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A very simple guide to the unitary plan

Published: 27 July 2017

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The Unitary Plan explained.

Everyone has questions about the Auckland Unitary Plan. Here are a few answers.

What is the Auckland Unitary Plan?

It’s the planning rulebook for all of Auckland.

Okay. What does that mean?

It's a set of rules that covers pretty much everything about what, where and how you can build in Auckland. Things like:

  • how to achieve a higher-quality city that provides more choices around how and where we live
  • what you can do in rural areas and the marine environment
  • what you can build and where.

You mean we didn’t already have rules for that?

The unitary plan replaces the Regional Policy Statement and 13 different district and regional plans.

What’s wrong with those then?

Many of them were developed back when Auckland was eight separate councils – each with a different direction and a different plan. Some of them are more than 10 years out of date.

And the region is much more connected than it used to be. Changes to one part of the city have effects on the others.

For example, you can’t build houses in one area without thinking about how people are going to commute to and from it, or how water is going to be supplied – and the effect that those decisions are going to have on other parts of the city.

So it’s about consistency?

Correct. And more importantly, it’s about planning for the future growth of Auckland. The city is growing a lot faster than was predicted until recently, and the older plans don’t take that into account.

So what’s going to change?

Nothing immediately. But, over time, Auckland is going to grow. It’s how we grow that the unitary plan deals with.

How can I find out more?

You can now read the ‘decisions version’ of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, which consists of the amended plan and maps that reflect the decisions made by the council.

You can also find out more about appeals, impacts, applications and more at the Auckland Council website.