Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Auckland To Be ‘Super-Sized’

Tens of thousands of Aucklanders are now discovering that their neighbourhood could be ‘super-sized’ as part of much more aggressive council development than they were expecting says Mayoral Candidate Mark Thomas.

“After months of behind-close-doors discussion on to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan’s (PAUP) residential zones, the maps showing the changes have finally being released.”

Thomas, who has participated in many of the meetings, said many neighbourhoods across large parts of Auckland will find they have been ‘super-sized’ without being asked and without an adequate explanation.

“These changes mean thousands of Auckland home owners will actually ‘double-jump’ zones from the single house zone through mixed-house suburban and up to the much more dense mixed-housing urban.”

Thomas said it had already been reported that an earlier council policy change means double the number of units will be able to be built in the mixed-housing suburban zone and that there will be no density limit in the urban zone.

“We spent two years in 2012 and 2013 debating with our communities the PAUP. Some changes were always likely during the hearings process, but the scale of these changes and the poor council communication will cause a lot of concern.”

“Many people now caught up in the ‘super-size’ will not have made submissions to the Hearings Panel which has been considering the PAUP. They will have assumed they could have some confidence in the decisions made in 2013. Sadly, today they will see this is not true.”

Thomas said council had refused to communicate these changes directly to property owners, something he understood could have been done at relatively little cost.

“Council also has the opportunity to write to the Hearings Panel Chair and ask him to consider hearing additional submissions. Regrettably this option has also been refused.”

Thomas said the new maps now form part of council’s submission on the Plan and will be considered by the Hearings Panel. He acknowledged some of the zone changes may be justified, but the generic and non-consultative approach council had taken did not provide enough confidence.

“Council risks ill-will among homeowners towards the Plan growing with its misguided approach to dealing with such significant changes.”

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