Unitary Plan - Council Officer Response

By Iain McManus

Auckland Council has released the officer recommendations report on the Independent Hearing Panel’s recommendations on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (“PAUP”).  You can download a copy of the officers recommendations here.

We have reviewed the Council officers’ report and summarise their recommendations to Councillors below. These recommendations represent the Council’s first public announcement of its stance on the more controversial recommendations made by the Panel. 

Key Headlines


The Council officers have recommended that the Council accept the Panel’s proposed up zoning of large parts of Auckland from Single House zone to zones enabling higher development density.

Urban Growth

Further, the Council officers have recommended that the Council accept the Panel’s proposed relocation of the Rural Urban Boundary from the Regional Policy Statement to the district plan level of the PAUP. This is significant as it allows private plan changes to move the RUB. 

Council officers recommend rejecting some objective amendments proposed by the Panel to combat a perceived loss of strength around directing growth to urban areas e.g. the 70/40 split in the PAUP as notified.


While the Council officers categorise their proposed changes to infrastructure provisions as “technical”, rather than policy-related, the breadth and detail of changes proposed may, if accepted by the Council, herald appeals by infrastructure providers.

Key “Reject” Recommendations

The Council officers recommend that the Council rejects the following aspects of the Panel’s recommendations:

1. Deletion of all sites of value to mana whenua and associated provisions.

2. Deletion of the minimum dwelling sizes in City Centre and Business zones.

3. Insertion of a height to boundary control between Mixed Use zoned sites and from Mixed Use zoned sites to General Business zoned sites.

4. Significant amendments to the natural hazard and flooding provisions that streamlined consenting and assessment and ensured the PAUP aligned with and relied upon other legislation, not least the Building Code. Instead, the Council officers propose to revert on the whole to their hearing statement version of the provisions. A critical amendment is reverting back to the 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (“AEP”) Flood plain level for development in urban areas, rather than the 2% AEP proposed by the Panel.

5. Other changes to the contaminated land chapter that will remove greater permitted activity status as proposed by the Panel. 

6. Similarly, changes proposed to streamline and rationalise stormwater management provisions are proposed to be rejected.

Other Important Recommendations

The Council officers recommend that the Council accepts the following:

1. The change of purpose to the Single House zone to limit its application and to remove reference to down-zoning as a result of natural hazards or flooding.

2. The deletion of density controls from the Mixed Housing zones.

3. The deletion of the pre-1944 demolition control overlay.

4. The deletion of affordable housing and sustainable design provisions.

Next Steps

The Auckland Development Committee deliberates on the Panel’s recommendations and officers’ reports before making its own recommendations to the Governing Body. The Council must deliver its decisions on the PAUP by 19 August.

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