The Auckland Council starts debating the recommendations of the Independent Hearings Panel on the Notified Unitary Plan this morning. This will be a standing blog post that collates the latest updates on the process. As this stage the debate is set down for 3 days, and the Auckland Council has a statutory deadline of the end of next week to notify their recommendations. However this deadline can be extended for 20 working days if requested by the Minister of the Environment.

Thursday’s agenda:

A number of key debates should come up on Thursday. This includes:

  • Design Assessments
  • Shifting the Rural-Urban boundary from the Regional Plan to District Plan (allows private companies to apply to make changes)
  • City Centre rules (including the port)
  • Residential Zone rules (including minimum dwelling size)

Wednesday in brief:

The first order of business was to shift consideration of the details of the Unitary Plan from the Auckland Development Committee to the Governing Body. This was after Independent Maori Statutory Board members agreed that this was the best way forward.

The Governing Body meeting started on an interesting note with Dick Quax suggesting the council adopt the whole of the IHP’s recommendations without debate. However councilors like Penny Hulse & Chris Darby noted their were some technical mistakes that needed to be fixed, and also a need to have debate in the open. The Quax motion lost 13 to 7.

The first set of recommendations to accept all areas of the plan where the officers had noted there were no major shifts from the council’s position passed without any trouble. The council moved onto recommendations where the panel proposed some changes. Their were some small debates early in the afternoon, notably the fate of Civic Administration building (confirmed as Category A). Later in the afternoon several key debates came up. The first was the IHP’s proposed rejection of places of significance to Mana Whenua. The IHP recommendations were confirmed 12 to 6. The last major debate of the day was over the proposed removal of the 1944 heritage overlay that required consent for the removal of any building built before 1944. After a bit of back and forth this also passed 15 to 5.

For an alternative (and much more interesting take) have a look at this Spinoff article that sums up the day, and a most unlikely champion for the Unitary Plan

What the hell just happened at the Unitary Plan hearings?

More details of Wednesdays’s proceedings:

10/08/2016 5.20pm.

Votes against were Cameron Brewer, Christine Fletcher, Wayne Walker, John Watson and Mike Lee.

10/08/2016 4.45pm.

The vote on the Mana Whenua overlay has just occurred, and discussion of panel’s decision to remove the 1944 overlay is up next.

10/08/2016 3.30pm. Starting to get into more substantive debates. First close debates happened in the matter of the schedule of historic heritage. The most contested vote happened around the Civic Administration, that the IHP recommended be added as a a Category A Historic building. There was a move for the council to reject this proposal, however it was voted down. Next up for debate are the IHP’s rejection of the specific need for Design Assessments for all development about 4 dwellings.

10/08/2016 2.20pm. The council is now onto Part B of the agenda. This is where the council officers have identified policy shifts proposed by the IHP, but still propose that the recommendations are accepted. Going through our first policy votes, no issues of major debate, however Mike Lee seems to be voting against a variety of recommendations.

10/08/2016 1.45pm. The first issues of policy shifts proposed by council officers for rejection are now up for debate. First up to be debated is framework plans and design statements. They are working through all of the issues identified, and debate will occur once all issues have been noted.

10/08/2016 1.40pm. The council is now going through the topics the officers have recommended for acceptance. No issues were raised, so all these topics have been accepted. This covers 17 topics, so a reasonable chunk of the plan has gone through, and thus cannot be generally appealed. This does cover some issues that could be contentious, such as Subdivision – Urban and Volcanic Viewshafts.

10/08/2016 1.15pm. Motion loses 13 to 7. Cameron Brewer, George Wood, John Walker, Christine Fletcher and Sharon Stewart support the Quax/Krum motion. While the motion has lost, lets hope the sentiment of these councilors for minimal changes to be made remains. See Stuff’s report on the matter here.

10/08/2016 1.10pm. Penny Hulse, Chris Darby and Cathy Casey are opposed to Quax’s motion. Penny Hulse applauds sentiment, but says panel has made “cataclysmic errors” in some areas. Is a need to debate the officers recommendations and have democracy in the open. Chris Darby notes need to also change technical errors that have been identified by staff, that wouldn’t be covered by the Quax/Krum motion.

10/08/2016 12.50pm. Fascinating procedural motion put forward by Cr Dick Quax and Denise Krum for Unitary Plan recommendations to be accepted in full. Says all of us have to swallow some dead rats, however we need to compromise, and overall all of us are happy with the plan. Also says need to avoid picking over the entire plan, as council is lacking hearing all the evidence that the panel did.

10/08/2016 12.30pm. Governing Body meeting starting now. Len Brown starts off by thanking various people including the Independent Hearings Panel, Len says they have “delivered a very balanced set of recommendations”. Len also suggesting they “get on with it” and they are getting that mood from the community.

10/08/2016 11am: After the great contributions from the IMSB members the debate depends into the usual mess. Despite obvious widespread support for the recommendations the debate still takes another hour.

Bad signs from Cr Mike Lee. He is talking in very negative language about the government appointed hearings panel;. the whole process, and impacts of plan of private property without rights of appeal.

The committee will now break until 12.30pm so they can sort out administrative matters and have lunch.

10/08/2016 10.30am: Len Brown announces that they have now decided it is best to shift the full debate to the Governing Body. IMSB members David Taipari & Liane Ngamane say they are happy with the officers recommendations on the Unitary Plan, so need need for their voice to be present.

10/08/2016 10am: First up we have conflicts of interest. People have declared if they have any conflicts with rules being debated, and if so they will have to leave the table.

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  1. What drugs are in the water at this meeting? Quax Brewer Krum Wood Walker Fletcher and Stewart all voting for a sensible motion that two of them put forward?

    1. There was a Part C to Cr Quax’s motion which would exclude “contentions” items from the resolution of support. The process for the exemptions was not clear.

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