Councillors have voted to go with the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan and remove protection for sites of value to Māori.
The Auckland Council today began its final decision-making on the recommendations of the Independent Hearings Panel on the city's development blueprint.
The panel recommended removing provisions for places mana whenua valued, but council staff argued protection of more than 2000 such places should be reinstated.
Today, councillors voted to ignore that six votes to 12 and go with the panel's recommendation.
The founder of lobby group Democracy Action, Lee Short, said the council had previously protected insignificant sites including an old rubbish dump, and sites would now need to be properly verified.
"We welcome preserving our heritage, but you just can't go along saying 'this one here, this one there' without providing proof of why it is a site of value.
"And I think the hearings panel and the council have made a wise decision today. Go away and show us the proof and then we'll incorporate it into a site of significance or value."
Earlier today, debate on Auckland's Unitary Plan begun with a surprise decision that members of the city's Independent Māori Statutory Board would be excluded from deliberations.