Submissions: what you need to know

Publish Date : 18 Aug 2022
Submissions: what you need to know

From 18 August to 29 September 2022, Auckland Council is asking for submissions on proposed changes to the city’s planning rule book – the Auckland Unitary Plan.

Known as Plan Change 78, the proposed changes respond to the central government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development that requires the council to enable more housing at greater building heights and density across our city.

Here we explain what you need to know about submissions and why they are important.

What are submissions?

When a council publicly notifies changes to its planning rules it must provide the public with an opportunity to make a submission on all the proposed changes.

A submission is how people can express their views, opinions, and suggestions on all of the proposed changes and influence the decisions being made.

Anyone can make a submission, from individuals to community groups and organisations.

So, they are my views on what is changing?

Yes. They are important because what you choose to say in a submission is considered by decision-makers when they decide on changes to a city’s planning documents.

With central government’s requirements for the council to enable more higher-density housing across our city, your submission will be considered by an Independent Hearings Panel when they make recommendations to the council on the changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan.

Making a submission is the most important way for you to be heard on Auckland’s housing future and how our city grows. It ensures your views are taken into account by this independent panel when these recommendations are made.

Also, by making a submission, you will have the chance to speak directly to the Independent Hearings Panel about what the council is proposing during public hearings – only submitters have this opportunity.

How do I make a submission?

On 18 August 2022, the council publicly notified Plan Change 78, its proposed changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan to meet government’s requirements for greater intensification.

This starts the formal submission process, and you will have 30 working days to submit your views before the submission period closes on the 29 September 2022.

You can tell us what you think by completing an online submission form on the Auckland Council website. You can also read more about Plan Change 78 and view the plan change maps.

The council is responsible for running the submission process but once this closes all submissions will be provided to the Independent Hearings Panel.

Is this different to the public consultation in April?

Yes, this is different. In April, Auckland Council asked for feedback on some of its initial ideas to help us prepare the required changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan.

Instead, submissions are about giving your views on all changes to the city’s planning rules to the Independent Hearings Panel to inform the recommendations they will make.

What’s this about an Independent Hearings Panel?

The Independent Hearings Panel was established through changes to the Resource Management Act in December 2021.

The Panel’s role is to review the council’s proposed plan change and all submissions. It will hold public hearings with submitters and then make recommendations to Auckland Council on changes they think should be made to the Auckland Unitary Plan.

These recommendations will consider what people say in their submissions and hearings and all the evidence presented on the proposed plan change. The panel can also make recommendations on things not included in people’s submissions or hearings.

The council then considers the changes recommended by the Panel and decides to accept or reject the changes. If the council rejects a recommendation from this panel, then the Minister for the Environment will make the final decision.

You can read more about the steps for deciding on changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan decided here.

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