Auckland Unitary Plan: A recipe for shoddy, cheap housing?

Auckland Unitary Plan: A recipe for shoddy, cheap housing?

There are fears the new Auckland Unitary Plan will allow shoddy housing to sprout up in poor areas.

The plan allows for more houses to be built, but removes detailed regulations about quality.

Flora Apulu is employed, driven and hopeful she will own a home one day. But those hopes are pinned on new affordable housing being made available as part of the Auckland Unitary Plan - and she's worried.

"I think my biggest fear is that there won't be quality, affordable homes and that they're just going to, I don't know, cluster those vulnerable people into little shoebox houses."

The plan aims to have 422,000 houses built by 2040, but has removed detailed regulations about what form that housing will take.

"Really concerned about the fact though that it is such breakneck speed, that's it is ignoring aspects of culture and heritage that are important to the development of a sophisticated, modern city," says The Property Institute's Ashley Church.

Apartments are one example of what will pop up, but priced at $700,000 to $800,000, that is way out of the reach of Ms Apulu and many other people.

It's feared, instead, it's a recipe for small, shoddy and cheap housing to be built in poor areas while wealthier suburbs remain untouched.

One home that has escaped rezoning for intensive housing is on Riddell Rd in Glendowie, and it belongs to New Zealand's richest man, Graeme Hart.

Mr Hart's home is one of a small number of cliff-top houses in Glendowie and beachfront properties on Karaka Bay that managed to keep their traditional, single-house status. Ms Apulu believes that sends the wrong message.

"If you look at Glendowie, it's actually the perfect place to build because it's right next to the city where there's more study opportunities; there's universities there, employment opportunities right next to town."

The countdown is on. The council will have to make a decision on the plan by early August.