De­lay­ing hous­ing raises con­cerns

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SCOTT MOR­GAN

How to solve Auck­land’s hous­ing short­age con­tin­ues to cre­ate ten­sion be­tween the Government and Auck­land Coun­cil.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse this week tried to con­vince a se­lect com­mit­tee of MPs that the pro­posed Uni­tary Plan – a rule book for how the city will de­velop over the next 30 years – should come into force from Septem­ber.

‘‘We need to en­able flex­i­ble hous­ing choices. That’s at the heart of the plan,’’ Mrs Hulse told the Lo­cal Government and En­vi­ron­ment Se­lect Com­mit­tee at a meet­ing at the Novo­tel Ho­tel at Auck­land Air­port .

The plan ad­vo­cates for more apart­ments and ter­raced hous­ing in ex­ist­ing sub­urbs and de­vel­op­ing more prop­er­ties on green­fields land.

But the MPs and a grow­ing num­ber of coun­cil­lors want more time to con­sider the plan with the Government set­ting up a hear­ings panel to look at it over the next three years.

But grow­ing angst about the plan be­came ob­vi­ous dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tions.

Mrs Hulse was forced to watch as rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Ma­nurewa and Orakei lo­cal boards pre­sented to the com­mit­tee, agree­ing with the Gov- ern­ment’s three-year de­lay.

And right-lean­ing coun­cil­lor Chris­tine Fletcher cir­cu­lated a let­ter writ­ten to Prime Min­is­ter John Key on be­half of 10 Auck­land coun­cil­lors ex­press­ing con­cern at the speed the coun­cil was mov­ing.

‘‘The draft plan is meet­ing fierce com­mu­nity op­po­si­tion as peo­ple be­gin to come to grips with the de­tail of the pro­posed devel­op­ment,’’ the let­ter says. Coun­cil re­gional and lo­cal plan­ning man­ager Penny Pir­rit says de­lay­ing the build­ing side of the plan un­til 2016 could cause in­con­sis­ten­cies with rules around air, water and land coming in from Septem­ber.

Mrs Hulse says it would be very dif­fi­cult to make that sit­u­a­tion work.

‘‘You can’t have the sit­u­a­tion where some of the plan is given im­me­di­ate ef­fect . . . but rules that fo­cus on the built en­vi­ron­ment will have to wait.’’

Na­tional list MP Paul Gold­smith told the com­mit­tee he is wor­ried that rush­ing the plan through might cause a se­ries of un­in­tended prob­lems.

The coun­cil has also asked the Government to let it help de­cide who the hear­ing com­mis­sion­ers will be.

‘‘Our com­mu­ni­ties want de­ci­sions that af­fect Auck­lan­ders made by Auck­lan­ders, not by Welling­ton,’’ Mrs Hulse says.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bournews. co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to watch Rev­erend Jel­lie in ac­tion.

Penny Hulse

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