Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says the party is giving qualified support to the fast-tracking of the Auckland Unitary Plan so the Council can get on with tackling the city’s housing crisis, as long as there is a fair process that guarantees the community a say.
His comments follow today’s announcement by the Government that it plans a law change to allow a one-off shortened planning process for the super city’s unitary plan.
“The Unitary Plan needs to become operative as soon as possible.
“Auckland’s lack of affordable housing is nothing short of urgent. Given all the work over the last three years that has gone into the Auckland Plan, which provides the base for the Unitary Plan, Labour believes it is justifiable to shorten the legal process in this case.
“However, we do have concerns about whether the Government’s proposed changes will actually deliver the plan in a timely fashion or whether unforeseen legal wrangles will tie it up and deliver worse outcomes for Auckland.
“It is also concerning that the Government has reserved the right to appoint the hearings panel, given it has not fully signed up to the goals and direction of the Auckland Plan.
“There is considerable disquiet as well from local communities who want to have a strong say over the plan and we will need to be convinced that the enhanced consultative process will allow them that.
“Labour will discuss these issues with the Council and scrutinise the bill through the select committee process.
“The Unitary Plan will tidy up the myriad of district and regional plans of the previous councils and will help guide the development of Auckland for years to come.
“Given it is aimed at tackling important issues such as housing provision, it’s hugely important that we get it right,” Phil Twyford said.