Over the next two months OurAuckland is running a series called Growing Auckland, to explore the key topics of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan and explain how it will be decided.
The series comes as the Auckland Unitary Plan is only weeks away from reaching its biggest milestone to date. On 22 July the Independent Hearings Panel’s recommendations on changes they think should be made to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan will be presented to Auckland Council.
Growing by 800 people a week
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest, fastest-growing and most culturally diverse city. Our population is expected to increase by one million people over the next 30 years, and is already growing at a rate of 800 people per week. In the past year alone, we have welcomed more than 40,000 new Aucklanders.
Growth brings many advantages, more people means more jobs, stronger economic growth and a city with more to see and do. But as more people choose to live in Auckland, the growth pressures on our natural resources and vital infrastructure, such as housing and transport, increases.
Such growth has contributed to a housing supply shortage and a lack of affordable homes for many in Auckland, where median house prices are at record levels and reaching 10 times the median household income.
New Zealand's most important planning document
While there is no single solution to Auckland’s housing and infrastructure issues, a major piece in the puzzle is the Auckland Unitary Plan, the most important planning document in New Zealand history.
It has been five years in the making with hundreds of public meetings, tens of thousands of pieces of written feedback and submissions, 249 days of independent hearings with over 10,000 pieces of evidence submitted to the Independent Hearings Panel.
With the hearings now complete the Independent Hearings Panel is now considering their recommendations. Once received on the 22 July the council will make their decisions on these recommendations to decide the Auckland Unitary Plan by 19 August 2016.
What is the Auckland Unitary Plan?
It’s the city’s new planning rulebook. It will provide a single set of rules to manage how Auckland’s housing and infrastructure will develop in the future to accommodate our rapid population growth.
It will also ensure that future growth is balanced with enhancing and protecting the things Aucklanders value most like our historic heritage and natural environment.
The Auckland Unitary Plan is required by law. Special legislation introduced by the government has guided its development and how it will be decided.
The Auckland Unitary Plan sets out the rules about:
• What people can build and where
• How to achieve a higher quality and more compact city that provides more choices and options around how and where we live
• What you can do in rural areas
• Enhancing and protecting our historic heritage and natural environment.
Over the coming weeks we will be publishing more on OurAuckland about the Auckland Unitary Plan and about how council will make its final decisions. We will also explain the key topics of the Auckland Unitary Plan that will be decided in August.