Making room to grow: new government rules for a growing Auckland

Publish Date : 14 Feb 2022
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Tāmaki Makaurau is growing. We’re fast approaching two million people with another million expected in the next 30 years. More Aucklanders means a successful and vibrant city - more jobs, better retail and services, more exciting things to see and do, and safer, sustainable transport. 

And, as our city grows, so does the need for Aucklanders to have more choices for new homes in places you want to live and closer to the everyday things you need. 

Auckland Council has been leading the way. The Auckland Unitary Plan allows for a huge number of additional homes to be built across the city close to public transport and urban centres, with increasing numbers of higher-density homes and more housing choices being delivered at record levels.

This provides for a greater variety of new, warm, healthy homes and more opportunities for our people – from first home buyers, families, to downsizers - to live in more vibrant communities.

And with more Aucklanders, we need new and improved infrastructure. That’s why we’re investing $31.8 billion focused on building and maintaining vital infrastructure and continuing to provide the essential services over the next 10 years.

Central government has now taken a much stronger role in planning for the growth of New Zealand’s largest cities, introducing new rules that change how Auckland can grow.

Last year, the government passed the Enabling Housing Supply Act requiring the council to enable more medium-density housing of up to three storeys across most Auckland suburbs.

It has also introduced a new National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD). This requires the council to enable greater housing density with apartments of six storeys or more within walkable distances to our city centre, 10 large metropolitan centres and rapid transit stops - around train stations and rapid busway stops. 

The NPS-UD will create more opportunities for a variety of new homes in places with good access to jobs, shops, parks, and schools or where you can easily walk, cycle, or catch a bus or train to get around. 

This means we’ll need to make some big changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan (the city’s planning rulebook) including to the rules for how people can choose to develop their property.

There will be some exemptions to building heights and density requirements where it may not be suitable, such as protecting our natural environment and cultural and heritage sites, but only if there is strong evidence provided to justify it.

To make the best of these changes, we’re working to ensure that Auckland remains a great place to live, work and play for all our people and our generations to come.

Having your say

The changes we’re required to make to the Auckland Unitary Plan are mandatory; we must change our planning rules as directed by central government by 20 August 2022. This means we only have limited scope to make decisions to tailor these changes to our city.

Aucklanders will have two opportunities to have a say:

From 19 April to 9 May 2022, we’ll be asking for your feedback on some of the changes we need to make to help us prepare a proposed plan change to the Auckland Unitary Plan.

And from August 2022, you will be able to make a submission on this proposed plan change. This is another important opportunity allowing your views to be considered as part of the statutory decision-making process.

While we can only ask for feedback on the limited things we can decide, and not the wider mandatory changes the government has made, we still have some important decisions to make.

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