From 18 August, Auckland Council will be asking you to make a submission on proposed changes to the city’s planning rule book – the Auckland Unitary Plan.
We must respond to two significant urban planning reforms introduced by central government. These require New Zealand’s largest and fastest growing cities, like Auckland, to enable more development at greater building heights and density.
It means big changes to how our city grows - allowing for more housing like apartments, townhouses, and terrace housing across our city and big changes to the rules for how people can choose to develop their property.
Be heard on Auckland’s housing future
Auckland Council’s proposed changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan respond to central government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD).
From 18 August until 29 September, you can give your views on how our city grows by making a submission on the proposed plan change – called Plan Change 78.
Make a submission online through the Auckland Council website
Making a submission is the most important way for you to be heard on Auckland’s housing future and how our city grows.
It allows for your views to be considered by an Independent Hearings Panel when they make recommendations to the council on changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan.
See more information about Plan Change 78.
There are also planning maps showing the proposed changes and instructions on how to use the maps.
Why are the changes needed?
Auckland Council must respond to the government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development. This requires us to enable buildings of six storeys or more within walking distances of our city centre, 10 large metropolitan centres (such as Newmarket, Manukau and New Lynn) and around rapid transit stops, such as train stations and stops on the Northern Busway.
It also means allowing for more housing around other suburban centres with good public transport.
The government’s new Medium Density Residential Standards also requires the council to enable more medium density housing of up to three storeys, such as townhouses and terrace housing, across almost all Auckland suburbs..
Some exemptions are proposed in the plan change to limit building heights and density within some areas. These are called qualifying matters and can only be used if strong evidence is provided to prove why an exemption is needed.
Find out more about the big changes for Auckland.
What can I make a submission on?
You can give your views on the proposed plan change to meet central government’s requirements for housing. Auckland Council has proposed:
allowing more building height and density within Auckland’s city centre.
walking distances (or “walkable catchments”) from the edge of the city centre of around 15 minutes (1,200 metres), and 10 minutes from the edge of large metropolitan centres and around Auckland's train and busway stations (800 metres), where buildings of six storeys or more must be enabled.
Allowing for more apartments and terrace housing around other suburban centres with good public transport - up to 200 metres around large local and smaller town centres and up to 400 metres around large town centres.
Some qualifying matters, or exemptions, to limit building height and density requirements within some areas where intensification may not be suitable, such as special character areas, areas with coastal erosion, and natural hazards.
You can also make a submission on other separate changes the council is making to the Auckland Unitary Plan that:
manage the impacts of development on Auckland’s transport network, including requiring accessible car parking for new developments, catering for more bicycles and e-bikes and enabling on-site electric vehicle charging. Find out more about Plan Change 79.
introduce new policies into the Auckland Unitary Plan for climate resilience and qualifying matters. Find out more about Plan Change 80.
How will decisions be made?
Central government’s strong requirements to enable more development at greater building height and density means big and complex changes for how Auckland grows in the years ahead.
To make these changes, central government has introduced a new way for making decisions on changes to our city’s planning rules – the Auckland Unitary Plan.
It is not the same way plan changes are usually decided under the Resource Management Act, instead there are different roles for the council, an independent expert panel and the government.
Read the 10 steps for deciding how Auckland grows.
What other changes are there?
From the 18 August 2022, the new Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) come into immediate legal effect as set out in the Resource Management.
This means many property owners will be allowed to build up to three homes of up to three storeys as of right on relevant residentials sites without resource consent. Read more about these changes.
Watch our video explaining central government's requirements: