AUCKLAND UNITARY PLAN UPDATE
The Unitary Plan Independent Hearings process has begun and the Panel will hear submissions on each section and line of the Unitary Plan over the next two years. The points made in all submissions have been analysed into Unitary Plan topics and submitters are able to present evidence and appear before the Hearing Panel in support of their submission. Before that there is the opportunity to attend a mediation session on each topic.
MRA has attended two mediation sessions on the Regional Policy Statement (Social Infrastructure and Public Open Spaces & Recreation). The Regional Policy Statement establishes the highest level of planning objectives and policy and dictates what can be done throughout all levels of the Unitary Plan. While we have found the discussions to be mostly helpful and co-operative, we are concerned that so few community groups were present at these particular mediations. In contrast, the specific interests of the heavyweight organisations that were strongly represented (government departments, district health board, tertiary institutions, etc) were not always the same interests as those of local communities.
MRA will present evidence as part of the Auckland 2040 group’s evidence on the Regional Policy Statement on Urban Growth during December. We will also present evidence ourselves on the issue of Public Open Spaces and Recreation as we believe our existing parks and reserves need further protection as the population grows.
These are early days. We will be involved in a number of mediations and hearings in the coming year.