Sustainable New Zealand Party

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Visit the landing page and join or register your interest at sustainablenz.org.nz

You can also read our Policy Outline to find out more.

What Do We Stand For?

We all know that New Zealand is blessed with one of the world’s most beautiful natural environments. But we also know that this paradise is slipping away from us. Government after government has ignored some of our most pressing environmental concerns. We believe it is time for a new political party that champions a politics of sustainability. Sustainability is based on the principle that everything we need for our survival and well-being depends on our natural environment. It means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Our focus on sustainability means that we would be able to work with political parties on the left or right of politics to ensure that the environment is always a top political priority regardless of who makes up the government.

Our primary focus is on environmental matters such as clean water, sustainable oceans, protection of our native species, dealing with climate change; and these all have economic, social and cultural dimensions. A society with dramatic inequality is not sustainable. We need to move our economy away from polluting and environmentally destructive ways of doing things; by embracing technological and scientific innovation we can become wealthier, creating higher paying jobs for New Zealanders, all while treading more lightly on the earth.

What Outcomes Does MMP Deliver?

The Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) system means that minor parties can have a major influence on a government as part of a coalition. The coalition arrangements of the current government allocated billions of dollars to political trophies and slush funds – the price of NZ First support for a Labour-led Government. We have also seen the scrapping of important environmental initiatives like the mandatory installation of cameras on fishing boats because the fishing industry are key NZ First donors and supporters. MMP should deliver better outcomes than this.

We believe that the MMP system should be a vehicle to place sustainability at the centre of every government. The coalition negotiations after each election are the best possible opportunity to ensure the sustainability of our environment and the sustainable development of a modern economy.

These changes will only be made with the emergence of a new political force that will use the levers of the MMP system to much better ends.

But What About the Greens?

The Green Party has made a deliberate decision not to use the leverage that comes with the number of MPs they have in Parliament. Instead of negotiating with both major parties, they have made a decision to always support the formation of a Labour Government meaning that Labour can take them for granted. This is no way to get the best deal for the environment.

Having given away their negotiating advantage, they are in a weak position to demand funding for cleaner beaches and rivers, for modern sewage infrastructure in major cities, for sustainable management of our fisheries, a major upgrade in predator control, nor for the significant increases in science and research funding that will underwrite a modern, sustainable economy.

The Greens have a historic tendency to be suspicious of scientific innovation – particularly in biotechnology – and hostile to business. New Zealand deserves a political party that will work together with the innovators in business and science who will lead the way through the complex and interconnected sustainability challenges of the coming century.

So What Are We Doing?

We want to create a new political party based upon the principles of sustainability – one prepared to deal with either the National Party or the Labour Party in coalition negotiations – to leverage policies that will underpin a more Sustainable New Zealand. We are inviting you to be part of this.

What Do We Want From You?

Join us: we only need 500 financial members to register the party. You could also volunteer, donate, work on policy, be a candidate; just let us know. To win seats in the next election we need to achieve 5% of the votes cast – that’s likely to be around 165,000 votes. 

If you would like to make a donation, our bank account details are: Sustainable New Zealand Party, 38-9020-0363803-00.

Please be sure to include your initials and surname in the ‘particulars’ field and whether the contribution is for membership or a donation in the ‘reference’ field.

If you want to see a party in Parliament that puts the environment first – that is prepared to deal with either National or Labour – and puts clean water, sustainable fisheries, protection of our native species, climate change and a sustainable economy and society at the top of the political agenda, please register your details at the link below.

sustainablenz.org.nz

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August 2019 Local Board Member Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-July to mid-August 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and, member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’

Continue reading

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July 2019 Local Board Member Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-June to mid-July 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and, member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • Plan Change 26 to the Auckland Unitary Plan: a review of the conflict between zones and overlays in AUP was consulted in June. A summary of the plan change is in the Heritage & Planning portfolio report below
  • The Parnell Plan was finished and publicly launched on 26 June
  • Completed, with Member Northey, Local Board input on the Kainga Ora Bill currently before Parliament
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’

Continue reading

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Plan Change 26 to Auckland Unitary Plan

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Photo credit: Bayleys Realty Group

Plan Change 26 seeks changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan to make it clear that certain planning provisions of the underlying Special Character Areas Overlay will prevail over the corresponding provisions of the underlying residential zones. The proposed plan change also refines some of the standards within the Special Character Areas Overlay, including height in relation to boundary, yards, paved areas and fences.

One of the most important things to understand about this plan change is that it is not introducing new rules or standards; it is clearing up an inadvertent legal confusion and effectively bringing the old Res 1 controls back into play, which were the heritage protections of the old District Plan for the last 20 years or so. 

The issues that the plan change deals with arose when the Auckland Unitary Plan became operative in part in November 2016. The final wording of the rules for Special Character Overlay Areas and the underlying Single House Zones were, in places, inconsistent and created uncertainly about which should take precedence. Council obtained external legal advice to determine the correct interpretation of the rules and adopted the approach that the Special Character Areas Overlay rules took precedence over the underlying zone rules between December 2016 and December 2017.

The legal position was clarified in three Environment Court cases: Auckland Council v Budden [2017] NZEnvC 209, Auckland Council v Budden (No 2) [2018] NZEnvC 3 and Auckland Council v Budden (No 3) [2018] NZEnvC 30. The Environment Court did not agree with Council’s existing interpretation of the rules and declared that both sets of rules – the Special Character Areas Overlay and the underlying zoning rules – should apply when considering resource consent applications.

Following this, hundreds were advised to re-apply for their consents in September 2018.

The challenge of dealing with these issues is summarised at p. 26 of the Coombes & Williams Overlay Analysis Report, December 2018:

‘There is no simple amendment that can address all of these issues collectively. It would not be appropriate to introduce a general rule that makes the overlay provisions always prevail over zone and Auckland-wide provisions. This would create issues when the overlay provisions are more permissive than their equivalents elsewhere in the plan, but the overall intent of the overlay is to be restrictive. In such cases the overlay is not meant to enable particular activities where there are other reasons for a zone to restrict that activity. Such an approach would create anomalous situations such as the Volcanic Viewshafts Overlay allowing building heights up to a sloping viewshaft height when the building height in the surrounding zone is lower.’

The wording of the proposed change is (the full document is here):

Chapter D18

  1. Amend the introductory text preceding Activity Table D18.4.1 Special Character Areas Overlay – Residential to state:
    1. That Activity Table D18.4.1 does not apply to land use activities;
    2. That the activity status of activities in Activity Table D18.4.1 takes precedence over the activity status of that activity in the underlying zone;
    3. That the activity status in the relevant zone applies to land use activities and to development activities that are not specified in Table D18.4.1; and
    4. That all other relevant overlay, precinct and Auckland-wide rules apply unless otherwise specified.
  2. Amend Activity Table D18.4.1 Special Character Areas Overlay – Residential to:
    1. Insert a new activity rule to provide for the construction of new fences and walls, and alterations to fences and walls that comply with Standard D18.6.1.7(1) as a permitted activity; and
    2. Insert a new activity rule to state that the construction of new fences and walls, or alterations to fences and walls, that do not comply with Standard D18.6.1.7(1) is a restricted discretionary activity.
  3. Amend D18.6.1 Standards for buildings in the Special Character Areas Overlay –Residential to:
    1. Clarify that the development standards listed within D18.6.1 apply to all activities undertaken in the Special Character Areas Overlay – Residential, whether they are listed in Activity Table D18.4.1 or in the relevant zone; and
    2. State that the following development standards in D18.6.1 prevail over the equivalent development standards in the underlying zone (except where otherwise specified):
      1. building height
      2. height in relation to boundary
      3. yards
      4. building coverage
      5. maximum impervious area
      6. landscaped area
      7. fences and walls
  1. Include a purpose statement for the following development standards:
    1. building height
    2. height in relation to boundary
    3. yards
    4. building coverage
    5. landscaped area
    6. maximum impervious area
    7. fences and walls
  2. Amend Standard D18.6.1.2 Height in relation to boundary to specify that:
    1. The control (3m + 45 degree recession plane) only applies to sites with a frontage length of less than 15m;
    2. The underlying zone height in relation to boundary standard applies:
      1. To sites that have a frontage length of 15m or greater; or
      2. Rear sites.
    3. Standard D18.6.1.2 only applies to side and rear boundaries (not front boundaries)
    4. Standard D18.6.1.2 does not apply to site boundaries with an existing common wall between two buildings on adjacent sites or where a common wall is proposed;
    5. Standard D18.6.1.2 applies from the farthest boundary of legal rights of way, entrance strips, access sites or pedestrian access ways; and
    6. That gable ends, dormers or roofs may project beyond the recession plane in certain circumstances.
  3. Delete the rear yard requirement from D18.6.1.3; and state that the underlying zone yard standards apply for all other yards.
  4. Amend the reference to ‘maximum paved area’ in D18.6.1.6 to ‘maximum impervious area’; along with associated amendments to the maximum levels in Table D18.6.1.6.1.
  5. Amend the standard that relates to fences and walls in D18.6.1.7 to the effect that fences constructed between the front facades of houses and the street are limited to 1.2m in height, but can be up to 2m in height elsewhere on a site.
  6. Amend D18.8 to require an assessment of resource consents against the matters of discretion and assessment criteria set out in D18.8 as well as the matters of discretion and assessment criteria in the underlying zone (for infringements to equivalent standards only). For clarity, PPC 26 does not propose any amendments to the following standards in Chapter D18:
    1. Objectives
    2.  Policies
    3. Table D18.4.2 Activity table – Special Character Areas Overlay – Business
    4. Notification
    5. 6.2 Standards for buildings in the Special Character Areas Overlay – Business
    6. Assessment – controlled activities
    7. Special Information Requirements

Chapter E38: Subdivision – Urban

Amend Standard E38.8.2.6 to state that the minimum net site area standards in Table E38.8.2.6.1 prevail over the zone-specific standards in Table E38.8.2.3.1.

It may appear that the intensity of the Special Character Areas is being increased when compared to the underlying residential zoning of Single House Zone (SHZ) but  it is important to be sure that we are comparing like with like. An historic analysis shows that the Special Character Areas (i.e. Grey Lynn, Ponsonby) were relatively intensively developed compared to today’s standards and, for consistency, the standards for new builds and alterations in the area reflect this. The Plan Change 26 Evaluation Report contains the following table summarising the phases of development in Auckland’s isthmus suburbs with the sizes of the lots and frontages:

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 17.34.00

These rules reflect the existing, historic building pattern – houses were traditionally built much closer and higher relative to the boundary and were extended at the back over time. So, for example, it is worth noting that the height in relation to boundary in the Special Character Area of 3m + 45 degree recession plane only applies to properties that have a frontage of less than 15m.

This plan change is not creating new rules, nor is it allowing additional development, it is reinstating the same (‘Res 1’) rules that have existed in the affected area for the last 20 years. Prior to the Unitary Plan, the Auckland District Plan had a special ‘Isthmus A’ zoning area for Grey Lynn and Ponsonby. This recognised that lots in these historic suburbs tend to be much smaller and narrower than modern subdivisions, by allowing  owners to:

A) build to a height to boundary starting at 3m on boundary (same as current overlay rules but the old District Plan only required 1 m side yard)

B) smaller lots to build on a greater proportion of the land. The District Plan used a different formula from the current overlay rules but the effect was similar – you could build on 35% of a 500 sqm lot, 40 % on a 400 sqm lot, rising to 50% for a 200sqm lot.

Auckland Council, via the Unitary Plan process, opted to simplify the large number of zones it inherited from the six prior District Plans. It did this by creating residential zones based on the primary housing types in each area, e.g. single house zone, allowing 1 house per lot, or terraced housing and apartment zone, etc. The single house zone set a minimum lot size of 600 sqm – a size rarely found in our historic neighbourhoods. Note also that the SHZ permits existing housing to be demolished as of right!

Proposed Plan Change 26 clarifies the Unitary Plan by stating that the overlay rules will overwrite the zone rules while tidying up a few minor issues like changing maximum paved area to impervious surface area. It does not add additional development rights, it just continues the rules that have existed for over 20 years.

If development were restricted to SHZ rules, we’d lose more of our heritage buildings. Owners no longer able to build behind their existing house may instead choose to build over the existing building, or seek permission to demolish entirely.

Public input closes on the 12th of July, 2019, you can find more information and submit here.

 

 

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June 2019 Local Board Member Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose
This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-April to mid-May 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and, member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • A scheduled ‘notable’ tree has been cut down without authorisation at 73 Argyle Street, Herne Bay
  • The retaining wall matter at 92 Williamson Avenue remains at an impasse
  • The bollards funded by the Local Board to be installed by the Cathedral in Saint Patrick’s Square are on track to be installed in July
  • The ‘Re-Imaginging Great North Road’ community-led precinct vision team have provided an update that most of their work will be completed by the end of June 2019
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’ Continue reading
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May 2019 Local Board Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-April to mid-May 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and, member of the Auckland Domain Committee. 

Executive Summary

  • The two wooden houses next to Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell are being demolished after a lengthy period of neglect. More details below.
  • I have been involved in a consent to remove a tree in Saint Patrick’s Square in front of the construction site for the Indigo building. This has resulted in widespread consultation with stakeholders and, as a result of these discussions, I have made a recommendation that a new tree be planted in another part of the square.
  • I have asked for Auckland Transport and Developments Consents to look into the reported lack of a usable footpath outside the development at 2 Churton Street, Parnell.
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents.’

Continue reading

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Policy Outline for the Sustainable New Zealand Party

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Policy Outline

This outline is intended to provide a broad outline of the party’s position on significant issues to guide our policy development process and help supporters to decide if this is a party they want to join.

We are the environment party

  • Our vision is a clean, green New Zealand.
  • Our mission is to promote sustainable, prosperous communities.
  • The challenges we face are urgent and the environment can’t wait. We will make a real difference by 2021, one that can be sustained.

Our top 3 priorities

  1. Our number one priority is clean, safe water that supports life.
  2. We will do everything possible to save our native species from extinction.
  3. We will reduce waste and make more efficient use of natural resources.

Clean, Safe Water

  • We will clean up the freshwater and marine environments.
  • We will release a proposal to coordinate the 67 councils, 20 district health boards and several government departments that manage water.
  • We will set and enforce tough standards for drinking water, stormwater and wastewater.

No More Extinctions

  • We will fully implement the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy and the National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity.
  • We will fund initiatives for community groups and farmers to control introduced predator species, protect waterways and set aside land for habitat.

Reducing Waste

  • We will rigorously apply the provisions of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.
  • We will introduce mandatory product stewardship with an 85% plus recovery standard.
  • We will apply a comprehensive landfill levy shifting the cost from ratepayers to waste producers.

Sustainable Fisheries

  • We will ensure that fisheries are managed so that they are sustainable for sport and recreational fishers and are not competing with commercial fishing.
  • We will put cameras on commercial fishing vessels and expand our marine protected areas.
  • We will invest in our navy and air force to defend our Exclusive Economic Zone and protect our oceans, including the Ross Sea. This will also increase our disaster response capacity domestically and across the Pacific.

Animal Welfare

  • We will establish a role at Parliamentary level to substantially raise animal welfare standards and coordinate the relevant agencies to do so.
  • We will make micro-chipping of cats compulsory so that people don’t lose their pets and to help control un-owned cats.
  • We will fund scientific research into new predator species control methods, including gene editing technologies.

Climate Change

  • We will work to establish a bipartisan approach to dealing with Climate Change.
  • We support the approach of the Zero Carbon bill. We will establish a Climate Change Commission and follow their advice to reduce global emissions, including putting a fair price on carbon.
  • We will stop the use of coal.

 Reducing Emissions

  • We will work to double the amount of renewable electricity generated before 2050.
  • We will introduce variable congestion charges for private transport in urban areas.
  • We will work with farmers to make New Zealand the world-leader in sustainable farm management.
  • We will offset methane and nitrous oxide emissions through forestry.
  • We will incentivise low-emission forms of transport.

Planning

  • We will protect fertile and versatile soils and wetlands from development.
  • We will stop new housing development in flood-prone areas.
  • We will focus on better integrating transport and urban planning decisions so that transport serves living spaces and not the other way around.
  • We will work with expert groups to reform the Resource Management Act for a simpler set of enforceable rules.

Sustainable Economy

  • We will work to transition the economy to be more sustainable both financially and environmentally.
  • We will develop and promote the New Zealand brand, based on enterprise, innovation and technological expertise, through the country’s high-quality international networks.
  • We will make New Zealand a place where talent wants to live by making New Zealand a world leader in science and technology education and by accelerating the application of science to business innovation.
  • We will provide appropriate incentives to increase investment opportunities for new ventures and focus government support on high-productivity export industries.
  • We will tax ‘bads’ like pollution, waste and over-consumption to take the pressure off ‘goods’ like income, savings and profits.

Sustainable Communities

  • Our approach to social sustainability will be on the basis of problem identification and evidence-based solutions rather than an ideological approach.
  • We will advocate for the implementation of the recommendations of the 2018 Government Inquiry into mental health and addiction, and of the Glenn Inquiry into family violence.
  • We will increase support to foster carers and young adults leaving care.
  • We will advocate for the option of long-term, secure tenancies for renters.
  • We will develop a sustainable funding approach to support elder New Zealanders in their retirement.
  • Child Poverty:
  1. All children deserve the best possible start in life. The first five years of life are crucial and policy, especially as it relates to the provision of medical care, will be focused particularly on these years.
  2. We will increase community housing for families with an option of shared equity ownership.
  3. We will automatically link the Working for Families Tax Credit to the Consumer Price Index.
  4. We will replace the In-Work Tax Credit with the Family Tax Credit.
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Demolition of Buildings at 9 Saint Stephens Avenue and 1A Brighton Road, Parnell

The Very Reverend Anne Mills, Dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral at Parnell, has informed that Waitematā Local Board that the two wooden houses standing next to the Cathedral at 9 Saint Stephens Avenue and 1A Brighton Road will be demolished. Work at the site commences on 23 April 2019. Continue reading

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April 2019 Local Board Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-March to mid-April 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and, member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • I submitted in person, along with Local Board Chair Pippa Coom, to the Hearings Panel for the Ferry Terminal and Queens Wharf resource consent on behalf of the Local Board on 28 March. Further details below in the Heritage & Planning portfolio report
  • A project manager has been appointed for the installation of the bollards in Saint Patrick’s Square
  • The liquor licence renewal for Plush karaoke bar at 59 Upper Queen Street has been declined by a panel of commissioners
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’

Continue reading

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December 2018-March 2019 Local Board Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-November 2018 to mid-March 2019 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

 Executive Summary

  • I have worked with representatives of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Diocese of Auckland to have bollards re-installed in Saint Patrick’s Square to prevent vehicles driving around the side of the Cathedral. The plan was approved in October 2018 and funding voted in February 2019
  • I have been seeking the removal of the large concrete blocks obstructing the footpath outside 92 Williamson Avenue, Grey Lynn
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’

Continue reading

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