Dr Phil McDermott
The Independent Hearings Panel has presented its recommendations for the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan to Auckland Council. The Panel loosened the strait jacket, but the patient remains tethered. Indeed, we may come to regret the additional credibility that the Panel has given the plan.
In 2010 the eight Auckland councils were amalgamated into one. I’m not sure why and my early prognosis gave the experiment five years before failing. This was based on the unwieldy nature of the proposed council – multiple layers of management were bound to complicate and slow down decision-making and further remove policy-makers from the places and people for whom they are actually making policy.
Housing hogs the headlines, but Auckland’s issues are bigger than that: how to manage resurgent urbanisation in the 21st century. The answer is much the same as in the 20th century - get the land market working effectively.
The 1991 Resource Management Act (RMA) is under fire because it is seen in many quarters as an impediment to much-needed investment in housing and business. At the same time, communities are concerned that the Act is not serving the environment well,
In March 2012 central government launched a multifaceted reform programme, Better Local Government. The aim is to “refocus” local councils in the interests of improving governance, efficiency, and management. It identified eight areas for action.