Last week the council released its preliminary position on zoning changes to for the Unitary Plan. The focus has predictably been on the changes to residential areas with those opposed to providing housing claiming high rises are about to sprout across the suburbs. Despite the noise the changes allowed are actually fairly minor with over 77% of Auckland still limited to two storeys and another 17% limited to three storeys.

Looking at the maps over the last week I’ve noticed a couple of other interesting changes.

The addition of Light Rail

Light rail was only announced by Auckland Transport at the beginning of the year and it seems the council have been quick to add it to the maps but interestingly not all of it. AT’s current light rail plans would over time see tracks laid down Sandringham Rd, Dominion Rd, Mt Eden Rd and Manukau Rd with the first two using Queen St and the latter two using Symonds St.

The new maps show light rail but most interestingly not all of it. Only the route down Dominion Rd then Denbigh Ave/Stoddard Rd (to a depot) is shown in full. In addition is a spur down New North Rd to Kingsland train Station but the rest of Sandringham Rd along with Mt Eden Rd and Manukau Rd are not shown. The Queen St and Dominion Rd to Stoddard Rd sections line up with the first two stages AT list on their website however the section to Kingsland is only included with the whole Sandringham Rd line.

My understanding is AT are looking at bringing forward the extension to Kingsland as a way of mitigating some the impact that will be caused by CRL construction works and full trains that may otherwise be leaving people behind.

I’m not overly worried about some lines being missing as due to them being in the road corridor I imagine it’s much easier to add light rail than it is other changes.

UP Light Rail Dom Rd

You may also notice the CRL doesn’t seem to show the connection from the east although again that may just be an error as we know it’s consented and AT’s train plans show it as essential.

A much bigger change from a land use perspective is a large extension of industrial land around Manukau. In the original plans the land to the west of SH20 and along SH20B is listed as Rural Production as shown below.

UP Manukau Zoning Old

In the new maps this land has been changed to light industry as you can see.

UP Manukau Zoning New

I wonder if this will foreshadow the NZTA claiming they suddenly need to spend hundreds of millions upgrading SH20B

There’s also an extension of Light industry to the north of Ascot Rd and west of Kirkbride Rd. In the original plan only the area bordering Kirkbride Rd was listed as Light Industry. The black dotted line is a revised Rural/Urban boundary.

UP Mangere Light Industry

In the North there is a lot more Future Urban land around Dairy Flat that has been zoned for as the two maps below show (Future Urban land is Yellow while the brown is Countryside Living.

Original Zoning

UP Dairy Flat Old

New Zoning

UP Dairy Flat New

Any other big changes you’ve noticed?

Share this


  1. Sticking with Manukau you picked up the increase of the Light Industry zoning in the area (I do wonder if NZTA will upgrade SH20B while Watercare will do the Southern Inceptor both which go north of $700m each) but missed the extension of the Heavy Industry Zone too in the Wiri complex.

    Check the former quarry zones and west of Roscommon Road, they are all flipped to heavy industry zoning. Both industry extensions will give big boosts to the area in industrial capacity.

    A smaller one to note is that the AUT Manukau site went from Special Purpose to General Business and Mixed Use Zone. Wonder what is up with that one?

    1. The special purpose (tertiary education) zone was awful. It was basically created by certain inner west auckland councilors at the 11th hour so they could continue to walk their dog through unitecs private open spce. You will notice in the submissions basically every tertiary institutaion requested they be removed, aside from massively undercutting the value of the land, the zones were very inflexible and covered such a diversity of campuses across the entire region that they allowed for things like the development of a farm on the manukau site as a permitted activity.

      1. Unitec’s “private” open space? Unitec, like all polytechnics and universities, is a PUBLIC entity.

        Perhaps educational institutions should remember this.

      2. You can take your nasty smear against Cr Casey and stick it in your Xmas box. Folks around here are smart enough to spot that sort of canard at 100 paces.

        1. Sorry Lindsay, it’s correct that Cathy has opposed a lot of development. She was also one of the councillors to sign Dick Quax letter to delay the process by allowing new submissions

  2. That’s a big area for residential in Dairy Flat! Almost stretches down to Albany so it wouldn’t be hard to imagine in a decade the council just opening the whole area up meaning Auckland really would stretch from Papakura/Pukekohe-Hatfields Beach.

    Also if they intend to upgrade SH20B would be nice to either build HR or at least leave a designation for that so that there can be future rail from Manukau to Airport

    1. I think given Auckland’s high population growth it might be needed. Infact I think it could be prudent to extend the Future Urban Land to include all land between State Highway 17 (Dairy Flat Highway) and the motorway (State Highway 1). This area is good for future urban given its proximity to the motorway and busway once extended to Silverdale (and hopefully one day a railway). The fact that no new housing is planned immediately North of Albany is surprising as Albany is already a large commercial center, and there is plenty of rural land very close to it that could support alot of high intensity housing. Also if we are to build another road crossing of the Harbour I think we should dramatically upzone most of North Shore, and allow an awful lot of intensification to justify it, with a view to doubling Auckland’s population in North Shore and Orewa/Silverdale/Whagaparoa by 2050

    2. Preserving a route for rail to the airport along this southern corridor should be a must if they’re going to start building out the farmland.

  3. But has the addition of light rail on the maps also been accompanied by upzoning of said areas? Seems to be marginal, rather than sweeping change along those corridors…

    1. I mean, my house and surrounding area some 150m distance off Carrington Road (current status: some buses) is zoned much more intensively than houses half that distance from Dominion Road (current status: tons of buses and future light rail). Still seems crazily reluctant to accept upzoning in some areas.

      1. Maybe the latter is zoned for very rich people.

        But yeah more seriously I have never seen an explanation as to why that single housing zone is mostly concentrated around the CBD, and the more dense zones are further out.

        1. > But yeah more seriously I have never seen an explanation as to why that single housing zone is mostly concentrated around the CBD, and the more dense zones are further out.

          The single house zone around the CBD is there because there’s also a heritage or character overlay on those sites, and buildings old enough to qualify are naturally in the inner suburbs.

          That said, I’ve never seen a good argument for why heritage-protected buildings need to have a single-house underlying zone. Surely the overlay is enough to prevent incompatible developments? If you can design a sympathetic multi-unit building next door, why shouldn’t you be able to?

    2. Particularly Kingsland. Given how much of the area is locked up as heritage or “character” (meaning mouldy leaky shacks built at random times with no particular theme), it’s mad how tame the upzoning has been in the few remaining areas. Surely all of New North Road, Rossmay Tce and Sandringham Road to Eden Park should be THAB or Mixed Use, if it’s not limited to Single House for heritage reasons. This is a major transport hub and town centre, and will only get more important with the CRL and light rail.

  4. Also more light industry up (down?) graded to heavy around Great South Road from Penrose down to Mount Richmond.

    I was wondering what the reason was for rezoning the majority of schools, they seem to now be various residential zones rather than ‘Special Purpose’. Kings College has retained its zone while Otahuhu College next door has been changed…

      1. So the increased hosing density will not require more schools? I see the areas closer in like Mt Eden requiring additional schools and not fewer. So when these outer areas are intensified we are likely to end up with schools that have no open area for playing fields.

  5. Is there any sort of written documentation associated with the new maps with the planning rationale/justification associated with the changes? Perhaps if they released that instead of just the maps it might help with acceptance of the changes.

    1. I have some of it here in regards to Out of Scope changes in play (although are they given my own submission called for the entire Isthmus to have a minimum residential zone of Mixed Housing Urban (overlays still applied))

      Another reason for some large changes is the scale back of the Pre 1944 overlay by some 85% triggered by the Panel’s Interim Guidance. This would allow previously Single House Zoned areas to go to MHS or MHU

      1. I don’t see anything at that link other than the maps and a very high level summary of the changes. I was thinking more in terms of the fact sheets summarizing the changes by area?

      1. Why would it need to be an OIA, isn’t it just the data in another format?

        Transparent and open government would release the data in multiple formats at once, or am I expecting too much?

        1. > Why would it need to be an OIA?

          Any request for information to the government comes under the OIA (or technically the LGOIMA for local government). Whether it’s an email, a tweet, or said in person, and whether you mention the OIA or not, it applies.

          I tend to use so other people can see the outcome of requests, and download the data as well.

  6. Re: Dairy Flat. The busway needs to cross to the west of the motorway prior to Albany station and then wind it’s way through the Dairy Flat rezoned area. Which I proposed over 20 months ago.

      1. Although that still shows the busway passing on the other side of the motorway to Albany station. I really don’t understand why NZTA would do this.

  7. I am pleased. They had mistakenly had my house as large lot, but this fixes it as single house zone. They talked to me about my submission after the call over and listened. Seems like the system works. 🙂

  8. The plan is pretty comical. Lightest touches on the rich central suburbs. But on the other hand they’ve spilled a lot of orange paint over Glen Innes!

  9. That’s a heck of a lot of new industrial, I wonder if the longer term plan is to move most of it out of Onehunga/Penrose/Mt Wellington/Glen Innes and repurpose those areas for more intensified housing – being a path of less resistance compared to rezoning nimbys

    And on a side note it’s all over for the Kirkbride Rd strawberry farm

    1. Much of the future industrial north of Ascot Rd in Mangere on the map shown is actually the existing sewage treatment plant and its required buffer zone, so not much is likely to happen there.

  10. Re: Dairy Flat maps – What is the new light blue area around the landfill? I can’t find the corresponding tag in the key…. Thanks

      1. That is not the airfield – the airfield is on Postman Road. Reply from Council says – It is a new Landfill zone. “The zone you refer to is a proposed “Landfill zone” and is intended to cover all the land that Waste Management NZ owns, so it includes land that is currently used directly for the landfill, plus land that surrounds it.

        Waste Management NZ Ltd lodged a submission to the Unitary Plan. This noted that under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan zoning maps, the entire landfill was zoned “Mixed Rural zone”. Specific zoning provision for the landfill was sought.”

Leave a Reply