18 Oct 2012

Auckland Council can speed up Unitary Plan

5:32 am on 18 October 2012

Auckland Council will be allowed to speed up bringing in its new planning rulebook, the Unitary Plan, with the Government agreeing to a law change.

Late next year the Unitary Plan will replace the planning rules used by Auckland's eight local bodies, which were amalgamated two years ago.

The council, which sees the plan as crucial to how Auckland will grow, had hoped it could be locked in place from the time it is finalised, avoiding most appeals - which could delay its implementation by six to 10 years.

However, while granting most of the council's requests, the Government will allow a period of up to three years during which an independent panel will consider public submissions.

Decisions made by the panel but not accepted by the council will still be appealable to the Environment Court.

Deputy mayor Penny Hulse says she is pleased the Government has taken on the council's key suggestions. She says the council will seek a role in deciding who the panel appointees will be.