:

  21. Thanks for replying Oliver.

    Given your site relies on a scripted dynamic menu and lacks the most basic heading markup, are you absolutely sure you want to stick by this statement? – “our technical folk have done a lot of work to ensure screen readers are able to access the site”

    1. Hi again, Sacha, a quick update. We have the full text of the plan available in html format with heading markup here:
      So I’ll make sure that link is easier to find at the top of the front page of the shapeauckland site.
      Thanks for the input and please keep the comments coming in to the UP email address
      It’s not just the plan itself that is draft, it’s the way we’re delivering it, so all comments on use and accessibility much appreciated. It will help us plan out how we customise the e-plan software for the next phase.

  22. Not sure if was this thread but I mentioned how bonkers I thought the Minimum Parking Regs for Unis are and mentioned my Architecture class. So today I did a survey on transport modes with the class, here are the numbers:

    9 walked
    4 bus
    1 train
    1 single occupant car
    1 carpool [3 in car]
    1 drive to city fringe then skateboard [!]
    1 bike [me]

    Really surprised, I expected more bus and less walking, maybe more cycling. And the drive/skateboard is out of left field!

    The UP mandates some 5 parking spaces for this class, clearly too many and totally pointless. Of course this is AK UNi so it gets an exception but any competitor out of the city centre would have to provide these.

    1. Massey on the Shore would be quite the opposite, I’d say at least half of students drive, at least it will be on the FSN soon.

    2. I think there’s a lot of ‘drive to city fringe then […]’ (where […] might be walk, skateboard, scooter, bus or whatever) going on. Unless you are near the train, this is a much quicker way of getting in from far out than most other options.

  23. 1 – I bet there are a large number of Rural residents who can’t access the Draft Unitary Plan because of their slow rural internet connection not their choice of browser.

    2- I have a concern that in the Draft Unitary Plan more than one dwelling is a discretionary activity in the Rural zone. The Franklin District Plan made secondary dwellings on Rural zone sites less than 40 hectares, which weren’t for ‘grannies’ or on-site workers, Non-Complying. As such more than one dwelling on existing Rural properties in the Franklin district are presently fairly uncommon.

    I can see the Unitary Plan’s more relaxed rules on second (or more) dwellings in will allow the rapid multiplication of dwellings in the rural zone of the former Franklin District, making the de facto southern Rural Urban Boundary the boundary between Auckland Council and the Waikato District.

    In view of this I think National MPs should be jumping up and down defending New Zealand’s best cropping land from the over-generous development provisions of the Unitary Plan rather than suggesting Auckland Council needs to release more land for development. This surely must be supported by National’s natural support in Federated Farmers.

    The results for transport are obvious. You can’t service rural-lifestyle lots by bus. The number of extra car journeys at the southern part of the Auckland Council area will increase dramatically. The best solution to prevent total clogging of the southern motorway would be provision of free, secure car parking at railway stations in the Buckland-Drury corridor and use of the Waiuku line for electric powered trains.

  24. It appears that our section goes from one dwelling per 400 sq m (I think 6A) to one per 300 (residential mixed) in this proposal, making it large enough for two dwellings where it currently is only allowed one. Did we just get a windfall? And when does this all come into force?

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