Unitary Plan: good enough for now?
They may disagree on what shape Auckland takes but outspoken Unitary Plan commentators want the controversial, ‘‘imperfect’’ blueprint passed.
Intensification advocates Generation Zero and Orakei Local Board chair Desley Simpson both say sticking points in the 7000-page plan that maps out Auckland region’s growth can be revisited after its passed.
Massey University public policy commentator Grant Duncan says it’s a ‘‘complicated’’ question whether or not it’s ‘‘naive’’ to allow an imperfect Unitary Plan now in the hope it can be changed later.
Councillors facing re-election later this year after the plan’s August 19 final vote will be mindful of a voter backlash while dealing with central government pressure on council to increase housing supply, Duncan said.
Albany councillor Wayne Walker said that once passed, elements of the Unitary Plan like zoning could be revisited by councillors.
Auckland councillors started debating on Wednesday on what measures recommended by the Independent Hearings Panel should be adopted or rejected.
On Monday, the council’s regulatory services director, Penny Pirrit, said the council opposed 14 major Unitary Plan recommendations.
But Generation Zero said now was not the time to quibble about how the plan’s five year process had arrived at a point where council was contesting elements of the plan it originally proposed.
Spokesman for the youthorientated lobby group Leroy Beckett said there had been ‘‘plenty of opportunity for democratic input’’ from the public, local body politicians and interest groups.
Although the Unitary Plan had been ’’quite a confusing process’’ to follow, Beckett says, the ‘‘imperfect’’ plan was now back in the hands of Auckland councillors as a political process. Council officers wanted minimum apartment size rules kept, something Generation Zero and the hearings panel wanted removed to spur apartment supply.
‘‘The councillors have had Unitary Plan workshops for the last year, the ones that turned-up should be fully versed in the plan . . . these are the people we’ve elected to make a decision on our behalf. The end process is here, we just have to get through it really’’.
‘‘The [Unitary Plan’s] end process is here, we just have to get through it really’’, Generation Zero’s Leroy Beckett says.