Press Release – Property Council Of New Zealand
31 May 2013
Reality check for Auckland development
Property Council’s submission on the draft Unitary Plan provides a reality check on planning proposals, identifying provisions that may compromise Auckland Council’s creation of the world’s most liveable city.
As one of the largest stakeholders in Auckland, Property Council’s focus is on helping Auckland Council to get its new rulebook right. Property Council’s chief executive Connal Townsend said Auckland’s future growth and competitiveness depends on it.
“This is the biggest undertaking by any council in New Zealand, ever. Bearing in mind this is only the initial consultation stage, we have faith the issues being identified now will be resolved in due course. Politicians must have the courage to complete this plan, while resisting temptation to water it down to appease those resisting change.
“Property Council has identified a number of issues which will negatively affect or hinder the positive development of Auckland. However, we didn’t expect a perfect plan first time round – this is a pretty good first draft which just needs insight into market realities and specific industry expertise.
“The organisation is willing to provide industry expertise on specific development implementation issues to ensure Auckland Council produces an achievable, implementable plan for Auckland’s future.”
Property Council’s submission addresses:
• Property Council supports the Council’s density targets as outlined in the Auckland Plan. If the Council cannot achieve them, it will need to release additional greenfields land.
• In order to achieve its density objectives the Council must have good quality data and information on where intensification can take place, and how and when it will take place.
• The supply of business land has not kept pace with recent residential land supply. The private sector needs certainty as to when new business zoned land will become available and Auckland Council needs to investigate this with speed.
• Quality urban design will be crucial in ensuring Auckland’s amenity and liveability, particularly as density of development increases.
• The rules need to be clear and principle based, flexible and not overly prescriptive. Rules which are too detailed or rigid decrease innovation and result in reduced quality in design and delivery.
• Property Council notes the use of urban design panels can assist with ensuring that a high standard of urban design is fostered.
• Property Council supports provisions which recognise the need for physical and social infrastructure to be effectively coordinated and integrated with subdivision, land use and development.
• Property Council supports innovative practices which have positive implications for sustainability. However, the rating tools prescribed in the plan are market based mechanisms and not suited to being enshrined in a legislative planning document.
• Auckland Council must engage with the private sector and the New Zealand Green Building Council to determine more practical ways of achieving sustainability objectives.
• Property Council strongly supports appropriate protection of historic heritage places.
• The Plan needs to consider how historical buildings will be affordably maintained. Decisions on whether to protect a historic heritage place or character area must be based on evidence of the importance of the place or area to a local community.
• It will not be practicable to preserve every potential example or street. If the community values a historic heritage place then it should contribute to its upkeep and maintenance.
• Property Council acknowledges Auckland Council is investigating ways of addressing the housing affordability issue. However, the Council needs to engage with the private sector to ensure practical outcomes.
• Auckland Council should not rely on international practice for comparisons or analysis, as Auckland is a different market with a fragmented development industry and a lack of scale.
• Property Council cautions against implementing the value uplift and inclusionary zoning proposals.
Commercial, business and retail issues
• Property Council supports intensification and compact centres. However, the industry needs permissive rules to encourage commercial, industrial and retail activities.
• Further work is needed on issues such as accessibility and car parking. We recommend Auckland Council gives greater attention to crime prevention through urban design, particularly when considering car parking placement for retail activities.