Press Release – Auckland Chamber of Commerce
Auckland’s destiny at stake – “It’s now up to Aucklanders to make the Unitary Plan work,” says Michael Barnett
“We can either make the hard call to adopt the Unitary Plan recommended by the hearings panel or keep complaining.
To keep on complaining will get Auckland nowhere – we are a city screaming out for more housing, connected infrastructure and action to address transport congestion.
A first review indicates Auckland has been presented with a bold new blueprint that is exactly what is needed for our small, but fast growing international city to realize its potential and get in front of its growth issues.
The hearings panel has clearly understood that Auckland badly needs a single set of rules to manage how Auckland’s housing and infrastructure develops over coming decades. They have come up with a plan written in plain English that also recognizes the critical importance of allowing land for business developments to occur.
Certainly, the plan may need some tweaking. Concerns raised by interest groups over how we ensure heritage, local area character and quality design of houses and open space are important.
We strongly urge Auckland present and future leaders to look at the bigger picture:
Auckland desperately needs a single plan, a single platform of clear rules and regulations to get on top of our big housing, transport and livability issues. As a city that is a third of New Zealand’s population and wealth creation, all of New Zealand needs an Auckland that will grow in a dynamic and positive way.
Auckland Councilors have an unprecedented opportunity to do what’s right for the city – we are at a crossroads in addressing our major issues. Just ask anyone who has tried getting to-or-from Auckland Airport with certainty in recent weeks; ask the growing numbers sleeping in cars; ask people looking for an affordable home. Ask any Aucklander what they most want delivered by our city leaders; it is to fix Auckland’s big issues and manage our growth opportunities effectively and fairly.
It is not that Aucklanders don’t have a great love for their city and value its attractiveness, diversity and outdoor lifestyle. We all do. It’s that they know we must overcome the essential fragility of our housing and infrastructure, and we don’t have much time left to do it. Auckland is at a cross roads – it can either continue down a road of slow decline or take a leap forward.
The Panel members took into account 13,000 submissions, 10,000 pieces of evidence and 249 days of hearings over the past two years.
The next 20 days to the Council decision and the weeks that follow will be a critical time for positioning Auckland to become the best city it can be going forward.