Too much building in flood zones over past decade


A former Auckland councillor and National’s Upper Harbour candidate says Auckland Council has been too permissive with consents, allowing too many developers to sub-divide and build in flood prone areas.

“Last decade some Special Housing Areas were built in pretty marginal places, but it seems to have got worse since the 2016 Auckland Unitary Plan and the latest residential building boom,” says Cameron Brewer.

“We were all promised the Unitary Plan was more about going up than out, but in the past few years it has been mostly ‘greenfields’ development on the outskirts of Auckland, and some of it in totally unsuitable locations.

“We got rid of the Auckland Regional Council in 2010 because many thought they were too litigious and a drag on development. Much of their work and warnings, however, are now being borne out.

“In 2009 the regional council published some amazing fine-tooth mapping of the entire region identifying rapid flood hazard areas. Alarmingly in the intervening years, some well identified risk areas have been built on and in this latest event many sadly endured flash flooding.

“In the rush to get into the housing market, many Aucklanders have had little choice but to buy or rent properties in flood plains and rapid flood hazard areas. Developers have also headed to very problematic flood basins, with too many getting their way.”

“With the heat coming of the residential market and building boom, now’s the time for Auckland Council to take stock. We can’t just hide behind ‘buyer beware’ because many buyers and tenants will take the risk just to secure a house.

“Auckland Council now has to accept that many sites around Auckland are just not suitable to future development, with all the maps, facts and anecdotes there to back them up.”

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“My family took in a family on Friday night whose property access was totally blocked due to flooding. The relatively new residential area in the North West of Auckland is built largely in a flood plain and identified rapid flood hazard area. Alarmingly, more residential development for that street is now planned in an even lower lying area,” he says.


  1. Nothing learned then, from the sad fate of all those nice old east Christchurch homes built on alluvial plain, and ruined by post-earthquake liquification. People deserve better than this.

  2. “But, but, but, think of the money to be made.”

    There is no corruption in New Zealand,
    There are no cows on our farm,
    We just help out our mates,
    And it never does any harm…

  3. Also leaving forestry slash lying around during flood events is a disaster waiting to happen, as occurred on Waikanae beach in Gisborne. Get MBIE to commission a large would chipper or biochar maker to convert the slash to gardening products when the trees get felled. Then they won’t even have to pay to have it removed, because gardeners will come and remove it for free.


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