Resource management reform moves to next phase

Yesterday the government announced a major milestone in the very lengthy process to modernise New Zealand’s resource management system, with both the Spatial Planning Bill and the Natural and Built Environments Bill being introduced to parliament. A lot of Environment Minister David Parker’s press release focused on the cost and time savings that are hoped for as part of the reform, but there were also some interesting parts of what he said around the more fundamental shift in the new legislation – away from an ‘effects based’ system and more to an ‘outcomes based system’.…
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The Notified Unitary Plan Revision

The Auckland Council are currently consulting on the publicly notified changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP). The proposal follows a draft consultation on the changes the Council launched in April and are in response to the governments housing rules under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) from 2020 and the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) from 2021.…
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Flashback Saturday: Auckland can’t afford to price out its young

Most Saturdays we dig into the archives. This post by Peter was originally published in September 2014. It’s no secret that Auckland has a problem with high-cost housing. House prices have risen significantly faster than average incomes in recent years. As a recent Treasury working paper (Skidmore, 2014) documented, Auckland’s house prices have quadrupled in the last generation, and rents have more than doubled.…
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Building Consents in July-22

The council’s proposed changes to the Unitary Plan, that are meant to give effect to the governments National Policy Statement on Urban Development and Medium Density Residential Standards, are currently out for formal submissions. We’ll talk about that more in a separate post shortly but last week Stats NZ released the building consent data for July so I thought it was a good time to review what’s been happening in that space in recent months.…
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Flashback Saturday: Good Density

This post was originally published by Heidi in July 2019. (Credit for above image: Point and Miller) Promoting density is critical to avoid locking in sprawling, inefficient and climate-vulnerable modes of growth, but the kind of density matters. ‘Good density’ means functionally and socially mixed neighbourhoods with access to green spaces, comfortable, affordable, and climate-smart housing for all, and high-quality public transport networks.…
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More Homes vs Light Rail

Last week, the Coalition for More Homes sent a letter that we really shouldn’t have had to write. But first, some backstory and some acronyms. Auckland Council is required to implement Government planning reforms called the NPS-UD and MDRS. The NPS-UD (National Policy Statement on Urban Design 2020).…
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Abolish Zoning?

Much is made about how our cities manage the growth of the housing stock by engaging in the process of “urban planning”, that this is performed by “urban planners”, and that the colourful maps which are the outcome of this process done by these people are “plans”.…
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Supporting Sprawl in the Northwest and Warkworth

The Council are in the middle of making (government forced) changes to the Unitary Plan which will enable a lot more housing in existing urban areas. At the same time, Supporting Growth – the combined work of Auckland Transport, Waka Kotahi and various consultants, are charging ahead with plans to spend billions to support growth subsidise urban sprawl.…
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Protecting Tāmaki Makaurau’s Urban Character

If twenty-thousand buildings across the city were determined to have exactly the same kind of character, few would try to claim that each and every one is “special”.  And yet, this is exactly what Auckland Council planners are doing. The National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) is a document containing international best practices for developing affordable, accessible, and low-carbon cities, which directs the major local authorities to upzone to allow up to 6 story apartments near to important transit and employment centres.…
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