Smith wants RMA reform to address 'excessive' section prices and unaffordable housing after planning review

Smith wants RMA reform to address 'excessive' section prices and unaffordable housing after planning review

Auckland Metropolitan Urban Limit and confused, conflicting planning processes under fire in Govt report.

Poor land planning policies that led to excessive section prices need to be reformed in a Resource Management Act revamp, Environment Minister Nick Smith says.

"Poor quality decisions on land planning are making homes too expensive," Smith said.

"Plans are taking so long to develop they are outdated before they become operative," he said.

The government today released a discussion document on reforming New Zealand's urban and infrastructure planning systems, including the RMA. It is attached on our site here.

Smith called for submissions from local councils, planners and the public on the discussion document, which is available in full at the Ministry for the Environment here

Smith said there was a mismatch between the purpose of an RMA that barely mentioned urban issues and the reality of the vast bulk of consents relating to subdivision, infrastructure and building limits.

"The complex system of multiple policy statements and plans is cumbersome and inefficient," Smith said.

"It takes so many years to consult and resolve appeals that plans are out of date by the time they take effect. There has been a lack of coordination between central and local government over getting the right infrastructure in place at the right time," he said.

"Poor quality decisions over land planning have contributed to excessive section prices and adversely affected housing affordability. Reform is overdue."

The key proposals in the discussion document were stronger recognition in the Resource Management Act of urban design and infrastructure, reducing the number of plans, streamlining the process for plan development, better integrating local and national decision making and improving plan implementation, Smith said.

"The 51 proposals involve significant amendments to the Resource Management, Land Transport Management and Public Works Act and represents the most substantial changes for 20 years in urban planning."

Many of the ideas for reforms came from the government-appointed Urban and Infrastructure Technical Advisory Groups, Smith said.

Metropolitan Urban Limits

Metropolitan urban limits are subject to the review, and focussed on in a separate technical working paper.

The paper says MULs are blunt instruments in New Zealand compared to how they are used in other countries.

"They tend to be applied rigidly and do not consider the social and economic benefits and costs of their use. For example, the objective of the Auckland MUL is simply to protect rural and coastal environments," it says in the paper.

"MULs are used effectively as a tool elsewhere in the world (eg, Melbourne and Portland) because they are one part of a broad suite of tools, including ongoing monitoring of land supply, and are kept under review. This is central to their effective use."

The use of MULs, rightly or wrongly, has been accredited with contributing to housing unaffordability by limiting land supply and thereby raising land prices. Although there is evidence of a strong zoning boundary effect on land prices, there are a number of other factors which influence locational demand and therefore land prices:

• a market that favours new, large floor area, large lot detached homes which increase return on investment in land, and the lack of alternatives to these

• incentives associated with property investment which are not available with other forms of investment

• population growth, immigration policies and workforce composition.

• the quality and availability of transportation options

• the locations of business areas and the workforce skills required by those businesses

• the willingness of owners of large land holdings, both on the urban fringe and in existing urban centres, to develop their land for residential or business purposes

• the responsiveness of the rental market to housing supply (including apartments) and house price increases

• surrounding amenity levels, including school zones, and views

• time taken to journey to work or access services

• possible future increases in energy prices

• priorities for infrastructure provision and costs of delivering and maintaining infrastructure.

Any discussion on MULs needs to consider these other factors; in particular the effect on infrastructure provision where there is no MUL. There are many unanswered questions that need future analysis by officials and discussion with other parties, particularly infrastructure providers.

For instance, to manage and avoid rate increases, councils need to think about where best to provide for development. Considerations need to include the cost of infrastructure provisions.

Various locations will have different associated costs and will require a critical mass of development to make them affordable. Smaller developments may be able to provide some of their own infrastructure. Although, as WaterCare Services has noted, this can result in a proliferation of small plants which a public service provider often has to take over. This can also push up the cost to the rate payer through lack of economy of scale and poor environmental performance.

The use of MULs in New Zealand is a blunt instrument when compared to international uses of MUL. They tend to be applied rigidly and do not consider the social and economic benefits and costs of their use. For example, the objective of the Auckland MUL is simply to protect rural and coastal environments.

MULs are used effectively as a tool elsewhere in the world (eg, Melbourne and Portland) because they are one part of a broad suite of tools, including ongoing monitoring of land supply, and are kept under review. This is central to their effective use.

Read Smith's executive summary of the discussion document below:

An important component of the Government’s economic agenda is ensuring New Zealand cities are internationally competitive. This means cities that enable their citizens to enjoy a great lifestyle and affordable housing; cities that are efficient for business, encourage investment and jobs; cities that are attractive for visitors to support New Zealand’s increasingly important tourism industry. It is particularly important our cities compare well with Australia where people and capital can move so freely.

The Resource Management Act is not working well in the built environment to achieve this goal. There is a mismatch between the purpose of the Act that barely mentions urban issues and the reality of the vast bulk of consents relating to subdivision, infrastructure and building limits. The complex system of multiple policy statements and plans is cumbersome and inefficient. It takes so many years to consult and resolve appeals that plans are out of date by the time they take effect. There has been a lack of coordination between central and local government over getting the right infrastructure in place at the right time. Poor quality decisions over land planning have contributed to excessive section prices and adversely affected housing affordability. Reform is overdue.

In January, the Government appointed two Technical Advisory Groups to review policy around urban design and infrastructure. They concluded that we need to strengthen the recognition of urban issues under the Resource Management Act, consolidate the number of plans that are required and better coordinate central and local government decision making around infrastructure. They also made 85 recommendations on improvements to deliver better urban environments and the infrastructure we need. Officials have refined these proposals into this discussion paper to enable public input prior to Government decisions.

These reforms need to be considered within the context of the Government’s broader Bluegreen agenda of seeking to better integrate economic and environment policy. In 2009 we passed the Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Act and this year embarked on a second phase of reform of which these urban design and infrastructure issues are part. A common theme in these changes is providing stronger central government leadership, reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and replacing lengthy litigation with more collaborative processes. We are about making the Resource Management Act work better for New Zealand.

The future shape, style and success of our cities is at stake. We look forward to your input.

(Update 1 includes comments on MULs.)

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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"input"....what the ......we've been inputing for years!......how does this announcement fit with that from Heatley...what value now his sections?....bugger!

I am very thankful that Heatley's sections announcement was not "the solution" that Hugh P has been lobbying for for the last 5 years. This looks like the real thing, or at least yet another going through the motions to get at the real thing. I hope to read the whole discussion document before committing myself, but I hope our gummint isn't thinking that they've got years of spare time up their sleeve in which to sort this out. Kind of holding talks about shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted; or perhaps at best holding talks about pursuing the horse; when we really need to be within a cooee of catching the horse NOW.

Just another thought, Wolly. Remember the beat-up about John Key's TranzRail shares? How much WORSE a conflict of interest, is ministers owning investment properties?

"Just another thought, Wolly. Remember the beat-up about John Key's TranzRail shares? How much WORSE a conflict of interest, is ministers owning investment properties?"

Very good point and said before AND ignored and brushed under the carpet BEFORE also by media and ministers

PhilBest - I suspect Hugh will be disappointed by the announcement.

It is far from categorical in denouncing MULs.

All that it is hinting at is MULs should be applied less rigidly.

As expected Arthur Grime's involvement has been watered down, and the wishes of the centrist planners in the working group has come to the fore. 

Hugh are you out there? Views?

Actually I think Smith is being used as the fool by the rest of Cabinet...."let him float the suggestion we might look at possibly having some sort of change...you know the sort of spin to put on it....keep the peasants happy stuff"

That's it then isn't it....an important policy decision would not come from Smith. !

"Got to keep the bubble intact until we have flogged off the property to somebody else..... Dam shame that Bolly has gone and stuck a spanner in the bank credit creation rort...we were rather counting on that little game saving our bacon"

So who wants to be a sucker for a lemon and buy a turkey from Phil?....any takers for these plump birds.....somebody surely.....how about using them as gang headquarters Phil....?....guess you are just going to have to make the loans free.....oh alright then, pay some idiots to move on in. Free houses built for two on toilet tissue sized sections that will also be free. Bet the neighbours will be oh so bloody pleased about this.

Perhaps the first step could be to get all the non built-on sites, that currently exist, into service? Get that Land Tax on undeveloped land going, as the entré to a full blown regime, and 'gently' add supply. I know, "Not in the first term..."

Frankly , If this comes to pass , I will reagrd this as one of the best initiatives of the National Government . It will be a seismic shift to allow supply to meet demand at a price uninfluenced  by 'administered costs' by local authorities adding all sorts of levies and charges . There is no reason why a section in a middle class suburb in Auckland should be as expensive as London where incomes are as much as 100% higher .

Well done to Nick Smith . I will vote for National if they actually start to make this happen

Actually Boatman -

"There is no reason why a section in a middle class suburb in Auckland should be as expensive as London where incomes are as much as 100% higher"...

There is a reason and the reason is lack of Credit Controls... The party was fun... but the hangover is not.

You (Nick Smith and his facist Bully Boy Mates) need to make the connect between cause and effect... but then again, maybe Messrs Smith and associates do.... It's just the Sheeple that don't...Yet.

"Zeig Hiel!" ... or is that pronounced "Big Smile!"... Mr Key?  

Are you talking about London in the UK or is there a different London I don't know about?

I think a 1/4 acre section in a good area in London would cost at least 10 times more than it would in Auckland!! A stuido leasehold apartment in London would probably cost more than the average Auckland 3 bed house! 

There is a very good reason a section in a middle class suburb in Auckland should be as expensive as London - it's not MUL's it's density.  Within metres of the central CBD all land is zoned things like Res 6a, Res1 or Res5 with densities respectively 1 unit per 375sqm, 1 unit per site, 1 unit per 500sqm.  If London had such low densities so close to the CBD house prices there would also be proportionally way higher.

Two houses where there would otherwise be 1 means 1/2 the land cost per house.  In addition there are car parking requirements, yard requirements, site coverage requirements, private open space requirements that cause massive wastage of land.  Imagine if every dwelling in London 1.5km from the center had to have an 80sqm garden, every single dwelling in London had to have 2x complying carparks? 

the RMA is supposed to protect the environment - but it is just used to protect the status quo (freestanding car-dependant suburban sprawl), which is  not the same thing.

Exactly right, Auckland is a perfect example of why coucil regulation on subdivision and development density prevents the market from doing what it wants, resulting in an far greater demand for central city living due to a lack of dwellings in that area. This drives dwelling prices up to disproportionatly high levels, resulting in too much of the country's wealth being poured into property which means less money for other things such as investment. And the mess you get out of that is the never ending transport problems Auckland suffers from due to so many people living so far from the city centre, a city centre thats basically dead - ie Christchurch and Auckland - same reason as above, a lack of capital for business investment as everyone has poured all their money into property - the whole country can relate to this, and a shrinking population because young couples spend all their money on trying to buy a house and can't afford to raise two kids.

Of course no New Zealander wants to live on the 10th floor of some central city high rise, but have a look around Wellington with way more efficient land use in areas such as Mt Victoria. Higher density doesn't have to mean inferior housing that nobody wants to live in.

Bang on - we need to get rid of this heritage stuff and realise that to advance as a city, we might need to knock down a few old buildings and build some new ones.  Sure keep some old buildings or even streets, but not entire suburbs.  I think they should zone all residential withing 10km of the city as high density unless there is a very good reason not to.

Upon further reading and navigating through all the bureaucratic waffly garbage, its not as bad as I thought. 

For example they are proposing a National Policy Statement that would require all Councils to provide an adequate supply of land to meet future urban growth demands ie. at least a 20 year period, and include policies requiring consideration of housing affordability in Council decision making and District Plans. That would be a major step forward because NIMBY type concerns about "residential character" typically have generated overly restrictive controls. With these changes Councils would have to weigh up benefits / costs of rules, so that with housing affordability considerations the rules might be more liberal than they otherwise might have been when "character" and "environmental" concerns were the sole consideration

Anyone with interest in housing costs should submit in support of these proposals

Don't die wondering........ 

Local government is the problem here. They have purposely held up development and restricted land use and sale to enhance their own pockets via increased rates based on increase house/land prices.  They will never allow a rates decrease via property devaluation based on excess land availability.

Nick Smith will not allow this also, particularly in his own area of Nelson where prices are close to Queenstowns while local incomes are some  of the lowest in the country

Justice

You are right, but there is a major flaw with that Council approach (which is essentially based on the myth of prices rising forever)

strangulate land supply and you grow a bubble...all bubbles eventually pop, property values decline, then rates drop, and Councils are in the poop

It is a flawed and unsustainable philosophy 

Free up land, yes values mightn't go up so much (and therefore rates won't go up as much) , but you have more ratepayers and therefore revenue

Yeah, but councils can simply change the criteria for rates evaluation OR just come up with white elephant ideas to justify a 'forever'  increase. Infact many already are. They bleed one idea dry and then change the rules to bleed it again and again. Watch this next 3 years closely.

So Nick Smith wants to implement "reform" after a significant percentage of the population has pinned their investment hopes on market imperfections and supply constraints. He wants to do this time when NZers are more tapped out on debt than they have ever been in history. He thinks he can do this by having council apparatchiks and foot soldiers sacrifice their cushy existence for the sake of "freeing up the land" with the goal of "affordability."

I feel a Tui billboard coming on.  

Quick note to everyone. Anyone who compares anyone or any government to the Nazis will have their comment deleted. By me. With extreme prejudice. It's just over the top, pointless and just a tad (ie a lot) disrespectful to those who suffered under Nazi rule.

cheers

Bernard

That's right folks. Please limit your analogies to Stalinist Russia and/or Maoist China. Thank you.

With respect to your editorial greatness....

I consider it MORE disrespectful to those who suffered under Nazi Rule, to turn a blind to the subjugation of Free Hold Property Rights.

I never figured you for a Book Burner Bernard.

Just in case you did not get time for the response to 90at9 Bernard.

You obviously did not follow the New Normal and any number of civil debates that are had here in your domain.

A small objection to the requirement to back  up argument with links  to other sources /authorities..............................I don't want to......how bout that..!

Be a bit careful with that sort of directive as it leads to an invasion into free thought and is counter-productive..(I would have thought) to the responses you are trying to foster here in order to achieve your objectives.........................I have no link to support that statement.

On the abuse I would agree but you need to exercise discretion where humour / accidental offence is caused.......as an example it is difficult to judge a line such as

                                                  God I hate F$%king Nazis.

believe it or not a lot of people will be offended by that...!

Meebee the F$%king Nazis are buying all the sections , to corner the market , and force up the prices .............. That dude in America wots printing the trillions of $ ......... Where'd he learn that little trick , huh ?

This RMA blather is just so much smoke from Smith. I doubt the peasants will be fooled into believing National has the slightest worry that property is seriously unaffordable, indeed there are sound arguments to say they are fully supportive of the property ponzi scheme.

What makes land expensive?  Time.  The time wasted trying to get consents and the needless shagging around imposed by councils and their staff - many of whom are anti-development!

I can per personal witness to the witless stupidity is that is the MUL in Auckland - when it was put in place they literally got a big map of the city and drew a big red line around it - no reason to many of the decisions made regarding the MUL.

What local Govt has been trying to do and completely failing at for the past 20 years has been trying to increase urban density (more apartments etc).  But they have completely failed to realise that most New Zealanders don't want to live that way.  So we have had all this social engineering being shoved down our throats by idiotic local govt policy which has resulted in land being restricted.

And as we all know - when demand is greater than supply the price goes up - but the funny thing is that developers have lost a lot of this gain to the costs of holding land while resource consent process gets worked through... and the cost of actually getting the consents!

So the cost of building the actual house hasn't risen a whole lot faster than inflation over time - you can get a good 'shit box' built for around $1,300 per square metre.  So a 100 sqm house will cost $130k... but the purchase cost is likely to be close to $500k...  why?  Cost of the land!

Motu and work by Arthur Grimes has a lot to say about the stupidity of this policy by local councils and the effects on house prices in major urban areas, including Auckland..  

If you have an interest in this policy area then some of their work is well worth a read...

Nick Smith can't move fast enough on solving this problem.

 

HtG - Spot on.

Am I the only one that can't work out how councils / transit / kiwirail could possibly pay for the infrastructure to keep allowing Auckland to grow outwards? Everyone seems to want to keep on tacking suburb after suburb to the edge of Auckland, but who is going to pay for new / wider motorways, new train routes, etc.  Not the developer!! 

I think the council should say 'sure, develop a new subdivision in the middle of nowhere - providing you pay to add two lanes onto the motorway at a cost of 2 billion dollars and provide a train line at a cost of 1 billion' - then see how many developers are keen.

I am all for Auckland growing upwards, but not outwards!!
 

Jimbo, here is what is wrong, wrong, wrong, with your argument; which is the same argument all the planners make all the time.

They have forced the price of all land up by a factor of about 10, to the point that every first home buyer for the last few years has paid at least $150,000 too much for the land their home is sitting on. I estimate the total "bubble value" paid for by NZ-ers over the last few years, at around $30 billion. I do NOT include the people cashing out bubble "equity" in that, but I do include some over-payment by people "moving up".

How much infrastructure might $30 billion have paid for?

The irony is that if all these people had been sent a bill for infrastructure to the value of $30 billion (roughly 20,000 people being sent a bill for an average of $150,000 each) there would have been an electoral revolt, no? But they have affectively paid this money anyway, for NOTHING, and there is hardly a whimper in the mainstream media.

And I could write screeds (and have done - don't get me started) about the flow-on effects in the economy, of this much diversion of investment into "NOTHING", not to mention all the cashed out equity based on bubble values and the debt hangover that we now face.

20,000 people paying $150,000 only raises 3 billion, not 30 billion. 

Oooops, sorry. 200,000 people paying an average of $150,000 too much.

I take your point, but I don't think adding suburbs the the edge of Auckland will make much difference to overall land prices. Sure the added suburbs may be cheap, but the 2 hr commute to the city etc will mean that people will still rather pay extra (even a lot extra) to live in the central suburbs. So it will increase the supply of usable land, but not necessarily the supply of desirable land. 

I guess I am saying that it would make a difference to land prices, but not necessarily as big a difference as people think (in Auckland at least). Sure in smaller cities where there are no commuter problems it would make a big difference. What we should be doing is putting more houses / apartments on the desirable land instead of keeping our 1/4 acre sections.

Firstly, it is the fault of planners obsessed with monocentric urban models, if the only jobs on offer in the region, are in the CBD. They aren't, anyway, despite the planners best efforts to make it so.

Secondly, the fringe land is the "denominator" of the values of all land in the metro. Of course land in the CBD or closer to it, is going to be more expensive by a given "factor". But the higher the STARTING DENOMINATOR, the higher the prices EVERYWHERE. These higher prices actually lead to LESS "redevelopment" to higher densities and more efficient uses of conveniently located land.

Households desperately seeking the "least unaffordable" option, are driving higher-density infill and cross leasing type development and redevelopment CLOSER to the FRINGES. Many of these people might have been driving redevelopment in inner areas if the land was still remotely affordable.

Draw yourself 2 charts. Draw a "land price" slope and a "build price" line which will be closer to horizontal, slope it the OTHER WAY to account for depreciation. (i.e. older homes closer to the center will be on more expensive land but the dwelling itself will be lower in value). Add the two lines to produce another  "total property" price CURVE.

Now play with the "land price" slope. See what happens to the "property price" curve when you push the land value line up.

Try adding further lines for townhouses and apartments. See what happens to the price of inner area "homes" of all kinds when the land is driven up in value tenfold.

Guess what? There is far more likelihood that people have a CHOICE that they can afford, of buying a home in a convenient location, if you leave land prices ALONE (no urban limits, or 20 years supply). The urban fringe can fade into the countryside with fewer and fewer people sitting on bigger and bigger sections, and so what? There will be comparatively few such people if the choices are affordable at the more convenient locations. This is exactly what "natural" urban growth looks like.

I would wager that the Auckland model, with relentless high density out to an arbitrarily imposed limit, results in higher average distances travelled, let alone the actual travel times and fuel consumed and emissions emitted consequent on higher congestion.

This is what needs to be done for all council urban planners - a quick, remedial urban economics lesson. Why your plans are not going to work and why there will be unintended consequences that are hugely damaging to the economy and to people.

 

I said at 6.33 PM that I would comment after reading the whole discussion document. I have now done so.

I found 2 good bits in it.

On page 21, 3a), it recommends 20 years of supply of land within urban growth boundaries.

On page 23, box 5, it calls for planning to be "evidence based".

Maybe the comment on page 23 that "spatial planning is not prescriptive regulation" is laudable too. The "options to improve land assembly" on page 31/32 are worth the effort.

The rest of it leaves me cold. I can't see any evidence that this working group was "stacked with lassez-faire ideologues", quite the contrary. As Hugh Pavletich has said, there was no reason that the original RMA couldn't have been interpreted and utilised and bedded in with efficient outcomes. But we could go through all these motions now and get exactly the same result - the bureaucrats just carry on with what they wanted to do all along, just like "Yes Minister".

The 2 good bits I refer to above could make all the difference to the nation's economy if IMPOSED by the government with the necessary conviction. Most of the rest of it seems to me to involve peripheral gains in efficiency - but oddly enough history seems to prove that NO bureaucratic reshuffle ever results in GAINS in efficiency.

PhilBest,

Excellent insights. Many thanks Phil.

cheers

Bernard

By the way, "20 years supply of land" is exactly what I have regarded for a long time as self-evident, if the land bidding wars and land banking and speculation and high risk gaming with its winners and losers, are to be forestalled. It is simply that the costs of financing a land bank is OBVIOUSLY too high if the supply is 20 years worth. Somewhere down around 10 years supply, it becomes worth trying to build oligopolies.

Apart from the "20 years supply of land", I am unsure just how much "urban economics" was to the fore in the working group's analyses. One thing I wish for, is for all council urban planers to attend a compulsory course in remedial urban economics.

For example, on page 31/32 "Options to improve land assembly", it needs to be pointed out forcibly that nothing is as much of an obstacle to "land assembly" for the purpose of any efficient uses at all, let alone for public utilities and the like; than inflated land values. One of the most absurd consequences of inflated land values, is that the cost of purchasing land for a road or for rails or whatever, is pushed up.

So besides what I said above about home buyers paying a sum total of billions for "NOTHING", that could have been spent on infrastructure or productive investments; even local governments and central government might be paying out billions too much for land in some cases, billions that could have been spent on bulldozers and concrete.

"Yes, Minister" was based on fact. Fact.

Let's see the RE mob spin this one.........

 http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/4225605/Hastings-district-house-values-down

 

"Most house values in the Hastings district have fallen by 5 to 10 per cent in the past three years.

The latest three-year revaluation, published by Quotable Value yesterday, showed that the average house value in the large district was $293,268 – a drop of 7.9 per cent since 2007, when house prices were near their peak.

Some coastal properties, and parts of Flaxmere, dropped in value by more than 10 per cent. Land values for residential properties fell by about the same percentage as capital values.

"The Hastings movements are roughly in line with national trends," Quotable Value Napier manager Bevan Pickett said.

 

As new valuations roll out across the country in the next year it should help accelerate the rate of house price declines.    Even though these valuations can be way off for individual houses on average they're pretty accurate.

And also from a simple point of view as a Harcourts agent recently told me:

"Buyers all want to pay less than CV, and sellers all want more than CV"

Seems to me this rule is even more important that technical measures like price to income ratio, price to rent ratios etc which many people will ignore or not understand.

So if the average valuation drops by 7.9 percent across the country I guess that average sale prices will drop by a similar amount within 6-12 months.

If the economy turns more pear shaped due to exchange rate being too high, low immigration, PI's deleveraging / forced to sell etc then of course prices could drop a lot more.

And for Jaffas we have a special on Google NZ news...yes you are sitting on top of an active volcanic hotspot and an erruption is 350 years overdue!...what would a spate of earthquakes under Auckland do for land prices I wonder...and how high will the insurance premiums rise.

What particularly disappoints me about the recommendations, is that they do not go anywhere near far enough. NZ's 4 million people must have the most layers of government and assorted sticky-beaks of any given 4 million people in the world. We are trying to run "provinces" and "regions" and "districts" and so on, as if we were a first world European country where EACH REGION had 4 million people in it.

I see no reason why we can't have as many as a couple of hundred local councils, (with good highly local representation) and above that, central government in Wellington runs everything just as if NZ was a decent size city with 4 million people in it.

NZ's choice of models for "planning" should be Dallas-Fort Worth versus Los Angeles; or Dallas-Forth Worth versus Hamburg or Birmingham (or the former Leningrad); our choice does not even come down to  "Texas versus California" - let alone "USA versus Germany" (or the former USSR). We are a flea that thinks it is an elephant.

Re: Jimbo Jones' comment at 11.50am

In addition to Philbest's comments, there is a further fundamental flaw in your argunment with all due respect.

And it is a common misconception.

Less than 20% of the Auckland population work in the CBD! The Auckland workforce is actually highly decentralised.

So sure, if there is a new suburb on the edge of the city some of the residents may face a long commute to the CBD (2 hours is an exaggeration - more likely 1 hour max). But  a significant % are likely to work in centres somewhere between where they live and the CBD, or closer, or work from home.   

PhilBest / Hugh

There is some rather scary "big brotherish" proposals in the document.

For example, in the interests of urban redevelopment, it is recommended that Councils be given the power to compulsorily acquire land. So...say the Council wants to facilitate a big new apartment development but think the scheme would be more complete with a bit more land, or an access from an alternative road, they could use this power to acquire say 10 residential properties.

They describe the tool as one to be used as a matter of "last resort"....

Do we need more legislation that gives Govt even more power to compulsorily acquire MORE land in the name of the Public Interest?????  

Hugh - you might recall me saying months ago that I didn't have much hope for this review. I suspect Arthur Grimes must have been gagged 

there is some light in the gloom...

The 20 year supply would be a useful initiative, as would be the requirement for all councils  to have to consider the impacts on housing affordability of any rules and policy in their Plans (which could by default mean that if they consider MULs they must consider also the housing affordability implications of their use)

I know someone who went to Nick Smith's presentation last night, apparently the room was full of self congratulatory, ego-maniacal bureaucrats    

"....... know someone who went to Nick Smith's presentation last night, apparently the room was full of self congratulatory, ego-maniacal bureaucrats........"

Like I was saying, "Yes, Minister", was based on fact. The room was full of Sir Humphreys congratulating each other on how they had thwarted, or set things up to thwart, their minister's "courageous" idea.