Parliament has passed law changes so that Auckland's new unitary plan can be concluded during the life of the current council.
Environment Minister Nick Smith says putting the plan together is the largest and most complex job undertaken under the Resource Management Act.
The law changes, passed under urgency yesterday, give the panel that's hearing public submissions more flexibility in the way it works.
They allow a quorum of two rather than three and the appointment of additional commissioners so that recommendations can be made to the council by July 22 next year.
The panel will also be able to progressively report on the new plan, rather than submitting a single report.
Next year's local body elections take place in October.