Show you care about character and heritage and write to your Councillor NOW

Character Coalition

Character Counts


There are a couple of important votes coming up at Auckland Council. On February 12th the political working party meets. We understand they will be considering the draft Unitary Plan. Then on February 25th the Governing Body meets to vote that the draft be accepted and go out for public consultation on March 15th.

This is an opportunity for Coalition members to lobby the Councillors one last time before the draft is made public. Please write to, email or telephone your local Councillor and ask them to only vote for the draft if it protects character and heritage. Use the following Coalition 'bottom lines' to make your point.

Following the model of the Brisbane Plan as a starting point and in order to protect character and heritage in Auckland the following provisions must be included in the Unitary Plan:

  • Interim blanket demolition controls on pre 1940’s buildings – where the case for demolition has to be proven, rather than at present where the case for retention must be made.
  • All demolitions of pre-1940’s buildings require consent and must be publicly notified.
  • Any replacement building must satisfy a design code, requiring sympathetic design, scale and materials to be used.
  • Local Plans to recognise differing characteristics and issues of each area, to ensure private and public sector development proposals are consistent with local aspirations. Regarding development proposals, Local Plans can change and raise conditions of compliance, public notification requirements, and other standards.
  • Adequate council resources to be allocated to the identification and assessment of heritage and character of an area, as the local Area Plans are completed, and BEFORE intensification rules are applied to an area.
  • Adequate budgets and resources applied within council to build up an experienced and knowledgable heritage department.
  • Continuing engagement with interested community groups on how to best preserve our heritage.
We must not miss this opportunity so I am urging you to write to your Councillor now.




The Council showed support for character and heritage this morning  in an article in the Herald about earthquake strengthening. The Council said that "Giving building owners 10 years to strengthen earthquake-prone buildings would amount to an "execution order" for many heritage and character buildings" It also disagrees that strengthening quake-prone buildings should take precedence over other concerns, including heritage and planning regulations, saying heritage preservation needs to be balanced with safety considerations and cost implications. These are strong statements of support for character and heritage and the Council is to be congratulated for taking this stand.

Brian Rudman  also wrote this on the same topic "If we follow the recommendations of the royal commission, as translated by a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) consultation paper, we risk losing more of our built heritage than from anything Mother Nature could throw at us". His article also says "the loss of societal cultural heritage that, while incredibly difficult to quantify in financial terms, is a vital aspect of our society ...".

Both articles are well worth reading. Geoff Houtman has written a letter in response which should be in tomorrow's paper.
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