Proposed Auckland Unitary plan falls into disarray

The Auckland Council has voted to revoke their proposal to increase the density of 6 per cent of the Auckland area in the new plan being considered by the Independent Hearings Panel (IHP).

The changes, which would have seen certain parts of Auckland open their construction laws to allow for up to three-storey townhouses and apartments, were designed in part to help increase the amount of housing supply. According to interest.co.nz, a group of experts assembled by the IHP believed the previous Auckland plan would only result in 80,000 to 180,000 houses being constructed by 2040.

This would fall well short of the predicted 280,000 needed for housing supply to meet demand by that year.

An intense period of debate

This decision, which was a result of a 13-8 vote split among the councillors after a six hour long meeting, has been met with mixed responses from affected parties.

The New Zealand Herald reports that the withdrawal was met with applause from members of the crowd. These were likely part of households that would have been affected by the zoning changes, who felt that they had not had a say in the changes.

"Council did something that was untenable by changing the zoning without telling anybody from nearly 30,000 households," said Richard Burton, spokesperson of the 2040 community group who opposed the changes.

Meanwhile, Generation Zero spokesperson Dr Sudhvir Singh described how the zoning changes were necessary to improve housing supply and allow for younger New Zealanders to gain access to the property investment market.

"We can not allow any further delays to the implementation of this Plan as Auckland urgently needs more housing supply, particularly smaller housing choices close to public transport and town centres," he said.

It remains to be seen what alternatives may be offered.

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