Auckland Council seeks changes to Urban Development Bill

Publish Date : 17 Feb 2020
Auckland Council seeks changes to Urban Development Bill

Auckland Council continues to support Kāinga Ora, the government’s new agency for urban development, but is asking the Government to consider changes to some of its proposed powers.

In its submission on the Urban Development Bill – which sets out the powers that Kāinga Ora will have to carry out large scale urban development in ‘Specified Development Project Areas’ – the council has raised a number of concerns resulting from the draft Bill’s provisions.

These include the duplication of local government responsibilities for consenting, decision-making that is far-reaching and removed from local communities, potential development impacts on regional reserves and infrastructure networks, and the lack of alignment with the Auckland Plan 2050 and the Unitary Plan - strategic plans for the city agreed to after extensive consultation with Aucklanders and required by legislation.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says: “The council is supportive of Kāinga Ora’s goal to address housing supply issues but we have a strong view that this Bill must include assurances of collaboration and input from local government, without which the needs of our communities and the goals of this legislation cannot be realised.”

Councillor Chris Darby, Chair of the Planning Committee, says the council and the government already work in partnership on a range of initiatives to help deliver more housing and quality urban development in Auckland and that "our existing close co-operation needs to continue through Kāinga Ora."

“Auckland’s rapid population growth is putting huge pressure on our communities, our housing, our environment and our infrastructure. Solving these complex growth issues requires combined council and central government responses, which is why we support the general direction of Kāinga Ora.

“But we want to see improvements made to the Bill around how Kāinga Ora works that ensures greater collaboration between the council and the government, to enable quality compact urban development that creates enduring local communities with a sense of belonging.”

Councillor Josephine Bartley, Planning Committee Deputy Chair, says the Bill needs to address gentrification issues and focus on providing housing in areas most in need.

“The Bill should enable development that shares prosperity and opportunities across all Aucklanders and delivers a better standard of living for everyone, which is an outcome of the council’s Auckland Plan 2050.

“In particular, affordable housing needs to be provided in areas where the property market is not always able or motivated to invest in but where quality housing is most needed.”

Key submission points

In response to its concerns Auckland Council’s submission requests that the Bill be amended to:

  • ensure a partnership approach between central government, local government and mana whenua to provide for local decision-making and to avoid unnecessary duplication of local government roles
  • align the work of Kāinga Ora with the Auckland Plan 2050 and the Unitary Plan to provide certainty for our communities and infrastructure providers and integrate the Bill with other national directions and/or initiatives
  • require Kāinga Ora to follow best practice urban design and urban planning principles
  • allow ample time and opportunity for community engagement in development plans
  • ensure new infrastructure supporting development is integrated with Auckland’s existing networks

“The Bill’s development is early in the legislative process and the council will continue to engage constructively with the government to ensure the Bill meets the needs of not just Auckland, but New Zealand”, says Councillor Darby.

Submissions on the Bill closed on 14 February 2020. A copy of the council’s submission is available here.

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