Auckland Mayoral Race: Intense Debates Over Intensification




Newsroom canvasses the main Auckland mayoral candidates to search out out the place they stand on probably the most contentious problems with the yr, the upcoming adjustments to Auckland’s zoning rulebook 

Zoning for intensification has confirmed itself a flashpoint subject within the metropolis of sails.

Points as lofty and substantial as local weather motion, preservation of historical past and the state of Auckland’s infrastructure have all been wrapped up within the query of how and the place densification needs to be allowed, and the place the established order of housing needs to be protected.

Six weeks out from the native physique elections, the race for the mayoralty is heating up, with housing an often-cited subject by most candidates.


The topic of housing inevitably comes again to the Nationwide Coverage for City Growth (NPS-UD) – a chunk of laws handed down from central authorities which dictates the settings for intensification throughout all main cities in New Zealand.

Auckland Council spent the previous few months tackling the small print that it can change, such because the the standards an space must fulfil to be exempted from larger intensification.

Though a lot of the fine-tuning of the Authorities’s really useful settings is already up to now, the ultimate selections from the council are anticipated in March of 2024.

It means whoever finally ends up carrying the mayoral chains will likely be part of the method figuring out the way forward for town and the large query in native politics – to accentuate or to not intensify?

To unravel the place they stand on the NPS-UD, Newsroom canvassed a choice of the highest-polling candidates.

It seems the binary query of to accentuate or not is reductive, with most candidates occupying an area someplace within the center.

There have been frequent criticisms from the entire candidates concerning the ‘one-size-fits-all’ nature of the coverage, though totally different ranges of precedence had been granted to getting younger individuals into reasonably priced housing or defending historic precincts within the central metropolis.

The true query is whether or not a council can combat for one with out sacrificing the opposite – it’s a query that would properly be answered subsequent yr because the council gears up for the ultimate selections on the zoning guidelines below the management of a brand new mayor.

We requested eight of the 22 candidates operating for mayor the place they stood on this subject. That is how they answered:

Present front-runners Viv Beck, Wayne Brown and Efeso Collins at a debate on Karangahape Highway final Wednesday night. Picture: Matthew Scott

Viv Beck

The chief government of CBD enterprise affiliation Coronary heart of the Metropolis mentioned the housing intensification plans had been the fallacious strategy to get extra reasonably priced housing and can injury Auckland’s liveability, with impacts on daylight, area and privateness.

She mentioned current Auckland character could be misplaced even below the brand new protections created by the council.

“Over the previous few months I’ve met with 1000’s of individuals throughout the area and heard first-hand the numerous issues about what has been proposed, which could have a significant detrimental affect on the character and identification of our metropolis,” she mentioned. “As soon as this has gone, it can’t be reinstated.”

The prevailing Auckland Unitary Plan already permits for intensification, with zoning for round 900,000 new houses.

She mentioned so as to help extra housing in high-growth areas, a greater strategy could be to hurry up consenting processes and the rolling out of essential infrastructure.

Gary Brown

Gary Brown mentioned the proposed zoning guidelines do not strike the best steadiness. Picture:

The Hibiscus and Bays native board chair was not eager on the intensification set out within the coverage, particularly in areas that may not have the suitable provision of infrastructure for larger densification at current.

“When you have not obtained the transportation or the water companies that is applicable, then why would you do it?” He requested.

Brown desires to see improvement of roading for entry for hearth companies and public transport earlier than intensification will get the inexperienced mild, and thinks the foundations are too broad.

“I imagine it needs to be case-by-case,” he mentioned. “I feel the regional council ought to have the authority to undergo and say this isn’t appropriate, let’s be certain that we get our infrastructure put in place.”

He mentioned he has no subject with intensification round city centres which can be well-served by public transport or within the centre of town, however couldn’t see how it might operate out in his native Orewa or Whangapaoroa space.

“Are you able to think about somebody going to do grocery buying, pouring down with rain, and the closest bus cease is 400 yards away, they usually’ve obtained these paper baggage?”

Wayne Brown

Former Far North mayor Wayne Brown mentioned the coverage was an instance of presidency overreach, and needs Auckland to determine what to do with Auckland.

“I’m firmly within the camp that the Authorities ought to butt out of creating any planning selections for Auckland and certainly even on what infrastructure we want,” he mentioned.

Brown could be very a lot behind the Character Coalition and shares the group’s worries about intensification actually casting shade on the houses of individuals already dwelling in affected neighbourhoods.

“I completely help the Character Coalition and the overall worries about six-storey buildings going up with out care about sunshine and lightweight traces, not to mention the dearth of supporting infrastructure,” he mentioned.

“These of us who painstakingly made submissions to get an affordable District Plan are very dissatisfied to search out MPs not from Auckland developing with guidelines for our metropolis.”

Efeso Collins

The present Manukau ward councillor with Labour and Greens endorsements mentioned the coverage was one thing that had been imposed on councils and undermines loads of the work already finished by way of the event of Auckland’s unitary plan, which he mentioned had already extensively canvassed the views of Aucklanders and balanced the necessity to handle development with sustaining particular character.

“With the Authorities’s new directive to permit for rather more intensification, councils have little or no discretion and need to observe Wellington’s (central authorities) directives,” he mentioned. “It is a pity Auckland is as soon as once more caught up in a one-size-fits-all nationwide strategy from Wellington.”

He mentioned a steadiness should be struck within the plan the council comes up with, as if it doesn’t handle to supply improvement alternatives whereas defending particular character, Wellington is more likely to override it anyway.

Collins mentioned he helps extra improvement and permissive planning in areas of town individuals need to stay in.

“We need to retain our households, companies and younger individuals somewhat than worth them out of town,” he mentioned.

He supported particular character areas, however needed to take a look at the particular standards so as to be certain that the protections don’t restrict obligatory improvement.

“Preserving character and honouring our historical past is vital, nevertheless it shouldn’t be used as a device to withstand all improvement,” he mentioned. “Cities reside respiration altering organisms and there’ll at all times be a rigidity between embracing the long run and honouring the previous.”

Ted Johnston

Ted Johnston mentioned the laws had result in rushed selections round zoning in Auckland. Picture:

The New Conservative co-leader additionally believed a one-size-fits-all strategy was detrimental for Auckland.

“Each metropolis is totally different and what could appear a good suggestion for one could also be catastrophe for an additional,” he mentioned. “This one-size-fits-all ideological coverage, and its push for city intensification, overrides the management of those that know (by dwelling there) what’s finest for their very own metropolis.”

He acknowledged the significance of accelerating entry to protected, wholesome housing and alternatives to construct, however mentioned infrastructure and amenities should be supplied to cater to the elevated populations of such areas.

“Forcing Auckland to have to supply housing as much as six storeys inside strolling distance of Auckland’s metropolis centre is simply extra ideology to learn the life-style of these wealthy sufficient to afford such,” he mentioned, pointing to the sky-high costs of properties throughout the space like in Ponsonby or Gray Lynn.

“Forcing dwelling intensification round primary transit stops factors to a plan to power individuals to make use of the inconvenient centres that at present exist, not enhance the protection of the general public transport rail system,” he mentioned.

He emphasised the significance of getting a metropolis of home-owners, somewhat than tenants.

“People who find themselves shifting to varied addresses as they modify rental addresses, don’t plant the deep roots in a group, that dwelling house owners do when dwelling in the identical place for 30 or extra years.

”Dwelling house owners whose households rising up affiliate with neighbours and the native organisations, faculties and amenities,” he mentioned. “A metropolis of tenants just isn’t as stable, robust and cohesive a group, as a metropolis of dwelling house owners.”

Mike Kampkes

Mike Kampkes mentioned he views the extent of proposed walkable catchments with scepticism. Picture: Fb

Mike Kampkes mentioned the prime motive he was operating was each when it comes to the proposed laws and what he mentioned was the chipping away of the democratic course of by central Authorities overreach.

He was the founding father of the teams Residents In opposition to Housing Act 2021 and Save Our Suburbs Alliance, with each teams advocating towards what he known as a “bone-chilling housing legislation”.

Kampkes mentioned the extent of safety for character areas that the council is proposing just isn’t sufficient.

“The standards that the council has chosen to incorporate solely a few of them has set the bar too excessive,” he mentioned. “No current character space, as protected by the Unitary Plan, want be below the blade of the bulldozer because the Unitary Plan already has the capability for substantial development.”

His marketing campaign promise is to steer the council to make use of each means potential to include all medium density improvement throughout the bounds of the Unitary Plan’s density zones, which he mentioned have greater than sufficient capability for town’s development.

He mentioned character houses being rezoned into areas the place larger intensification was allowed was “useless and disturbing”.

“The act is unhealthy legislation,” he mentioned. “Its needlessness, stakeholders ignored in its formation, and the severely truncated legislative course of add as much as residents’ proper to due course of being denied and most people being left at midnight.”

John Lehmann

John Lehmann mentioned Wellington ought to hold out of Auckland’s affairs. Picture: Provided

Property supervisor John Lehmann was unambiguous in his disdain for the NPS-UD, which he mentioned was a catastrophe ready to occur.

He had worries about extra individuals dwelling on present properties and the pressures this could create for infrastructure.

“Council is attempting to be seen as progressive nevertheless it’s buggering up town,” he mentioned. “The entire thing is an absolute nonsense.”

He mentioned the tip end result could be extra individuals in tighter areas, which in his eyes was antithetical to the character of Auckland – a metropolis the place individuals worth their open areas.

He additionally had issues about shoddy developments bobbing up throughout town, which he mentioned may very well be “potential slums… a bunch of Coronation Streets”.

Craig Lord

Craig Lord mentioned he does not need to see character buildings eliminated. Picture: Matthew Scott

Freelance media operator Craig Lord additionally mentioned the laws could be a catastrophe for town, and that it pushed apart the unitary plan – a workable albeit imperfect plan that would permit the council to supply managed infrastructure.

He agreed intensification must occur, and mentioned close to to move hubs was the very best place for it.

Nonetheless, he didn’t agree with the processes which have been used to find out what’s or isn’t a personality constructing.

“This laws is nothing greater than a back-door manner of recovering from the KiwiBuild fiasco,” he mentioned. “Authorities has merely turned builders into planners, and can use the ensuing builds as a strategy to declare success.”

He mentioned if elected mayor he would use the whole lot at his disposal to combat the NPS-UD and have it reversed.

Michael Morris

Michael Morris desires to direct improvement in the direction of areas like carparks and golf programs. Picture: Fb

The candidate for Animal Justice Auckland mentioned in relation to city intensification versus character housing, it doesn’t need to be one or the opposite.

He pointed to the plan for Previous Papatoetoe for instance of an intensification undertaking that preserved the character of the world.

“Excessive density housing improvement is being carried out on the council automotive park,” he mentioned. “This represents low-biodiversity and non-character land that however has excessive actual property worth.”

He mentioned he’d somewhat see developments on carparks or golf programs than in character areas or locations with cultural significance like Ihumātao.

“It may very well be a situation of useful resource consents for brand spanking new improvement that as an alternative of automotive parking they’ve a fleet of electrical vehicles for tenants to make use of,” he mentioned. “Which means that they may require much less area.”

Morris mentioned the sale of council carparks and levies from builders may very well be used to fund higher public transport, biking and strolling amenities. 

“This in flip will higher protect character areas since we is not going to hold needing to construct new roads for vehicles.”



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