The introduction of Auckland's Unitary Plan and a long-hoped-for surge in housing supply faces the prospect of yet more delay after around 100 appeals were lodged against the plan in the Environment Court and the High Court by Friday afternoon's deadline. The appeals included many from heavy hitters with significant legal budgets and years of experience in challenging planning legislation through the Environment and High Courts.
Auckland Council confirmed yesterday that appeals would affect some parts of the plan designed to create space both "up" and "out" for 422,000 houses over the next 30 years, and that it was still deciding which parts of the plan could be made operative. The plan was supposed to have been operative since Saturday.
The Environment Court's website shows 81 appeals against the plan, including appeals on the Climate Change, Urban Growth, Rural Urban Boundaries, Future Urban and Infrastructure topics from New Zealand Steel, Todd Property, Okura Holdings and Vector.
Viaduct Harbour Holdings and Kiwi Property are appealing on the Transport Policies topic.
A range of residents associations are appealing against the Plan's rulings on pre-1944 overlays and against its general rezoning applications.
The Auckland Council's website shows 9 appeals against the Plan in the High Court, including from the Independent Statutory Maori Board against the Plan's ruling on Mana Whenua sites, the South Epsom Planning Group on the North West and South Rural Urban Boundaries and from Federated Farmers on outstanding natural landscapes. Forest and Bird, which has successfully held up the Ruataniwha irrigation project in the courts, has also lodged an appeal about how 'significant ecological areas' were determined in the plan.
There were 7 further appeals for a judicial review, including from Bunnings, the Character Coalition in tandem with Auckland 2040, and from Waste Management.
“While the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan rules remain in force, the old rules of the various regional and district plans will also remain in place for those parts of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan that are under appeal," Auckland Council GM of Plans and Places John Duguid said.
“The majority of appeals lodged are confined to specific details of the plan which are unlikely to impact on its overall implementation. However, there are a smaller number of appeals that may have a broader impact," he said.
“Consents will need to be assessed and approved against two sets of rules and decisions will need to be made on a case by case basis on what weight can be given to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. It will be a top priority for the council to resolve these appeals and reduce the complexity it has on the consenting process."
Don't worry about affordability, says appellant
Character Coalition Convenor Sally Hughes said the Coalition's appeal focused on "late changes made without public consultation that could put older character homes at risk for no demonstrable benefit."
"The process trampled on people's rights with a last minute decision to change the zoning in many streets, effectively denying people the chance to have any say in the matter," Hughes said, adding the group's appeal involved less than 1% of the housing stock and would not affect housing affordability.
"People living along and beyond main transport routes in suburbs like Onehunga, Westmere, Glendowie, Grey Lynn, Henderson, Grafton and Blockhouse Bay woke up one morning to find their rights had been completely trampled on, it was undemocratic and unrealistic," she said.
"Some streets that contain important character homes suddenly went from single house only, to zones allowing 3 storey apartment blocks. In some of the affected streets, like Francis Street in Grey Lynn, houses date back to the early 1900's. Others in Westmere contain noted 1920s bungalows. In Grey Street, Onehunga there are important turn of the century villas that add greatly to the suburb's character. Sticking multi-storey apartment blocks next to them doesn't make sense and will not solve Auckland's housing issues."
In other economic and financial news...
Westpac reported from its McDermott Miller survey that consumer confidence picked up slightly in the September quarter, but remained below average levels and remained weak for those in rural areas and those on lower incomes.
The overall consumer confidence index rose two points to 108 and was below the long-run average of 111.4, while the present conditions index fell 0.8 points to 109.2 and the expected conditions index rose 3.9 points to 107.2. The outlook five years ahead improved, with a net 15% expecting better times from 7.2% in the last quarter, but the measure remained just above a 26-year low. Confidence increased most for those with incomes between NZ$50,000 to NZ$100,000 per year, while those on lower incomes reported their financial situation had not improved over the last year.
BusinessNZ and BNZ reported from their Performance of Services survey that the services part of the economy expanded at a faster rate in August than in July. The PSI Index rose 3.4 points to 57.9, its fastest growth rate since December. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion.
Quote of the day:
"If you want to be the leader of GreenpeaceNZ, it's necessary to have a large beard"
Tweets of the day:
You laugh, but @RusselNorman's beard has a colony of huia living in it.
My advice to these students - get a job on a dairy farm, quick. You'll be fine.
George Takei in response to Donald Trump asking why Barack Obama was campaigning instead of 'working as US President'.
As Commander-in-Chief, he is sworn to protect us from threats both foreign and domestic. You, sir, are the latter.
As Game of Thrones overtakes Frasier for #Emmy wins, its stars are pelted onstage with what appears to be tossed salad and scrambled eggs.
Twitpic of the day:
'Do you know why I pulled you over?'
'Is it the missing apostrophe?'
'It is the missing apostrophe'
Have a great day