A majority of submitters have supported Auckland Council’s proposed approaches for changing the Auckland Unitary Plan - the city’s planning rulebook, according to the results of public consultation.
The proposed changes are part of the council’s response to the government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) and changes to the Resource Management Act requiring greater housing density across the city.
The council consulted with Aucklanders from 19 April - 9 May to understand whether some initial approaches to changing the Auckland Unitary Plan achieved the right balance between the requirements to enable more building height and density and protecting the things many Aucklanders value.
From a total of 7,860 submissions, there was majority support for the proposed walking distances around Auckland’s city centre, 10 large metropolitan centres and rapid transit stops where apartments of 6 storeys or more must be enabled and for the council’s proposed approach to identifying special character areas.
Submitters also gave strong backing (70 per cent) for having a qualifying matter, or an exemption, to limit required intensification in areas with long-term and significant infrastructure constraints, such as for transport, water, or wastewater.
Megan Tyler, Chief of Strategy, says the council wanted to hear people’s thoughts on how it was approaching the limited decisions it can make under government legislation, prior to publicly notifying changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan in August 2022.
“The consultation results show a majority of submitters support the council’s proposed approach to enabling more housing density close to public transport, jobs, shops, and services and for there to be a qualifying matter to limit building height and density in some identified special character areas.
“Over the coming weeks, we will be reviewing this feedback and working through options for changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan to be put before our elected members for approval,” she says.
“In doing so, the council must work within the framework set out by central government, which allows the council to propose exemptions for further intensification where there is strong evidence to support it.
“However, this still means there must be changes made to allow for more housing density than we currently do, with fewer blanket protections rather than more.
“There is a long way to go before final changes are decided, and there is another important opportunity for all Aucklanders to make their views heard by making a submission when the proposed plan change is publicly notified.
“This gives people a say in what will ultimately be decided. An independent hearings panel will consider submissions and make recommendations to the council on the changes it thinks should be made to the Auckland Unitary Plan,” says Megan Tyler.
An independent, and demographically representative, survey of over 2000 people was also carried out for the council by Kantar Public to ensure the views of a cross-section of Aucklanders were heard.
Key feedback results from the consultation and survey include:
- Individual submitters supported the proposed 15-minute walking distance to the city centre (43%) and a 10-minute walking distance to large metropolitan centres (43%) and around rapid transit stops (38%). Results of the independent survey showed 50% supporting a 15-minute walking distance to the city centre with the proposed 10-minute walking distance to large metropolitan centres and rapid transit stops supported by 49% and 52% respectively.
- Support for enabling more apartment and terrace housing around 400 metres from large town centres with good public transport access, 34% of individual submitters and 49% of survey respondents.
- Support for the council’s proposal to identify some special character areas as a qualifying matter to limit building height and density in those areas, 42% of individual submitters and 66% of survey respondents.
- Support from individual submitters (70%) for including areas with long-term significant infrastructure constraints as a qualifying matter to limit required intensification. Results of the independent survey showed 65% support.
The full summary of the consultation feedback is available here.
The representative survey results report is being finalised separately and will be available next week.