Christine Fletcher: What I was trying to say about intensive housing for Auckland


I am strongly opposed to current housing legislation being fast tracked through Parliament.

Based on my experience as a former Mayor of Auckland, will, if enacted, result in the permanent scarring of the landscape of Auckland without fixing the real issues of housing affordability and supply.

This legislation has nothing rational about it and should be opposed, with submissions closing next Tuesday, November 16.

The proposed legislation is ill-considered, driven by ideology rather than principle and introduced at a time when Aucklanders are suffering from consultation and Covid fatigue.

The Government justifies it on the questionable assumption that housing supply and affordability will somehow magically improve by making planning rules more permissive than the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) while ignoring the evidence that the only barrier to the development of new sites is funding to complete infrastructure.

Neither the Government nor National opposition have displayed any appetite for addressing this, the real barrier to accelerating new housing development.

Everyone agrees we need more affordable housing. It is a matter of national shame we have allowed a loss of hope in young families from the possibility of purchasing their own homes.

If we are ever to address this matter sustainably, we must be honest around the actual road blocks. After Auckland was amalgamated in 2010, the Auckland Plan was passed and then the Auckland Unitary Plan finally adopted in 2016 after a huge amount of consultation and controversy.

The Auckland Unitary Plan identified and freed up 900,000 new sites for development.

The only reason these sites have not yet been developed is infrastructure funding.

Analysis indicates this Bill will enable development across urban Auckland and several rural settlements at a level of density well beyond those anticipated in the Auckland Plan.

Auckland Council officers have identified major concerns with the likely poor quality of development enabled under this and significant adverse impacts on adjacent properties to development. The new proposal cannot be appealed to the Environment Court by a submitter or affected party and reheard.

The Minister for the Environment can unilaterally overrule council decisions without appeal.

The Auckland Unitary Plan has no shortage of sites or capacity. The new legislation dismantles existing rights and may destroy much of our history.

Allowing three developments on single sites of up to three storeys as of right without a resource consent could be a recipe for complete devastation of Auckland as we know it.

Little consideration has been given to the significant impacts including sunlight, shading, privacy, heritage, and other amenities currently required. Why would we allow this to happen when many feel current legislation is already too permissive?

It is a poor reflection on proponents of this bill that they chose to focus on the language I used to make my case to the council, while refusing to engage in the substance of the threat facing Aucklanders.

I had no intention of offending or hurting anyone and apologise if my words were not understood in the context I intended.

I call upon those who love our city to stand up to this threat to our environment, support all politicians and others that oppose it and make your voices heard.

Source: Read Full Article