Bridge proponent on Unitary Plan panel

DUBBY HENRY
Last updated 10:16 23/12/2013

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A lawyer who pushed for a bridge from Karaka to Weymouth has been appointed to Auckland Council's Unitary Plan hearings panel.

The Government has picked barrister Peter Fuller as one of eight independent commissioners who will hear submissions and make recommendations on the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

Mr Fuller represented the Karaka Collective, a group of landowners who earlier this year pushed for the city's boundaries to extend further west into Karaka with thousands of new homes to be built there.

The developers and Mr Fuller lobbied for a bridge between Weymouth and Karaka to cope with the resulting traffic, to the horror of residents on both sides of the Manukau.

Objections from residents and local politicians meant the bridge was eventually scrubbed from draft Unitary Plan maps.

Mr Fuller declined to comment on his appointment to the hearings panel.

Past presentations and reports show he is strongly in favour of opening up new land in Auckland.

The short supply of land in Auckland is "the primary contributing factor to housing affordability problems", according to his submission to the recent parliamentary select committee on housing affordability.

Mr Fuller said then that lack of land was a key reason for the growing divide between rich and poor.

In the same submission he suggested that while careful intensification could be done, high rises risked becoming slums and were relatively expensive to build compared to normal houses.

He also questioned whether apartment living was either sustainable or enjoyable.

The lawyer has qualifications in environmental management and horticultural science and has appeared before council hearings, the Environment Court and the High Court.

The Unitary Plan hearings panel was selected by the Government after consultation with Auckland Council and the Independent Maori Statutory Board.

It will be chaired by resource management barrister David Kirkpatrick.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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