Support the Character Coalition’s Submission Against Further Intensification – ACTION REQUIRED NOW

Carnage in the suburbs

Submissions on the surprise legislation to enable yet more intensification of Auckland close on 16 November 2021 – NEXT TUESDAY!

Dear Member

Submissions on the surprise legislation to enable yet more intensification of Auckland close on 16 November, next Tuesday night. The Coalition has written a submission and we are asking you to support it.

It is very important that the Government and the National Party realise the strength of feeling about the undemocratic nature of this bill and the terrible cost the city will pay for the uncontrolled development which will result. As our submission points out the Unitary Plan enabled enough development potential without the destruction of Auckland’s character.

You can submit by clicking here and completing the online submission form using our submission below as a guide. You could also cut and paste our submission into the comments section or save it as a document and upload it.

For a super quick option just write I support the Character Coalition’s submission in the comments box.

Please take this action to save your city.



The Character Coalition Inc. is an umbrella body representing over 60 Auckland groups made up of residents who care deeply about their city.  It was established in 2016 out of a sense of frustration that the community was not being listened to by Auckland Council. Its members had watched with despair as precious buildings and areas were destroyed to make way for what were often inappropriate and unsightly new developments.

The Coalition took an active part in the process of forming the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP). This was an exhaustive, and exhausting, process. The Coalition was largely successful in ensuring that the Unitary Plan retained the Special Character Area protection for those parts of Auckland where the existing form, buildings and environmental values give the city its character.  The Coalition is concerned that, after all that effort, not only these areas but the rest of Auckland as well are again under threat as a result of Government policies.

Lack of Consultation

This Bill has been introduced with insufficient time for proper consultation with Auckland Council, and Aucklanders.

It plans to introduce major changes to planning rules yet allows only three weeks to make submissions and the aim is to push the Bill through parliament by mid December.

It is an autocratic ambush move by central government to impose an ill-thought-out housing proposal on councils and their citizens when they are still grappling with the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD).

This proposal reveals an appalling lack of respect for the public, Auckland Council and the democratic process.

Even the Regulatory Impact Statement on the Bill warns this lack of consultation is a problem and may pose implementation risks for the proposals.

This Bill is Unnecessary

This Bill is simply unnecessary. As the capacity analysis recently carried out by Auckland Council shows, the AUP already provides for sufficient capacity for at least 30 years housing development. Auckland Council’s figures show there is enough existing development capacity under the AUP for up to 900,000 more dwellings in Auckland now.

The Bill demonstrates short-term, blinkered, thinking and throws out quality for quantity without consideration of the consequences.

Auckland Unitary Plan

The AUP is already achieving intensified housing in Auckland. It eased height and density requirements and resource consent numbers in Auckland are at record levels. 66% are for high-density homes, in appropriate locations which are identified in the AUP.
The AUP was approved only five years ago after going through a rigorous democratic consultation, submission and appeal process. A great deal of time and effort went into identifying appropriate areas for high and medium density homes,  and this effort is now paying off

The Bill will overrule the Plan and make a mockery of the democratic process which developed it.

Poor quality of life

By eliminating all urban design rules and guidelines from medium density housing, the Bill will lead to a poor quality of life for both existing residents and those who occupy the new buildings. Three large dwellings will be squeezed onto small sections, outdoor living will be cramped or non-existent and lacking in privacy. Peoples’ living quality will suffer accordingly.

The new buildings will shade and overwhelm existing housing, blocking their sun and light. The minimal yard and open space requirements will result in a lack of green space for people to get outside and breathe.

This will have significant impacts on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of Aucklanders.

Climate change and environmental effects

Because the development allowed by the Bill is not targeted, unlike that in the AUP, it will occur in areas without adequate, or any, public transport, thus increasing motor vehicle usage and emissions as people travel to and from distant schools and workplaces.

Houses that rely on solar panels for heating will find they no longer work efficiently because they will be shaded by 11 metre high buildings on their boundaries.

The Bill will allow three three-storey buildings to be built on floodplains, maunga, and other environmentally sensitive areas quite unsuited to such development. The effect of this will be devastating to the well-being of Aucklanders. The houses may be subject to flooding, the maunga will become over-developed, and rivers and streams and the stormwater network overwhelmed by the sporadic development that springs up randomly.

Lack of Infrastructure

Unlike under the AUP, these developments will not be confined to areas where sufficient infrastructure such as sewage, water supply and roading is, or can be, located. This means houses will be built which are poorly serviced, and lack facilities such as parks, and schools to enable people to live with proper standards

Special Character Areas

The Bill does not give enough consideration to the protection of Auckland’s historic old wooden housing areas that are a significant part of the city’s identity and character.
These Special Characters areas have been protected from demolition for many years and there is now an accepted community expectation that they deserve protection and that they will be kept.

Yet this bill threatens to ruin these areas. If three storey developments are allowed everywhere these old villas, cottages and bungalows will be squeezed between monolithic concrete and glass housing blocks. These areas are about scale and cohesiveness, and to have them interrupted by brutal, over-scale developments will be the death knell of the historic fabric of the city.

It is simply not enough to protect only individual heritage houses and buildings through the Heritage Schedule. Most houses in SCA’s are not on this schedule yet collectively they represent Auckland’s growth as a city and contribute enormously to its unique identity.

Clash with Other Legislation

This bill will pre-empt the Natural and Built Environment Bill that is still being formulated. As well as this Bill, there is the Spatial Planning Bill, the NPS-UD and the Climate Change Adaptation Bill clamouring for attention
The government is simply trying to do too much, too quickly, risking ill-considered pieces of legislation that may well conflict with each other.

At present there are too many legislative streams operating simultaneously. This is creating confusion and panic, and is a recipe for disaster.


There is a reason that New Zealand has had a Planning system since as long ago as the 1920’s.

It performs two very important functions. It enables Councils to provide for development and growth in an orderly way, and to plan and fund their provision of infrastructure to fit in with those plans. It also gives people a say in how and where the area where they choose to live develops.

This proposal achieves the opposite. If it goes ahead, the future of Auckland will be handed over to property developers, including (as the Mayor has described them “cowboys”.   They will decide where medium density housing is sited and what it will look like. Councils will be left playing catch-up, under pressure to provide infrastructure all over the place to cater for one-off developments springing up randomly all over the Auckland region.

This will be an unnecessarily expensive exercise, resulting in increases in both rates and housing prices, as higher development contributions are required to pay for the unplanned infrastructure.

Auckland is crying out for affordable housing, and we support proposals that will achieve that. However, rather than creating affordable housing, leaving planning of the city’s future to developers will mean that property prices in Auckland will further increase as developers buy up and land bank sites that they see as worth developing.

When they do decide to build, it will be on an ad hoc basis without reference to the ability of the locality’s infrastructure to support more housing. Urban design and community well-being will suffer as a result.


The effect of this bill, together with the NPS-UD , will be to create an Auckland that is both ugly and dysfunctional. The people of Auckland will not thank you for it.

Is that is the legacy the Government want to leave? We urge you not to let that happen. The Bill should be abandoned, and the Council and the AUP left to do their work.

Sally Hughes
Character Coalition Inc
PO Box 55197
Auckland 1146