Welcome to this new digital forum and the chance to have your say on the draft Auckland Unitary Plan, the document that will shape how Auckland grows for decades to come.
This style of forum is a first for Auckland Council. However, the unitary plan is so important, such a key part of Auckland’s vision to become the world’s most liveable city, that it’s essential we try new ways to talk with our communities.
The draft plan will be launched on 15 March, so we have a few weeks to explain some of the issues, give a bit of background and get people ready to provide their feedback. I’m excited about the conversations ahead.
A warning – the conversations will generate strong opinions. The draft plan tackles many complex and difficult issues that Aucklanders feel strongly about – and on all sides of each debate. Things such as: protection of our heritage, our coast and our rural and urban environments; heights in and around our town centres; the need for good design; minimum apartment sizes; density of business areas; mangrove clearance; land release on the outskirts of Auckland; and protection of productive farmland. These issues press a lot of buttons, so it’s essential we have the debates and find the right balance for all our communities and for Auckland as a whole. Because that’s what the unitary plan is all about: getting the right balance that will mean we can manage our growth successfully while looking after the things we most value.
What’s also really important is that the debate is based on facts. There’s a danger that some people may drum up alarm and misinformation, and people will waste time and energy talking about things that simply aren’t proposed, would never happen, or are just plain wrong. We’ve already seen that in recent days, with one Auckland reporter trying to stir unease with some very puzzling use of numbers. Aucklanders don’t have time for that kind of thing and they deserve better.
Instead we need proper, mature discussions. If we do it right, the unitary plan will help to give Auckland an exciting, successful and vibrant future. We won’t achieve that with half measures and we won’t get everyone working together without robust conversation.
This plan will shape Auckland for decades. We need to make sure it’s as good as it possibly can be, and to do that we need your input. So please, take the time to find out about what’s proposed, talk about what it means with your friends and family and have your say.