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Govt will lean on Akld over growth plan

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/07/2016

The government will lean on Auckland Council to adopt a long-term growth plan even if the council doesn't like it, Finance Minister Bill English says.

On Friday, as part of the Unitary Plan process, an independent panel is expected to give Auckland Council its recommendations on whether Auckland should grow up or out.

The plan will determine what can be built and where, trying to provide for rural activities and protect the marine environment.

"If they turn it down, then we would certainly be having discussions with them about the need to take up the plan, not turn it down," Mr English told TVNZ's Q+A programme on Sunday.

He said the government had not considered appointing commissioners, as it did when it was unhappy with water management - it sacked 14 Environment Canterbury councillors in 2010.

"We have considered - or would consider - whether there's some kind of persuasive or legislative process to ensure that if the plan is sound, that the council adopts it."

The council has 20 working days to consider the panel's recommendations and must make a decision by August 19, although it can ask for an extension of another 20 days.

House prices in Auckland have skyrocketed in recent years, making it tough for first-home buyers and prompting concerns about the economic effect of a price crash.

The government has blamed a lack of supply for Auckland's property boom.

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