An exclusive Auckland golf club which counts former Prime Minister Sir John Key amongst its members has successfully been rezoned to avoid having it turned into housing, despite widespread opposition.
The Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club's 80ha of greens in Papatoetoe was zoned for housing and apartments under the city's Unitary Plan, but this has been changed to open space the NZ Herald reports, saving the club money on rates and stopping the potential construction of 1600 homes.
The golf course has been there since the early 1900s. It's not open to the general public.
Of 18 submissions made on the rezoning, just two were in support. Many reportedly noted the location's transport links and infrastructure made it ideal for a new housing development, which the growing city badly needs. A report earlier this year said locals had little use for the "elitist" club since it was so hard to join.
Planning commissioners who approved the rezoning said it was unlikely the land would be freed up by the club anytime soon, making it unlikely housing would even be possible, so it made no sense to keep it zoned that way.
"If at some future time the club decides to reduce the area of its site used for golfing purposes or dispose of the site in its entirety, then the appropriateness of the zoning of these areas can be revisited at that time," the commissioners said, according to the NZ Herald.