Potential zoning changes and the Auckland Unitary Plan

Last Updated : 30 Nov 2015
Potential zoning changes Unitary Plan

Over the next 30 years, it is estimated Auckland will have one million more people, which will place huge pressure on our housing, transport and other infrastructure.

We need a balanced approach for future development that supports the qualities that make our neighbourhoods and town centres a great place to live.

Our goal is to provide more housing choices and improved affordability to deliver high quality urban living, better lifestyle choices and a healthy environment for all of Auckland.

The facts

The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan decision-making process

  • The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP) was open for submissions between 30 September 2013 and 28 February 2014. There was also an opportunity to lodge a further submission between 11 June 2014 and 22 July 2014.
  • The PAUP has been going through the statutory independent hearings process since September 2014.
  • Auckland Council is making decisions on its proposed position and evidence on a range of planning matters to put before the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel. These are not decisions on what will be included within the PAUP.
  • The Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel is a statutory body appointed by the government that hears submissions, reviews evidence and conducts mediation and hearings.
  • The independent panel will evaluate any changes to the PAUP and make its recommendation to the council. After that, Auckland Council will make decisions on the panel’s recommendations in about August 2016. All decisions will be publicly notified.

The current situation

  • No changes to zoning in the PAUP have been made. Auckland Council has not yet finalised its proposed position on zoning to put before the Independent Hearings Panel. 
  • The council is currently considering advice from staff who have analysed all submissions received on zoning in the PAUP and the guidance already given by the Independent Hearings Panel. 
  • From this advice, the council will give direction on the position to be taken at the hearings of the Independent Hearings Panel. 
  • The panel will hold hearings on zonings in March 2016. To help the public understand the council’s proposed position on changes to the zoning in the PAUP, maps for all areas will be available to the public in early December 2015. 
  • Final decisions on zoning, and other planning matters, will not be made by Auckland Council until August 2016 at the earliest.

What is happening

  • Like all successful cities across the world, Auckland is growing. Statistics New Zealand’s latest population estimates for the year to June 2015 show that Auckland grew by 43,000 people last year, to almost 1.57 million residents. In the next 30 years, there will be an additional one million more people. 
  • The Auckland Plan and the PAUP support a compact city approach to enable better housing affordability, more choice in housing, and easier transport by focusing growth within and around town centres and frequent public transport routes. 
  • Zoning must be cohesive and implemented for sound reasons to avoid inconsistent changes within areas that will create a haphazard and approach to planning and building across Auckland.
  • The PAUP legislation allows the Independent Hearings Panel to incorporate ‘out of scope’ changes into its unitary plan recommendations. The council can propose ‘out of scope’ zoning for public hearings to achieve better planning outcome and best practice, but it is the Independent Hearings Panel that will decide on what it recommends to the council.


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