‘One size does not fit all’ was a key message that came from the second public meeting about the rezoning of large parts of Whangaparāoa Peninsula to allow more housing density.
This meeting on June 11, held in Whangaparāoa Community Hall, was larger than last month’s gathering, attracting around 200 people.
Both meetings were called by local Crs Wayne Walker and John Watson.
Mayoral candidates Viv Beck and Gary Brown (also local board chair), as well as Rodney Cr Greg Sayers and local board members Leanne Willis and Andy Dunn were also there.
Peninsula residents are protesting against changes that Auckland Council is required to make to residential zoning which has the potential for the peninsula’s population to as much as triple.
The zoning is to bring Auckland into line with government’s Medium Density Residential Standards, which apply nationwide and allow three homes of up to three storeys to be built on most residential land without resource consent.
Those opposed to the rezoning of the peninsula are concerned about increasing traffic, more sewage overflows, the impact on the environment, loss of privacy and views, over-shadowing of properties, and that medical facilities and schools will be unable to cope with that level of population growth.
As the rezoning is a central government initiative, supported by all parties apart from Act, much of the anger has been directed at local politicians. Whangaparāoa MP Mark Mitchell and Labour List MP Marja Lubeck were both unable to attend the June 11 meeting but sent statements outlining their positions (these were covered in HM May 30, front page story).
The legislation aims to speed up the pace and scale of urban growth, enabling more housing provision.
Karen Chhour of Act got a warm reception when she told the crowd that a ‘one size fits all’ policy, which she said had been rushed into law, was not going to work.
“Infrastructure is already not coping,” Chhour said. “Density should be close to city centres where there are things like good access to public transport. That should come first, before changes like this are imposed on communities.”
She said she would take the community’s concerns back to parliament.
The hosts of the meeting, Crs Walker and Watson, said that political pressure is the only way to turn it around, but time is of the essence.
Council will notify its zoning changes for public consultation in August. However, the government’s Medium Density Residential Standards come into force on August 20.
August is also when Council will reveal the criteria for its ‘qualifying matters’, which may allow it to limit building heights or density where intensification is not suitable.
Crs Walker and Watson told the gathering they are concerned that Auckland Transport may not include network issues as a qualifying matter, although access to public transport could be included.
Residents who attended the meeting agreed that protest about this needs to be louder – a further public meeting will take place (see box below).
Have your say: The local petition against the zoning is at Petitions.nz – look for Stop Government Housing Intensification on Hibiscus Coast • A third meeting will be held, in Whangaparāoa Hall on July 2 at 10am. MP Mark Mitchell and Labour List MP Marja Lubeck will again be invited, and TV coverage is possible.