Auckland’s Unitary Plan

The Unitary Plan is an Auckland City Council plan to allow more high density housing in Auckland. High density means more houses per hectare and more apartment buildings. While new houses are being built on the outskirts of Auckland city, that means more roads, water, electricity and waste water systems. This infrastructure costs ratepayers. It is more economical to have higher density housing near public transport and in areas which already have the infrastructure.

However, yesterday at the Council meeting, a large number of ratepayers attended the meeting to object to the Unitary Plan. They said the Council had not consulted them. They said they did not want three-storey apartment buildings next door to their homes. After a seven-hour Council meeting, 13 councillors voted to support these ratepayers while 8 voted against. This is a defeat for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

One of the reasons for higher density housing is to bring down house prices in Auckland. House prices now are so high that only the rich and elderly will own their own home in the future. Young people will not have enough money to buy a house or even an apartment. The government also wants to do something about Auckland’s housing market but does not want to interfere in local government.

Vocabulary

• Unitary – one plan for the whole city
• density – average number of people or houses per hectare eg. population density
• hectare – 10,000 sq m
• outskirts – opposite of inner city, near the outer boundaries of the city
• infrastructure – basic facilities and systems
• ratepayers – people who pay property tax
• economical – cheaper
• object – disagree
• consulted – asked their opinion
• defeat – opposite of ‘win’; a loss

Questions

1. The word “nimby” (a new word) means “Not In My Back Yard” – NIMBY. This word is used for people who think something is a good idea but not in their area – in someone’s else’s backyard. Can you think of some examples of ‘nimby’?
2. NZ is lucky to have space. The result is that traditionally people could buy a 3-bedroom house on an 800sq metre piece of land. Do you think many people in Auckland want to live in an apartment?
3. Infrastructure includes public facilities. What other infrastructure does the local government have to supply in a new housing area?






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