Wednesday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: Auckland's Fly-in Fly-out house buyers; The rise of the Alt-Labour movement; 15,000 sections ready to build on in Auckland?; Fab labs and a new Industrial Revolution; Dilbert

Wednesday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: Auckland's Fly-in Fly-out house buyers; The rise of the Alt-Labour movement; 15,000 sections ready to build on in Auckland?; Fab labs and a new Industrial Revolution; Dilbert

Here's my Top 10 links from around the Internet at 10 am in association with NZ Mint.

As always, we welcome your additions in the comments below or via email to

See all previous Top 10s here.

My must read today is #2 from Satyajit Das on the unsolved problems in Europe and the ugliness that has yet to play out.


1. Auckland's Fly-in Fly-out buyers - Alanah Eriksen at NZHerald reports on 'Fly-in Fly out' buyers of inner city apartments in Auckland.

Apparently they're buying them for their kids.

I heard about this a bit when selling our house in Epsom.

Lo and behold our buyer was a similar fly-in fly-out buyer. They plan to live in our house eventually and send their kids to Grammar, but are renting in the meantime.

Not that I'm complaining.

I'm personally lucky that our government has yet to take the same steps taken in Hong Kong and Australia to ban or tax non-residential buyers of this property.

These fly-in fly-out buyers are certainly boosting demand for property in certain parts of Auckland, helping to fuel inflation of more than 10%.

Here's the NZHerald:

Harcourts real estate agent Larissa Tsapko said she had shown apartments to about 30 groups of people in the past two months. Ninety per cent of them were parents looking for units for their children - more than she had seen in her four years selling apartments in central Auckland - and she had had more inquiries for later in the year.

Many were from China, Russia and the Middle East, she said. Waterloo St, Gore St, Parliament St and Eden Cres were popular areas.

Hayden Butler, who heads Bayleys' city apartment team, said he had hosted three separate groups of Asian parents this year.

2, Europe's real problems - Satyajit Das is a measured and sceptical observer of the problems in Europe. Here's his latest view. Read it to truly comprehend the depth of the malaise and how an awful lot of awfulness is yet to come.

The probable endgame of Europe’s debt crisis is already known – de facto mutualisation of European debt and greater integration. But the precise events leading up to it are unknown.

Europe’s problems are well documented. Many European nations have high and, in some cases, unsustainable levels of debt, compounded by a cluster of maturities and ratings pressures. Public finances are weak. European bank have either significant exposures to the weak property sector or sovereign debt. Euro-Zone bank claims on the public sector range from 13% to 38%.

Facilities include the bailout funds – the EFSF (European Financial Stability facility) which is to be replaced by the ESM (European Stability Mechanism). The ECB has the ELA (Emergency Liquidity Arrangement), LTRO (Long Term Refinancing Operations), the SMP (Securities Market Program) and its new OMT (Outright Monetary Transactions) facility. The EU has agreed the concept of a banking “union”. European bureaucrats seem afflicted by acronomania – the belief that a suitable sequence of letters can solve any problem. Unfortunately, the response is inadequate.

Austerity to reduce debt is self-defeating. Cuts in spending and increases in taxes lead to contracting economic activity, increasing the budget deficit and debt. Additional austerity merely exacerbates a vicious negative feedback loop as the economy becomes mired in a deep recession with rising unemployment.

While de facto integration is the likely outcome, a smooth transition is not guaranteed. Outflows of actual cash to beleaguered nations, the first claims on the German budget, significant rating downgrades for core Euro-Zone members or a rise in inflation and consumer prices may alter the dynamic quickly. If voters in Germany and other stronger states become aware of the reality of debt pooling and institutionalised structural wealth transfers, then the outcome might be different. Continued deterioration in economic activity requiring further bailouts as well as unsustainable unemployment and social breakdown may still trigger repudiation of debts, defaults or a breakdown of the Euro and the Euro-Zone.

3, So what replaces unions? - The response by workers to the last great shift in income share from workers' wages to capital's profits in the late 1800s to the early 1920s was in the  growth of the union movement (and communism by the way  but let's not talk too much about that...). That helped turn around that trend of the rich getting rich and the poor getting poorer.

The return of rising incomes for the 1% and falling incomes for the 99% in the last two decades has coincided with the decline of unions.

So what will replace unions as the realisation dawns on the 99% that something has to change?

The American Prospect reports on the growth of non-union labour groups in America, including one called the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC). They're often focused around class action law suits against employers and publicity campaigns to embarrass employers into paying better wages and offering better conditions, rather than strikes. It's called Alt-Labor.

The ROC is a labor group. But it’s not a union. It represents a new face of the U.S. labor movement—an often-ignored, little-understood array of groups organizing workers without the union label. As unions face declining membership these workers’ groups—like the mostly union-free job sectors they organize—are on the rise, particularly in New York. Because of their efforts, more restaurant workers in the city get paid sick days, domestic workers receive overtime pay, and taxi drivers will soon have health insurance.

Twenty years ago, when Rutgers labor professor Janice Fine first set out to count the nonunion groups that were organizing and mobilizing workers, she found just five in the entire country. Today, her tally stands at 214. These groups organize farmworkers and fashion models. They go by names like “workers’ centers” and “workers’ alliances.” Some are rooted in the immigrant-rights movement as much as the labor movement. Lacking the ability to engage in collective bargaining or enforce union contracts, these alternative labor groups rely on an overlapping set of other tactics to reform their industries. The ROC teaches workers their rights and also restaurant skills; advises and publicizes model employers; and helps organize protests like the ones at Capital Grille, making customers aware of what goes on behind the dining room. The ROC also lobbies state and local lawmakers for reforms and helps workers take legal action when all else fails.

4. So why aren't section prices falling? - It's great to see a debate about housing affordability in Auckland finally getting some real traction.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown is disputing the assertions from John Key and Bill English that there is a shortage of land in Auckland to build on. He says there's 15,000 sections ready to build on.

The trouble is they're too expensive. Why? Surely the market would find a price where the supply cleared? Or has the market failed here?

I welcome your thoughts. I see on TradeMe there are just 2,031 section listings for sale in Auckland at the moment. Only 378 of those are for less than NZ$200,000, which is what you need to build anything that's affordable.

What is it about the economics of land banking and property developing that is causing these sections to be just sitting there? Are they being drip-fed out?

Here's 3News on the story:

Auckland Mayor Len Brown disputes that a shortage of land is to blame for house prices, and says 15,000 sections are available to be built on straight away, in areas like Flat Bush, Riverhead, Takanini and Hobsonville.

"We've been saying that figure or there-about for the last 12 or 18 months, and what is critical to understand is that the reason that house prices are now starting to move in Auckland is the Auckland property market is starting to move (after the recession)," he says.

"It's a hot market ... people are building flat out and buying flat out."

5. A new industrial revolution? - Greg at DigitalTonto has a positive view of the new open-sourcing, outsourcing, 3D Printing, crowdfunding technologies, describing them as the beginnings of a new Industrial Revolution. Fab Labs are the new thing, it seems.

While the impact of computers and the Internet has been substantial, it has also been limited.  The vast majority of goods and services in our lives are still in the old economy of atoms.  While we might feel like we’re splurging when we buy a new iPhone, we spend far more on food, clothing, shelter and transportation.

However, as Chris Anderson explains in his new book, Makers, a vast array of devices, such as 3D printers, CNC routers, laser cutters, 3D scanners and other gear are transforming how products are made.  Much like the personal computer revolution drove the information economy, these are now becoming cheap enough for consumers to afford.

The maker movement is mirroring the PC revolution in other ways as well.  Just as people gathered in places like the Homebrew Computer Club in the 70’s, there are now dozens of fab labs scattered across the globe where hobbyists can meet and build prototypes.

6. Keep an eye on this - RTE reports the scandal at the world's oldest bank, Italy's famous Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank, is widening and causing all sorts of political grief ahead of elections on February 24-25. An amazing Italian election result could cause all sorts of financial ructions in Europe. Remember, comedian turned politician Beppe Grillo wants to exit the euro and favours Modern Monetary Theory style economic policy.

Italy's third-biggest lender, which needs state loans to stay afloat, last week revealed opaque derivatives trades, conducted between 2006 and 2009, that could cost it some €720m.

The scandal has turned the spotlight on Monte Paschi's political ties with the centre left and on possible oversight failings by the Bank of Italy, then led by current ECB chief Mario Draghi.

At the root of Monte Paschi's problems is the acquisition in 2007 of smaller rival Antonveneta for a massive €9 billion in cash, stretching its finances to the limit just months before the global financial crisis hit. Prosecutors are investigating why the bank paid such an inflated price for Antonveneta shortly after Spain's Santander had purchased it from ABN Amro for just €6.6 billion.

7. Useful for exporters to China - This McKinsey Quarterly piece on how the Chinese economy is shifting to a more of a focus on consumption than investment is useful for anyone planning longer term around sales in China. In theory, more consumption by people means more demand for milk powder rather than more demand for iron ore for steel for construction.

China’s economy is starting its historic shift to a more consumption- and service-driven model that should help sustain the country’s growth, albeit at a slower rate, over the next decade and beyond. As November’s 18th congress of the Chinese Communist Party showed, new government policies are helping to move the economy in this direction, even though investment—the historical motor of China’s growth—will still command the lion’s share of the economy in the near term.

These new policies will favor household income growth, improve the social safety net, and support the expansion of the service sector and private enterprises, especially small and midsize businesses. Two markers of a more economically developed society will be the higher productivity of its workers and higher productivity and greater efficiency on the part of government. These trends will create more and better-paid jobs and thus raise the share of the national income in the hands of consumers—the key determinant of China’s future economic profile.

8. Demolishing Demographia - Hey Hugh. You watching? Good. Here's Auckland Transport Blog having a go at the Demographia methodology and conclusions around Housing Affordability.

9. How inequality put a brake on US and UK growth - Here's the Wall St Journal weighing in on this major driver in the global economy right now.

One perspective economists take is the impact on aggregate demand. The rich save more than the relatively poor–there are limits to how many meals a billionaire can eat, how many haircuts he’s willing to sit for and how many suits he can wear. These savings have a depressing effect on total demand, which is why the economy is struggling to grow.

But didn’t the economy boom through most of the three decades leading up to the financial crisis, even as inequality worsened, or at least got no better? Yes it did. But offsetting the shortfall in aggregate demand created by underconsumption by the wealthy was a rise in borrowing by the rest to boost consumption above what they’d otherwise be able to afford, secured against steadily rising house prices.

When house prices stopped going up, the credit crunch hit and suddenly the 90% couldn’t afford to borrow to maintain spending and, indeed, had to start paying money back. The result was a sharp drop in aggregate demand.

Central banks did everything they could to halt and reverse this process. They drove real interest rates negative and pumped up asset prices against which people might be able to leverage up again.

Of course the top decile have the most assets and thus by boosting share, house and bond prices central banks have exacerbated inequality. But in the U.S., at least, the Fed has managed to put a brake on deleveraging and to get people borrowing again.

10. Totally Jon Stewart on the prospects for World War III with someone....anyone.

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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#1.  Fly in fly out.   Some questions about this one.  I think we should know.
a.    Are they really buying them for their kids?  Or is that just the standard cover story?
b.   Is the money coming as part of the flight of dodgy cash from China we have been reading about ?  Maybe other Places ?
c.    Is there a tax rort on the NZIRD here.? It's not just Google and Subway who do that.  There seems to be a lot of this in New Zealand residential property with overseas ownership.

How hard can introducing a non-resident stamp duty/tax be?  It's a win-win - if it doesn't dampen prices and/or demand - then we resident NZ taxpayers at least benefit from the overseas dollars flowing in.  In fact the government could 'ring fence' the extra tax collected and build the state housing needed for all the NZers displaced/made homeless by the 'market' for hot money pouring in from offshore. 
Oh and the smartest thing from a political perspective - none of those non-residents are voters - so politically neutral!

I agree Kate. Labour and the Greens will almost certainly look at rolling out a non-resident stamp duty or similar. They need to do a few things like this to drive the market down so that their home-building policies have a chance of working, so I expect a few announcements that will attempt to pressure the market.
The problem is though, that with a bubble that's been around for a decade now, the majority of people are tied up in it, so getting people to vote against their self interest is a tough ask.

good idea Kate...I'm afraid common sense seems to have left the buidling, the behive building, when it comes to housing. 

Kate this is the most logical suggestion I've ever seen on this blog. 
I roughly calculated $40mil revenue for Govt if they introduced a non-resident stamp duty.  There are so many things we could do with that money and so many more young NZers could buy a home due to the slightly better affordability that would result.
Bernard, time for one of your Sunday newspaper articles in support of a non-resident stamp duty?  There is simply no downside!! 

NO to taxes on the purchase. One time taxes are no real disincentive. 
YES to ongoing tax such as we already have in the FIF tax on a notional return at 5% annually. For non-voters that can be as high as you need/want to. I would suggest 10% as a start. There is very little chance of a voting backlash. If the ownership is through a company then a 25% minimum overseas ownership should apply.

BBIII - no to taxes on purchases - no disincentive. 
You're missing the point.  We don't need a disincentive, we need the revenue.  Would you prefer your income tax rate to nudge up a little to pay for schools and roads?
If it turns out to be a disincentive too foreign buyers whoo are non-resident the stamp duty would prove to be even more effective!!
A stamp duty is a great way to tax foreigners (who are actually taking advantage of our easy attitude to them) to pay for our roads.  Free roads, better equipped schools.  You saying that's not smart?

Exactly.  If - as the evidence seems to indicate - much of this international asset buying splurge is 'hot' money, and the holders of this dosh wish to go under the radar, they will pay anything needed to successfully launder it.  A tax on top of a grossly inflated asset price isn't going to make one iota difference to the 'market'.
Better we stood up and said - yep, we'll happily launder your money as long as it benefits our wider population. 
I had to smile at Bernard's comment that the fly-in Chinese purchasers of his place said they intend someday to live in it and send their kid to AG but will rent it out "in the meantime" ... and he believed it.  I mean - this from someone who likely came in on the no-visa-needed "launder your money here" deal the Government and its business cronies have set up with China Southern Airlines;
Time the taxpayers got the same kind of dividend that Sky City is getting!!!!!
And time Bernard admitted that maybe the new owner of his previous house is a copyright pirate, an exporter of Contact NT capsules, a bureaucrat taking backhanders or some other such racketeer-type low life..  welcome to the new Auckland neighbourhood, eh!

There is an analogy here. In the avian world there is a specie of bird that builds it's nest, and once its done and they've laid their eggs, another more dominant specie comes along, takes over, kicking the nest-builder out of the nest. I remember observing this on Mt Puketepapa. It was a contest between the starling and the thrush. What happens when the student population of Auckland Boys Grammar and Auckland Girls Grammar and Epsom Girls Grammar is predominantly fly-in, non-local.

#4 land prices
Two really obvious factors.
1 - most rates (land taxes) are based on the capital value of the property (YMMV - councils can set their own basis here).  As there's relatively little empty land in a city at the best of times, a CV rating base means that bare land is relatively untaxed - the holding costs are small.
Solution here is to identify the said development-ready sections and tax the bejasus outta them via a differential.  Has the dual benefit of lighting a fire under the land-bankers, and taxing away a fraction of the unearned and untaxed CG the land-bankers are sitting upon, even if unrealised.
In the unlikely event that the city uses a Land Value basis for rating, this would not apply quite so much.
2 - the CG (caused by the planners' squiggle on a map that says Yer Urban not Rural)  is unearned and untaxed.  See the Productivity Commish on the Weevils of MUL's for the background here.
So, the Big Kahuna type tax on capital held, would at least start to tax some of this CG away, assuming the basis was current market vaklue and not historic cost.
Same benefits as for #1:  socialise some fraction of the CG, and persuade land bankers to develop, quit, or use productively.

  • finding LG Councillors and Staff smart enough to recognise land in this category and in possession of sufficient vertebrae and cojones to see it through and make it stick.
  • the tax-capital-held stuff is political suicide:  who doesn't like CG especially unsullied by the grasping paws of IRD?

A differential rate for undeveloped land within the MUL is a great idea - and setting the differential at the level of the previous years percentage capital gain on the land value would be ideal to make the tax have the effect of a zero rate of return on the capital.  One would have to give it a 12 month period before coming into effect to give landholders the ability to either seek consent for their development proposals or to put the land on the market.  Effectively meaning the lead time to 'holding' before the tax kicks in is one year.

Your right in saying that higher rates on empty land would deter some land bankers.  Unfortunately it would also increase costs for developers which would inevitably be passed onto home buyers, further increasing house prices.  Many developers are forced to sit on bare land for years while council does its thing.   
As a general rule more taxes, of any sort, will make housing more unaffordable. 

What kind of 'thing' are you saying they are waiting for Council on?  If you mean they are waiting for a zoning change (e.g. bought industrially zoned land and are waiting/hoping for a change to residential use) - then that's a speculative matter and so no problem taxing the speculation to the level of the last years capital gain.
If you mean sitting on residentially zoned land for a residential building consent to come through - then there is likely a design problem holding up the proposal.  Again, the developer is able to alter the design to fit it within the existing rules.
If it's land zoned residential and developers are waiting on resource consent for subdivision - that's something the Nats are addressing (apparently) with respect to their proposed RMA amendments .. but again often delays in getting consents relates to the proposal falling outside of the existing plans rules - a delay which can be avoided by amending the proposal to fit within the rules.

Well lets see some proof on your opinions?  Otherwise to start with land bankers and developers like to maximise the amount they can get for a plot / house so artificially restrict what comes on the market in order to generate the max return. They can of course only do that when the supply is restricted, so the easy solution is for councils to buy agricultural land at agricultural prices and re-zone it residential, then release 10,000 plots at once....
"General rule" has no proof, pease provide some.

Len Brown is probably being a bit disingenuous - the figure he quotes is more likely to be numbers of sections consented rather than developed and ready for building.
Having said that the elephant in the room is exactly what you identify the huge incentive for developers to hold land but not develop and, so, artificially support the price of sections. It's funny that Hugh P and his ilk never identify this as a problem - hi ho.
Differential rates could be a legal problem as cities still have to accommodate rural land. It seems to me a higher rate on land that is consented for subdivision would be problematic as a legal challenge could simply point out that the owner is receiving nothing for the higher charge compared to their farmer neighbour.
However Councils being more ruthless on expiring resource consents would work now. In general applicants have about two years to complete a subdivision (and there is a very formal process to complete one). Councils can be slack about expiring the consents or, worse, charge a nominal fee to roll one over (keeping the RC alive effectively forever). It's one area where legislation would be useful requiring Councils to have a spine and even slapping an automatic moratorium on re-applying to subdivide the same land. I could also see annoying RC administration charges ("monitoring progress") rather than a differential rate gingering up the developers.

Others do (identigy the problem), such as myself, Hugh P of course never replies to that....but then he's a developer.  They also dont comment on developers doing conenants with things like forcing fancy roof shapes to ensure all the new houses maximise their value  for "you"
Absolute bo**ocks is all I can say.  There are simply too many rent seekers in the game and it isnt the councils as one of them.
NB Im fairly sure consents now have to be actioned inside 2 years?

Real practice on expiring resource consents will vary from council to council. Theoretically the consent to subdivide only lasts two years; in practice councils may let them run open-endedly or offer an opportunity to roll one over for a nominal fee. And, sure enough, Auckland Councill will extend your RC for $750 (which is likely to be a tidy little earner for them).
This allows developers to do all the time consuming work of planning and seeking consent at their leisure and, once the consent is granted, to wait until they judge market timing to be perfect to maximise their own profit and only then do they leap into action. Despite all the hand-wringing the prep work (surveyors, development planning, and consent application,) while time consuming, are not expensive in the big picture. The real money only starts flowing when contractors are making streets and laying pipes.

LEN BROWN IS FIBBING he must show where these 15,000 sections are , someone should challenge him on this stupid remark

go for it.

See below for the question to ask. Hoping will take it on

CNC routers et al, are fantastic. What some folk don't seem to realise, is that they still require material to process, and energy to drive. There might be another question too - along with bricks-and-mortar retailing, will those who 'make' whatever it was, be replaced.
Demographia has always been esy to demolish. One half of the 'data' is incomes, and there is zero guarantee that they can be returned to what was a very temporary blip, planetarily.
It's equally easy to demolish the Finance Minister, stating that the goal is 'sustainable economic growth'.
We wait, we wait. Newton may have to be revisited - surely the penny should have dropped by now?

#5 - brake here is the knowledge base needed to actually use this stuff.  It's a cognitive top-5-% deal, which rules out 95% of 'consumers'.
Interesting factoid:  a major use of home-brew 3-D printing in the States is printing receivers etc for AR-15' cuts (or goes bang) both ways.

Well war is always a good time for R&D budgets and progressing technology. I think a lot of Americans think they already are at war, with their own government. A friend was telling me back in November of a new 7.62 round that has been developed for the semi auto AR-15. Bonus is that it permits subsonic performance with large bullets and thus with a suppressor would be silent except for the cycling of the action.

Nah - it'll become user-friendly the way my old ZX88 became my laptop.
We were using x/y plotters to make our printed circuits as far back as '81. I built an x/y drive for a makita router in the late 80's, bit heath robinson but did the job. Only had a 2 position up/down, but could have been graduated. Not hard.
I see what you mean though. Hey, we can all play that game

Yeah right, lets see a printed barrel cope with 60,000psi.
Besides which a sten gun or one of these,
Is pretty easy to make using say a $1k lathe off trademe.
or maybe just go to guncity and buy a shedfull of sks's
$8k for 20 guns.
Or AK47's are very simple, mostly a steel plate bent into a U....
Ammo well getting a 3d printer to make ammo or even the powder could be fun.

#1 - Well, well. There you go. Bernard reveals the source of the funds that bought his Epsom house.

Speaking to someone over the hols that just sold up in Pakuranga. The considered selling only to kiwis but in the end took the Chinese money.

Echo, echo, echo
Bernard Hickey, David Chaston - listen up. Land. Availability. Lot's of discussion. This is what's not discussed. If you were watching over the past month you would have seen the controversy about the hoi-poloi trying to spend a day at the beach at Long Bay and how you had to camp out the night before to get a space, and get into the place.
For many, many years Auckland has had a deperate shortage of recreational space, playing fields, sports fields, open areas.
In February 2011, here on I brought this to the attention of David Chaston with the following
DC 03 Feb 11, 9:40pm
Close the doors to NZ and build some more houses?
All new homes built should have no GST (not a rebuild or demolish and rebuild but a new home on a new plot of land)
Planning applications should be free on new homes  (not a rebuild or demolish and rebuild but a new home on a new plot of land)
Build around good public transport corridors.
Have green area's between suburbs to create a village feel.
Capital gains tax on secondary homes, investment properties, baches....
This current and future government needs to get real on house prices.
iconoclast 03 Feb 11, 10:01pm
Close the doors to NZ - check
Build some more houses - why? - enough to ease current shortage
Get a load of this - haha haha haha
Have green area's between suburbs to create a village feel.
Green recreational spaces in Auckland are merely things the planners cannabalise

Do you know where Blandford Park is?
Do you know where Carlaw Park is?
Do you know where Newmarket Park is?
Do you know how much larger Ellerslie Race course was?
Do you know how much larger Akarana Golf course was?
An exam question for David Chaston
Do you know the answers without checking?

DC 03 Feb 11, 10:51pm
Do you know where Blandford Park is? No
Do you know where Carlaw Park is? Yes
Do you know where Newmarket Park is? Yes, never been, but heard of it.
Do you know how much larger Ellerslie Race course was? No
Do you know how much larger Akarana Golf course was? No

NOW LOOK AT THIS - January 2013
Recreational Space - Auckland Golf Links - SOLD to Fletcher Building
Why isn't the Auckland Supercity Council using its "contributions sinking fund reserve" to acquire this "green recreational space" to preserve it???????
See article Feb 2011 - same old echo
Migration policy linked to inflated housing prices, Government spending and low savings

Actually iconoclast, DC is not me.
I would have given different answers to the ones commenter DC gave back in 2011.
All the same, you are right identifying the issue, and I will do some checking. Can't promise anything of course.
The parks/open space question is interesting. In neighborhoods I know, there are plenty of parks and walkways. Some are well used, but some never it seems. I reckon they are only used by Akl Council staff maintaining them. Their main purpose seems to be to bring out the 'community' (activists) when alternate uses are suggested. Some would make good housing locations - maybe Len has his eye on them ...

David Chaston - a couple of addenda
For a few years, during the 1980's, I was chairman of an inner-north-shore-suburb football club with 1000 members. We had 3 fields. In the winter, the midgets started at 8:00 am on saturday, then the juniors, then the seniors, followed on sundays by the girls and the ladies. By 4:00 pm sunday the fields were a sea of mud. That's if and when the council opened the fields. The council closed them at least half the season. There weren't enough fields to shake a stick at. There weren't enough fields to provide some redundancy, so they could be rested. Listening to the cancellations on saturday mornings was dispiriting. That was then. Now, 30 years later, are there any more fields available? No. Has the problem improved? Yet the population of the inner auckland area has doubled.
Then. Check out the article from a couple of months ago regarding a primary school in Point Chevalier, where the school roll has doubled, the school playing areas have been commandeered and cannabalised for class rooms and the teachers now have to take the pupils down to the local tennis courts for some phys-ed. The school doesnt have any available space any more.
Same Problem. Both of them.

Hi David C,
Any fields, parks, empty spaces not being use the Council should turn into "food forests". People can then have a constant supply of food.
These food forests seem to be getting more popular.

I don't think youhave read the Auckland Transport blog's critique of the demographia methodology, and its reliance on just one measure.  Otherwise you wouldn't have just reciculated an Stydney Morning Herald article that provides a defence that is so stronlgy rebuffed in the Transport blog.
For example in your Sydney Morning Herald article you say: The critics never bother to mention that the methodology, based on the median multiple, is a measure recommended by the United Nations and World Bank Urban Indicators Programs and employed by Harvard University's Joint Centre for Housing - to name just three reputable institutions.
If you had read the Auckland Transport blog's article you would know that it does look at this claim and it produces evidence that you are mis-representing and over-stating the UN and World Bank recommendation on your methodology.  
Importnaly it concludes that ypu need to use severla measures in conjunction, not just one median measures (which then leads to your simplistic magic bullet solution).  
Your comment on using several measures jointly please.

Re #4. If Len has been exagerating the amount of sections available to build on, National and the other politicians should call him out hard.
It is local body election year. If Len is lying, and contributing to the housing crisis willfully, as National suggests, lets all be clear what's he's been up to.

Actually anyone could find out if Len is exaggerating - DC would you like to take this on?
The easy number for Len to quote is the number of sections proposed to be created by live subdivision resource consents - i.e. not yet issued a Certificate of Completion. This number comes from lala land in practical terms as virtually none can be built on today but they might become available sometime in the next couple of years.
The actual number of sections available to build on today is the number sections created by subdivision RC consents that have been completed minus the number of sections sold. It is possible but way harder for a Council to calculate that number.
Anyone game to ask Len how he calculates the number?

You want land to be released by landbank speculators  ? Easy ..... Slap a Rates Surcharge on all undeveloped sections two years after subdivision.  

Easier a council of Govn just buys agricultural land at agricultural prices and re-zones say 20,000 plots.
Builders get lots of choice at say $5k a plot, "land bankers" go no where, in fact if the land value collapses they go bankrupt pretty quickly, I wont shed a single tear.
regards may not shed a tear but you will lose..count on it.
Letting land be stolen in that manner opens the gate to all manner of theft by could be next.
And a good deal of agricultural land is owned by the banks...and is grossly over valued..!
Govt would be taking it by an Act of Theft and paying the valuation....bloated valuation!

Wolly there is already compulsory purchasing, however I didnt say steal I said pay the market rate on agrilcultural land at teh argiculural rate.
and no i wont lose, the racketeers will, i'd sing frankly.

No, no, no, you missunderstand Wolly. He's deeply offended, you didn't try to haggle at all

But did you read the comments, ? This one was great.

January 30, 2013 at 10:08 am · Reply
I act (as a lawyer) for a number of property developers and I am constantly underwhelmed by their business acumen. We are always sold the idea by commercial interests that “the market” will lead to innovation and progress. Yet I dont see any of that with property developers. Most have never left NZ and have no idea what dense living means. The only residential property business model they understand is greenfield developments with McMansions. Anything else is too difficult as it would actually involve coming up with a new way of doing things, which is beyond them.
I would certainly agree that business owners deserve rewards for risking capital (though in my experience property developers risk it, go bankrupt and then run the same business through family/friends leaving out of pocket tradesmen in their wake) but very seldom do I see genuine innovation through the market except maybe in the IT sector. Residential property development is usually a cookie cutter business plan. I wouldnt say the same about commercial property as it tends to respond much more quickly to customer needs.
Because them and their golf/fishing mates cant imagine ever living in an apartment or terraced house, they cant imagine that anyone else would. And public transport? Only the chronically poor and mentally deficient would ever step foot on a train or bus rather than drive around in an Audi Q4 (registered in the wife’s name of course because he is bankrupt).

totally agree.

"NASA is holding back information about a discovery of possible ancient life on Mars."
Who owns Mars?

The guys in the US already selling plots of it.

McDonalds are probably already there , awaiting the first hungry astronauts to lob into their Mars bars ......

Gees Gummy and Steven on the same page for once. You have to admit that is a cracking one from Steven.
Wasn't it good old Auckland that had the first failure of a McDonalds franchise anywhere in the world? The one in the food hall for the America's Cup defense in 2000?

We might all need McDonalds in our old age to satisfy the munchies given the outcome of this study.  Grandma have a Doobie.

Just something so apt about ordering a moon burger.....certainly taste like someone mooned it before you got it.
 But yes ,Scarfo ,although one is probably lamenting it while the other celebrates. 
 Happy New Year BTW

Horizon Regional Council to prosecute if this goes ahead?
the council will enact emergency powers and discharge the sewage straight out to sea.
Rancid fat floating and festering on the top of the ponds has been blamed for the problem but the council doesn’t know where it came from.  I can imagine the comments on this site if a farmer used that excuse.

Read more:



Prosecution, of course not - urban councils are sacrosant when it comes to deliberate pollution. Now if it was a farmer with a pongy effluent pond with some lifestylers complaining, they would be  pinged for it as soon as the compliance officer could confirm it.  C'mon folks time for a level playing field. 

CO - where did the fat come from?

I did see Kevin McLeod in his Man Made House tv programme go in to the underground sewer in London (I think it was London) and turn the fat he collected there to bio fuel to fuel his lantern.  :-)
He was also using his own sewage to treat via a bio-digester to turn in to a power source.  Genuine curiosity question - why don't councils do this - cost?

Genuine answer - yes.
When I was on a County Council, we built two (village-sized) sewerage schemes which did aerobic ponds then distribution in forest areas. That is a full-use of the nutrient, and a crop off it to boot.
We tried to get the City folk to go the same way, when they took over. Fat :) chance. Extending the pipeline further out to sea, was their 'approach'. This is a city with a serious forest asset. Granted, there would have been pumping involved.
The problem is EROEI. McLeod was 'proving a point', but wasn't counting the travel-energy. His on-site digester made more sense, although I suspect the travel-energy just got transferred to the imported food. Our margin on this planet is not great - and it's just the stored sunlight of ages which is cushioning us at present. Guaranteed to be a temporary arrangement.
But our local Council has a zero-waste target, and there are some pretty committed folk in there. Their second attempt to extract methane from the landfill is going well, and you've got to give credit where credit's due.

Very good selection Bernard.
I have mentioned this in the past and recently, on these pages, my prediction was that this century would be the "science century"
U.S. Spies See Superhumans, Instant Cities by 2030
3-D printed organs. Brain chips providing superhuman abilities. Megacities, built from scratch. The U.S. intelligence community is taking a look at the world of 2030. And it is very, very sci-fi.
Syria Rebels Use PlayStation Controller To Maneuver Homemade Tank 'Sham II'
crafted from a car chassis, ressembles a large, rusting metal box more than an official tank, but is outfitted with a turret-mounted 7.62 mm machine gun and five external cameras. Using a PlayStation controller and an LCD screen that shows the external camera footage, a driver can maneuver the tank while another crew member, seated next to the driver, can mobilize the machine gun with a separate controller

Maybe greenfield developments in Auckland could learn from some in Alberta, Canada.  My son left in 2000 to live there in a small place called Okotoks 40 minutes commute (on fantastic motorway system) to Calgary where he works.  Okotoks was just being developed in 2000 and had a population of around 12,000; today it is the largest "town" in Alberta with a population as of 2011 census of 24,500.  The sections on which the houses are develolped are not what the typical New Zealander would like (my son included); they are all cookie cutter homes, but its worked for them; houses typically look like this - and if you peek through the windows you will see how close they are to each other.  They all look the same, most have the same layout inside and are on tiny sections despite it being in the middle of Alberta with vast amounts of land all around.  But its given a whole generation of people the chance to own their own homes. 

Von - no it hasn't.
It's given them a chance to be hocked to a bank for 30 years.
That's not 'owning'.
And in that 30 years, they go through this:
No chance of that not happening. Are those houses passive solar? Oriented to the South? Capable of adapting to sustainability?  Bet they aren't. They'll be like the tract sprawl around Chch - obsolete befre their time, because the twits who actioned them thought (and that's being kind) that the parameters they were currently experiencing, would last forever. Ask yourself what they'd be like to live in with rationed/expensive/unobtainable fuel? And add a lower income.....
Those mortgages either won't get paid off - defaults, repossession, wealth-transfer upwards as per the sub-prime, or there has to be rampant inflation (you get to pay it off, but it then takes a month to earn a meal.). One or the other.

You are right PDK hadn't thought along those lines but what I was probably getting at was that there may be a way to provide housing out of the cities if land is available i.e. Cookie Cutter houses but in a more sustainable way.  Something I didn't say about Okotoks was that those houses are all squashed up together and there are street after street of them because the council will not allow land to be used because of infrastructure problems. 
Oh and if you are in your "own"  home, we have all been hocked up to the Bank at some stage of our lives.  Unless you have a rich daddy or have won lotto. 
Not sure when the rationed/expensive/unobtainable fuel in Alberta will come about - they supply most of the USA with their fuel at the present time (fracking).  And most of the people working in those areas are the same ones that own very expensive houses in Alberta.  I've seen them and they are revolting. 

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