Wayne Brown says council needs more control after 1400 buildings approved on flood plains since deadly floods

Almost a year on from Auckland's multi-billion-dollar great flood, the council is signalling a crackdown on building consents for hazardous areas.

It comes as new data reveals that since the Anniversary Weekend event the council has issued 1400 building consents for houses to be constructed on flood plains.

Don't build, or buy, in places that get hit by flooding. No brainer, right? Well in Auckland plenty of people are.

Council data reveals that 1873 houses have been approved in areas with known hazards since the deadly Anniversary floods and 1415 dwellings have been consented in flood plains.

"The way that we consent in floodplains is that mostly the applicant has to prove that they can make the structure safe, that it might be above the flood level, or they have other mitigations around stormwater," said Auckland Councillor Richard Hills.

"If people are wanting us to prevent that building in a floodplain, it's far more complex - we can't under the Building Act and the RMA just ban, or prohibit, building in those areas."

A street in Henderson was one the worst hit during January's floods. Cars were literally picked up and swept down the road, and the water was up to people's necks.

Newshub came back here to see what it looks like, and one of the first things you notice is new homes have been built here.

But Hills, who chairs the council's Planning Committee, said it will be looking at changes to reduce building in flood plains. Mitigations or not, some areas could be out of bounds.

"It does seem, sort of, outrageous that you're seeing development in some of these areas. We are looking to prevent it in some areas that are newly developed, but it's hard to remove the development rights of current property owners," he said.

Mayor Wayne Brown appeared exasperated as Newshub read out flood plain consents during an interview on Friday afternoon. He said the council needs greater control when it comes to consenting.

"It's disappointing to find we are adding to it... and one of the things we are talking to the Government about is to have the ability to say 'no' and mean 'no',' Brown told Newshub.

Even with supposed mitigations against flooding, Brown said the anniversary floods showed they were futile in some west Auckland suburbs.

"I went outside and looked at that, and I could see those houses actually had their floor level below the road gutter level. Even in Kaitāia you're not able to do that," he said.

Brown said Auckland Council simply doesn't have the control it needs to stop homes being built in these areas.