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Draft unitary plan draws focussed feedback

by 4 Jun 2013Regional governance0 comments

Arial of Waiwera, Te Muri and Mahurangi

Focussed on Landscape: Mahurangi Action’s feedback on Auckland’s draft Unitary Plan fully focuses on landscape protection. While it is encouraging that the draft has much of the harbourscape protected by the Outstanding Natural Landscapes overlay, it is concerning that this highest protection could be devalued by being applied to vast tracks of land of, arguably, much lower landscape value. artist Jefferson Chapple

September’s scheduled notification of the Auckland Unitary Plan is now in doubt.

Despite that, it is possible that any further informal discussion of the draft plan will only be between Auckland Council and selected groups, and Mahurangi Action is not in that illustrious company.

The Environmental Defence Society does tend to get listened to. In all probability, the 72-pages of feedback the 42-year-old organisation provided will be read word for word. But with the extremely compressed timeframe involved between now and when the plan is due to be notified, the professional advice received by Mahurangi Action was that, with the best will in world, the planning staff is going to be able to change the draft very little. Hence the short-and-sweet feedback, submitted on Friday:

Feedback on the draft unitary plan

Formed in 1974 as Friends of the Mahurangi, Mahurangi Action Incorporated is [a] community interest group that, from its inception, has been primarily concerned with protection, enhancement and enjoyment of the outstanding natural landscape that is the Mahurangi Harbour.

As the nearest natural harbour north of the city on Auckland’s popular east coast, the Mahurangi is remarkably unbuilt. The seaward approaches and heads of the harbour is unquestionably an area outstanding natural landscape, much of which was protected from urban development through acquisition as regional parkland in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The harbour is an entity with a landscape value on par with a significant lake or mountain.

Mahurangi Action’s feedback to the draft Unitary Plan is as follows:

  1. Mahurangi Action supports the protection afforded to prime areas of the Mahurangi Harbour by the Outstanding Natural Landscapes overlay.
  2. Mahurangi Action is concerned, however, that the Outstanding Natural Landscapes overlay applies to areas distant from the harbourscape, and elsewhere, such that overuse of the overlay providing highest protection would have the effect of diluting protection for the most sensitive landscapes.
  3. Mahurangi Action disagrees with the very small area of the harbour to which the Outstanding Coastal Natural Character Area overlay applies to and urges that it be applied to the seaward approaches and heads of the harbour, in place of the ‘High’ overlay, which is used for the often extensively modified coastal landscapes between Mahurangi and the Waitematā Harbour.
  4. Mahurangi Action supports zoning of the bulk of the harbourscape as Rural Coastal.
  5. Mahurangi Action supports application of the Significant Ecological Area overlay to harbour, and the excluding of mooring areas from that overlay.

In addition to these five points, Mahurangi Action endorses the feedback by the Environmental Defence Society in its entirety but with particular reference to:

4.33 Further, EDS supports the approach of providing for differing objectives and policies recognising the differing values of Auckland’s coastal areas. However, we consider that in some cases the area specific objectives and policies are inadequate. In particular, there are no provisions in the plan to protect the five estuaries in the Whangateau–Waiwera area.


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