A major milestone in the Auckland Unitary Plan process was reached mid-May when hearings before the Independent Hearings Panel came to an end.
The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan received 9,443 submissions during an extensive five-month consultation period, followed by 3,951 further submissions.
Hearings before the panel began in September 2014. Since then it has held 242 days of hearings and panel members have read through more than 10,000 pieces of evidence from submitters from right across the region and all walks of life.
Chair of the Independent Hearings Panel, Judge David Kirkpatrick, says reaching this point of the process has been a huge undertaking.
“On behalf of the panel I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to participate in this process, from lawyers and consultants representing government agencies and large organisations to community groups and homeowners throughout Auckland who took the time to tell us what they think.
“We’ll be working hard between now and July’s deadline to present our recommendations back to Auckland Council.”
The Auckland Unitary Plan is the biggest planning exercise ever undertaken in New Zealand. Once in place, it will provide a framework for how Auckland’s housing and infrastructure will develop in the future and how rapid population growth will be accommodated.
It will also ensure that future growth is balanced with enhancing and protecting the things Aucklanders value most.
Auckland’s Deputy Mayor, Penny Hulse, says the conclusion of the hearings is a significant milestone and a reminder that the decision-making process is a step closer.
“Bringing together the 11 district plans of the former city and district councils and developing the single planning rulebook for the city has been a mammoth task for everyone involved, from Auckland Council’s experts to the Independent Hearings Panel and everyone who took the time to make a submission on the plan,” says Hulse.
“Countless hours of work is now coming to fruition. We look forward to receiving the panel’s recommendations and moving into the phase of making final decisions.”
Once received on 22 July, Auckland Council has 20 working days to consider the panel’s recommendations. The council’s Governing Body will make its final decisions on the plan in late August.