Business urged to back Unitary Plan

Michael Barnett
Michael Barnett

Auckland Council has until August 19 to decide what parts of the Unitary Plan panel's recommendations to adopt and which to reject, but the head of the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce says it's a no-brainer.

"The one choice is to accept it and try and move forward," chief executive Michael Barnett told Paul Henry on Thursday.

On Wednesday the council revealed the panel's proposed changes to the Unitary Plan, based on nearly two years of public hearings and thousands of submissions.

"I think they've done a great job," says Mr Barnett. "I think the council's done a great job in getting this through. What we need to do now is to buy into it."

While the plan's focus is squarely on housing, and how to fit another 422,000 of them into the city over the next 25 years, Mr Barnett says there's plenty in there for business.

"It confirms there is more land going to be available for business, and business should walk away from this [happy]."

What it doesn't answer though is how the extra hundreds of thousands of people expected to make Auckland their home over the next few decades are going to get around the already congested city.

"You can move across the isthmus and see [the panel's recommended high-density zones have] followed the corridors, they've followed the walking paths… I think it's been done well, and I think that the only pressure point that I would look at… is going to be the transport as a result of it."

It's a concern that's been echoed by mayoral candidates Victoria Crone and Phil Goff.

"If you don't have transport to intensification, you just make congestion worse," says Mr Goff.