Generation Zero today says the Labour Party’s policy to ‘abolish the urban limit’ is “jumping the gun”, with the metropolitan urban limit to move to a rural-urban boundary with the Unitary Plan.
Spokesperson for the group, Leroy Beckett, explains; “The Labour Party is jumping the gun with their new policy to encourage haphazard urban sprawl in Auckland. By abolishing any urban boundary Auckland would be opening itself up to expensive development on the urban fringe that doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure.”
The Rural-Urban boundary is a land release program that will be operationalised through the Unitary Plan. This will mean expensive infrastructure, such as roads, waste water and public transport connections, can be provided for new developments in a coordinated process, rather than haphazard development on the urban fringe.
Mr Beckett; “In two months time Auckland will be voting on the Unitary Plan. If passed this will pass a new rural-urban boundary. This is the best way to deal with new greenfield development as it will allow new greenfield development on the urban fringe to have the adequate services.”
Labour’s policy announced yesterday was to do away with an urban limit as a solution to the housing affordability issues in Auckland.
Mr Beckett; “We sympathise with the intentions of the policy, but development on the urban fringe that encourages disastrous urban sprawl is not the way to go about addressing the issue. The Labour Party should be supporting the passing of the Unitary Plan that will allow more houses to be built in Auckland, by changing restrictive land zoning rules that are holding back new houses being built.”
The Unitary Plan will be presented back to Auckland Council by the Independent Hearings Panel which has been hearing submissions on the Plan for more than a year.
Mr Beckett; “Housing in Auckland is a complicated issue, but one things clear - urban sprawl is not the solution. We would encourage the Party to take a sensible approach to housing in Auckland by supporting the passing of the Unitary Plan not pushing for this new policy of urban sprawl.”
The group says urban sprawl is not a solution to the housing problems in Auckland. “Urban sprawl forces people to live far from where they work, in areas away from public transport. This creates congestion, increasing already tedious commute times and heightening carbon pollution” explains Mr Beckett.
Leroy Beckett, Auckland Director