New Zealand: More plans for Auckland – Draft Auckland Plan released; Infrastructure & Projects; Environment, Planning & Resource Management

Brief Counsel
Last Updated: 23 September 2011
Article by Bill Sandston, Joanna Bain, Luke Hinchey and Catherine Somerville

Most Read Contributor in New Zealand, September 2016

The policies and ideas contained within the Draft Auckland Plan aim to define the character of the Super City and will have direct implications for the performance of the New Zealand economy and for the people and businesses which live and trade within the greater Auckland area.

The Draft Auckland Plan, and accompanying documents, are the Auckland Council's blueprint to transform Auckland into the "world's most liveable city" over the next 30 years. That is a big task – which may explain why the documentation runs to more than 500 pages, not including the technical and background papers.

But, if your future is in any way tied up with Auckland's future, it is important that you engage. We recommend that you start planning your response now. Submissions close on 25 October 2011.

The paper mountain

Separate plans have been prepared for the City Centre and the waterfront because the invigoration of these areas is seen as critical to transforming Auckland into a city of international quality able to compete with Sydney and Melbourne. In addition, the Council has released a draft economic development strategy outlining how it will attract the investment necessary to achieve its ambitious economic goals.

The plans, while aspirational in tone, contain a large number of specific proposals to direct development, land use and infrastructure provision. Further, the contents of the plans will no doubt inform the Council's future Unitary Plan (which will contain the rules for land use and development currently found in the district and regional plans), and the Long Term Plan, which will set out the Council's planned projects and funding.

All Auckland stakeholders should have an understanding of the Draft Auckland Plan and the accompanying plans, including the potential impact on your medium to long term commercial strategies. At more than 500 pages of plans and summaries, not including the technical and background papers, the documents are not a light read. We therefore recommend you start planning for your review and submission drafting now.

The closing date for public submissions on all four plans is 25 October 2011.

Key challenges and proposals

The Draft Auckland Plan focuses on addressing a number of key challenges facing Auckland over the next 30 years, including population growth, environmental issues, social and economic inequalities and infrastructure planning, provision and funding.

Urban containment and focused growth

The Draft Auckland Plan anticipates that the Auckland population will grow by one million by 2040 and will require a further 400,000 dwellings, and that around three quarters of this growth can be accommodated within the existing Metropolitan Urban Limit (MUL).

Key proposals are:

  • to create a new "Rural Urban Boundary" (RUB) to replace the existing MUL. The RUB would release around 5,000 to 6,000 additional hectares for residential and urban development
  • to put special focus on unleashing the economic and human potential in the Mangere-Otahuhu, Otara-Papatoetoe, Manurewa and Papakura areas through what the plan refers to as the "Southern Initiative"
  • to sequence infrastructure roll-out in stages to meet residential and business demand
  • to prioritise for growth in the first three years the City Centre, Hobsonville, New Lynn, Onehunga, Tamaki, Takapuna, Warkworth and Pukekohe, and
  • to review planning policy around intensification with a view to increasing densities but with a stronger focus on good urban design outcomes.

Environmental action and "green growth"

This would include more sustainable buildings, infrastructure and resource management practices - such as energy efficiency, waste minimisation and sustainable land use. The Draft Auckland Plan also recommends encouraging innovative green technologies.


Increasing public transport and encouraging walking and cycling are key goals. The Draft Auckland Plan proposes that within the next 10 years: the rail network be electrified, the City Rail Link completed, the ferry network extended to Hobsonville and Beach Haven, and improvements made to the city's walkways and cycle-ways. A number of State highway projects are also supported including the completion of the Western Ring Route, the additional harbour crossing, and the construction of the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway.


Potential funding for the initiatives in the Draft Auckland Plan is unclear. The Council foresees funding coming from a range of sources including the private sector, infrastructure providers and central government. In addition to traditional sources of local government funding from rates and development contributions, more novel concepts such as "Tax Increment Financing", road network pricing and public private partnerships are being investigated.

Our comments

While it is still early days in digesting the full extent of the Draft Auckland Plan, some key issues are emerging.

  • Legal status still unclear. The legal status of the Draft Auckland Plan remains unresolved, despite the issue being widely publicised, and it seems unlikely that any clarification will emerge during the consultation phase. This could raise real procedural fairness issues down the line.
  • More process to come. Regardless of the legal status of the Draft Auckland Plan, the Auckland Council clearly expects it to sit at the top of the planning hierarchy and to inform the Council's Unitary Plan and Long Term Plan. The Council and central government will no doubt be mindful of the potential for the Draft Auckland Plan, or parts of it (e.g. the RUB and planning policy around density) to be 'litigated to death' when put under the Resource Management Act microscope. We note much of the implementation will be through the Unitary Plan. It will be interesting to see whether any formal steps are taken to manage the potential for prolonged disputes.
  • Certainty. The Draft Auckland Plan makes a good case for uniting the views of Aucklanders and providing more strategic certainty for future growth and development. This should provide some comfort for business across the region. And of course, we don't need to worry about local government spats over infrastructure provision and development opportunities under the new Super City structure. Significant uncertainties remain, however, over funding, legal status and subsequent processes.
  • Aspirational but deliverable? It is not clear how all of the projects, aspirations and targets in the Draft Auckland Plan can be realistically delivered, and at a price that Aucklanders are willing or able to pay. Funding for many of the major projects remains absent or at the least uncertain.
  • Speed of process. Clearly, a lot of time and effort has gone into the Draft Auckland Plan, but the timeline for producing and adopting it is concerning. Auckland Council has faced substantial pressures in uniting the region under one authority since November 2010. History would indicate that fast decisions don't always equate with good decisions.
  • Politics. Central/local government politics are also relevant. Although Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has openly supported the Draft Auckland Plan, other cabinet members have already raised questions over some of the key initiatives, such as urban containment. Prime Minister John Key has also made public statements that central government won't be funding the City Rail link any time soon.

Process for involvement and timing

Time for involvement is relatively limited, bearing in mind the volume of material to get through. As noted, public submissions close on 25 October 2011. Up to that period, the Council and other groups will be running workshops and seminars to assist people in understanding the plans.

A summary of the submissions will be prepared and public hearings held in November. The Council proposes finalising the Auckland Plan in December 2011, with adoption in February 2012.

Chapman Tripp's role

We are available to assist you in negotiating your way around and through the four plans, and with evaluating how they will affect your specific business circumstances and property interests. We can also help you to prepare a submission. Please contact any of the lawyers featured.

The information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.