Efficiency improvements and additional resource has resulted in Auckland Council processing the highest monthly number of resource consents in the past six years.
In March, Auckland Council completed a record 1,662 resource consent applications. In April, council also completed more applications than were lodged, reducing a backlog of new consent applications that built up because of extremely high volumes at the end of 2021.
In the year ending April 2022, a record 19,481 resource consents were lodged, a 12 per cent increase on the previous year (17,414). November 2021 saw the highest number of applications lodged per month (1,798) since the Auckland Unitary Plan was implemented in 2016.
Chairperson of council’s Regulatory Committee, Councillor Linda Cooper, says the team has been working hard to improve its operational performance to meet growing demand for resource consents.
“Meeting the unprecedented demands for resource consent applications is a priority for Auckland Council and it’s great to see we’re moving in the right direction to get on top of the record consent applications from the end of 2021."
“We are committed to making ongoing operational improvements throughout 2022, including actively recruiting staff and working smarter to process consent applications faster.”
Auckland Council is currently implementing a pipeline of work and initiatives to improve performance and efficiency. These include improvements to IT systems and an important focus on proportionate decision-making, which sees staff processing the simpler applications more quickly, reducing the overall workload and allowing more time for complex applications.
Auckland Council General Manager of Resource Consents, Ian Smallburn, says the work programme will not only help to reduce the current workload, but also better prepare council for any increased demand on its regulatory services expected later this year when new central government housing rules start coming into force.
“With central government’s new rules allowing for greater housing density starting to take effect in August this year, we are anticipating a period of flux and increase in demand on our services as property owners and all those in the development sector navigate the changes.
“We want to reassure Aucklanders we are sharply focussed on improving our resource consent processes to meet growing demand and will continue to do so.”
The suite of new higher density housing rules requires Auckland Council to allow for more height and density to be built across the region – that means more apartments, terrace housing and townhouses, especially in places close to jobs, public transport, and services.
The rules are significant and complex and will be coming into effect in stages over the next 12-18 months.
The first to come into legal effect are the government’s medium density residential standard (MDRS) housing rules, which could allow a property owner to build up to three homes of up to three storeys without a land use resource consent.
Whether the new rules apply immediately to an individual property owner will depend on a number of factors still being determined through the ongoing decision-making process expected to be completed mid-August 2023.
Auckland Council will provide up-to-date information on the rule changes as soon as they become available.