The many-mirrored maze through which Auckland’s proposed Unitary Plan is finally decided upon – the plan through which planners gain detailed control of your property – lurches closer towards resolution.
When it came out of the Independent Hearings Panel, it was much less then this common-law loving blogger would have liked, but far better than anyone with my sympathies could have expected. And then it went on to the planners for them to tinker with it again. And the planners have struck back!
Not for them to sit back while some Independent Panel of geeks knocks some of their new power-base form under them. Their recommendations to council, reviewing those of the Panel, put back in many of the more intrusive things the Panel recommended leaving out.
Of the Panel’s headline recommendations, I found one bad, one very bad, three good, one mostly good, and one very good. That’s not bad. But what is bad is what the planners have done now.
What I was calling very good news is now gone – the Taniwha Tax is back. So that’s now very bad.
They’ve essentially put the kibosh on any ambitions Aucklanders may have for Tiny Houses, those often cunningly crafted wee places folk are falling into overseas as a means to get into a city economically. Nah, say our planners. Not welcome here. We are going to insist on “minimum dwelling sizes” in our city. Fuck you, planners. Fuck you very much. Very bad news.
The planners want to strengthen the city’s ring-fence – what they call the rural-urban boundary – the thing that delivers land-bankers risk-free profits and guarantees future carpet sprawl. That thing. They insist we keep it. More very bad news.
There is more, and it’s massive, and none of the news is good.
The Council themselves are expected to vote on this final 618-page set of recommendations next week. Goog luck with that.
And good luck with knowing what the final outcome is going to be. It’s going to be a bunfest, that’s about all we do know.
And this bunfest has been going on now for years.
So if you’ve found yourself wondering why many empty sites around town are still empty, one answer is probably this: Regime Uncertainty. If you’re uncertain what decrees the regime in power is going to issue, then any wise investor ready to unleash his supply chain is going to sit on his hands until he knows what’s up. And he’s going to do that, even if folk are crying out even when supplies are running short …
[* Thanks to Toby Manhire for the quip]