ACT's Brash slams Auckland's plan to replace Metropolitan Urban Limit with Rural Urban Boundary as locking out young and poor from housing for 30 years

ACT's Brash slams Auckland's plan to replace Metropolitan Urban Limit with Rural Urban Boundary as locking out young and poor from housing for 30 years

Auckland's Metropolitan Urban Limit

ACT Party Leader Don Brash has labelled the Auckland Council’s draft plan to change its existing Metropolitan Urban Limit (MUL) into a tighter Rural Urban Boundary (RUB) as "ridiculous and discriminatory".

Meanwhile Environment Minister Nick Smith said the government was concerned about the council's "ambitious" plan for 75% of future development in Auckland over the next 30 years to occur within the boundary, as that was "very high" compared to Australian cities. Smith said the government was in talks with the council over the relationship between urban limits and section prices, and was worried the council's move would further drive up section prices in Auckland.

Brash said the move would lock the young and the poor out of housing in Auckland for the next 30 years.

“The Auckland Council is effectively ensuring that unless people are wealthy, the Kiwi dream of owning their own home will always be out of reach. This will be a massive blow to a generation of Aucklanders trying to get ahead," Brash said.

"They are the very people we are desperately trying to keep from abandoning New Zealand and this is just one more strong incentive we're giving them to leave,” Brash said.

He said the new boundaries would ban urban development outside the rural-urban line and see 75 percent of new housing over the next 30 years built within existing built-up areas.

"This could have a devastating effect on housing affordability," he said.

Brash pointed to research by Motu economist Arthur Grimes showing the existing limit has already made land immediately inside the MUL between eight and 13 times more expensive than land immediately outside the completely arbitrary line. See's November 2009 report on the research.

“It defies belief that instead of rectifying some seriously poor public policy, the Auckland Council is planning to make the situation worse."

Brash said the Resource Management Act was another nation-wide obstacle to housing affordability and house prices had doubled relative to incomes since the introduction of the RMA in 1991.

"This staggering increase has seen home ownership decline in every census since 1986.  A major priority for ACT in the next Government will be to make housing more affordable for all New Zealanders by eliminating arbitrary restraints on the availability of land for residential development."

Govt concerned

Environment Minister Nick Smith said the government was concerned that Metropolitan Urban Limits in New Zealand cities had forced section prices up over the last decade. There was an important question to be asked on the relationship between urban limits and section prices, Smith told media in Parliament on his way to Question Time.

“The government’s having a pretty constructive dialogue with the Auckland council and their plans around the future of that city. The government is concerned that the draft plan will result in house prices in Auckland becoming too expensive for average New Zealanders," Smith said.

The engagement with the council was "very constructive," as they worked towards and evidence-based solution, Smith said.

"I’m quite sure that we can come to a sensible resolution that gets the right sort of future plan for Auckland.”

The programme in the Auckland plan of having 75% of Auckland’s growth confined to the existing urban limits was "very ambitious," Smith said..

"It is very high in comparison, for instance, to Australian cities. We worry that is going to drive up section prices, and make homes too expensive for Aucklanders," he said.

“But we’re also very pleased to have a constructive dialogue with the City of Auckland about how that can be resolved and make sure that those urban limits are set on the basis of good evidence."

It would be wrong to characterise the two parties’ views as one group only wanting urban growth in green-fields, versus all in intensified housing, Smith said.

“It’s about what the right balance is. As the Auckland council works through that process, we’ll be expressing our view and providing data and information to ensure those decisions are made on an informed basis,” he said.

The government-appointed Productivity Commission is currently investigating housing affordability in New Zealand, which included looking at the effects of MULs. See an overview of the Commission's investigation into housing affordability on our website here.

See the Reserve Bank's submission to the Commission's investigation here, where the RBNZ considers the easing of urban limits.

See another take on the Auckland Council's plan here on, titled Auckland embraces unaffordable housing.

(Updates with comments from Nick Smith, links)

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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there are many areas that I disagree with Brash and ACT on, but he is totally correct here

Bernard , good on you for reporting on this topic .

I have never supported Act , but this is one of my hobby horses, and  I will vote for Act on this issue alone.

Between vested interests ,  Resource Managment Act and the Rorting of the system in fees and charges by Auckland Council , we in Auckland have the most expensive real estate in the English speaking world on a purchasing power parity basis.

There is no shortage of land in Auckland , but the system is designed to ensure there is specultaive activity such as Land Banking , and a plethora of otherwise undesirable activities by speculators .

It also affects Council rates , I have a big section of 6500 m2 in Auckland and my rates are a burden becasue of extreme land valuations .

I dont want to subdivide simply  because I am not interested in fighting with Authority to get this done, and spend  $120,000 ( mostly in coucil charges ) to subdivide   

Frankly , its bulls#!t , and its gone on long enough . 

The whole system  is broken and needs fixing .

Or...perhaps it's just a plan to try and drive low-paying jobs in Auckland elsewhere....? ;)

Like China.

And well paid jobs to Australia.

How come no body here refers to the problem of taking prime agricultural land, to be lost forever, with the inevitable urban sprawl if the regulations are relaxed? And for the population size, Auckland is a well sprawled city already. As for Don Brash, he's an embarassment, and the way he treats friends and colleagues, I'd hate to be an enemy!

You do make a good point, look to the ancient Roman Vitruvius for good advice on how to site a town. A simple problem we face nation wide is non sustainable housing. The first thing that should considered is where to locate a settlement in the topography that can best take advantage of passive solar for space heating.

Auckland is just all wrong, so I reckon take to it with a bulldozer and start again:-P

But I will always support less (no) intereference from bureaucrats.

As part of a research project on urbanisation, an estimate of the extent of land in urban uses in England was made. The estimate for 1991 is 10.6 per cent. The estimate is derived by subtracting estimates of the area of open spaces in urban areas from the extent of urban areas and adding estimates of the area of land in urban uses outside urban areas, for example small settlements and isolated buildings, roads and railways.

Looking at the geography of the U.K

The ten tallest mountains in the UK are all found in Scotland. The highest peaks in each part of the UK are:


As we know the middle of our North Island is the most dangerous caldera in the world. When it blew its top 1800 years ago the Romans and Chinese recorded the readening skies and it erupts on average every 900 years.

The South Island is on a plate boundary with a large area taken up by the  southern alps. It rains like hell on the west and on the east you have extensive wandering river systems.

Many would argue (and they do) that England (at least) is overcrowded, which is why they emigrate to New Zealand. Yet still they cry out for more migrants to enter the U.K.

I question the relevance of this type of comparison especially because un urbanised land (today) is expected to come with first class infrastructure provided by the taxpayer.

Also we aren't just talking about making space for the poor and the young we are making space for large chunks of people from other parts of the world.

a 21% increase in population between 1994 and 2004 doesn't seem like chicken feed to me?

Off what base?

And what was the % of total land coverage before and after?

As a nobody , I have often railed against the ubiquitous 10 acre ( 4 ha. ) blocks , which dot the Waimakirriri landscape . Most folk only run a pony or two , the land is effectively unproductive . But the thickos in local council refuse to allow subdivisions below 10 acre lots . And yet , alotta people just want a house in a  big section , 2000 m. sq. or so , not the whole 40 000 m. sq.

Unfortunately Gummy because you are full of shit, it has to go somewhere:)

Waste water is the problem and drip feeding your doo doos into anything less results in ground water contamination, particularly in a nice well draining river bed.

But otherwise I agree with your sentiments.

What if people on those sections recycled waste water and used composting toilets?

The trouble is all wastewater can have pathogens not just the black water, afterall we all wash our hands and take showers. What happens when Gummy's incontinence means he has to wash his soiled undies? :-P So composting toilets are not really the answer, as they only reduce the waster water volume by around 30%.

Recycling does reduce the burden, but at some point you have more than can be used and it has to be put into a disposal field. A good system, including composting toilet, could probably reduce volume from 170l per person per day down to 80 or so. Forget having a bath though. 

There are some that are managing it, but it isn't mainstream. All these things are fine in the summer, but it is winter where the evapouration rates are too low.

It is lunacy to strangle urban economies to "sustain" rural economies, in a nation with massive surpluses of primary produce for export.

Prof. Paul Callaghan has been pointing out for months if not years, that if NZ had 120 manufacturing exporters as good as its current best 40 manufacturing exporters, that would move us from near the bottom of the OECD income rank, to near the top.

Agricultural jobs and tourism jobs pay well BELOW our CURRENT average income level, so more of those will just drag us down, not raise us up.

And rigid planning systems and inflated urban land prices DO hinder the development of successful urban-based industry whichever way you look at it. The McKinsey Institute Report said this about the British Economy in 1998, that it was 40% less productive than the US economy, BECAUSE of Britain's "Town and Country Planning Act", AND that that was a reason that NOTHING like "Silicon Valley" had EVER happened in Britain, and NEVER WOULD.

Now there has been numerous other academic papers and reports confirming this, and every OECD Report is ringing alarm bells about the effects on a nation's productivity, if its urban land prices are inflated - including its report on NZ recently.

A bit of context: why is Auckland growing so fast and predicted to grow? You talk about "urban economy" being stifled, yet Owen McShane has reffered a study which shows the large flow on effect based on building for migrants. To what degree is the urban economy stimulated by immigration and when you subtract the need to constantly expand or respond with density and the need for infrastructure, if the effect is negative then we should look at limiting immigration? Previously migrants came to work at things you could identify, I'm not sure now however. It seems many have made their money elsewhere.

Akl is NOT a "LOW density" city compared to first world cities with similar population levels. It is actually among the HIGHER density cities. THAT is where its problems with congestion and air pollution come from, not from "sprawl".

There is a lot of BS out there about densities of cities worldwide. The common error made by most analyses, is using political boundaries (like municipal boundaries) instead of measuring the actual land area built on. Hence, some analyses state LA to be LOW density, when the idiots doing the analysis have used a municipal boundary that includes 3 times as much land as the city actually occupies, the rest being mountains and farmland. LA is actually the highest density city in the USA, and like Akl, THIS is the reason for its congestion and its air pollution.

INRIX Data on traffic congestion:

It is necessary to find the link to the Excel Spreadsheet half way down the French language web page.

WHO data on air pollution:

Download the spreadsheet via the link at the bottom of the page.

Auckland ranks 115 'th here , with 2000 people / km sq .

Denser than Australian cities of similar population to Auckland  ;  Adelaide ( 134 'th , 1350 people/km sq. ) and denser  than Perth ( 146 'th , 1200 people/km sq. )

i lived in Seoul a few years back GBH, and our city had a pop.density of about 11,000/sqkm.


It was surprisingly liveable. Our "village" had 20 high rises from 8-18 floors, underground carparks, playgrounds for young and old, pathways for walking and cycling, and was all landscaped. It was surprisingly liveable. There was a cbd with a few hundred shops and a subway stop that was surrounded by 10-15 of these villages. Not everybody had cars, and of those who did, few drove them every day. Since living there I have been of the opinion that this would be a better type of development for auckland city.

Yes , and I've had many visits to Singapore , plus to Tokyo and Hong Kong . All very densely populated cities , yet , a helluva lot of fun .

... and from my experience in low density Christchurch , there is one stand-out factor that differentiates those 3 cities from Chch ...... the private car .

On any given week-day Chch was parked solid in a 1.5 km radius from Cathedral Square . Jam packed by the humble private passenger motor-vehicle .

The Asian cities all have superb public transport systems , underground trains , cheap buses and honest taxis .... and nary a privately owned car to be seen , except for a handful of corporate vehicles .

Your right there Gummy "parked solid"... it gets to be an eye sore. It's like that in little Queenstown also.

I did say "first world cities". Of course Akl is 115th on a list that includes cities like Lagos and Calcutta.

Yes , but if you scan the list you can compare the densities of several USA cities , and several Australian ones , to Auckland . And the comparison with Perth and with Adelaide seems pertinent .

What is the weighted density of Auckland?  

According to the " city mayors " website it is 2000 people per square kilometre . Exactly the same as New York City , the big apple .


.. why does the edit function tell me my 2 hours are up , when it's only 19 minutes since I began trying to edit , and correct my link .... one missing wee " . " .... shag !

I have updated with comments from Environment Minister Nick Smith in Parliament buidlings this arvo.

Busy afternoon.



How much of this is due to NZ's inability to think beyond 100km/h in terms of city-city solutions.

There is no reason, in the long-term why Hamilton can't become a commuter satellite to Auckland. At 200km/h average, you could commute in ~40 minutes and in relative comfort, whilst working on ones laptop. I am of course talking about some sort of high speed transport option.

Probably same situation for the Christchurch and the canterbury plains, although looking further out.

".......I am of course talking about some sort of high speed transport option....."

Bring on the Autobahns and the fast cars...............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That highly efficient German economy is a good model to follow, surely?

We got the MMP voting system off them , what else could we borrow from the Germans , to screw ourselves up !

Go the moo loos.....ahhh goooo ............Auckland.............

Owen McShane has been fighting this stuff for years, including in the NZ “National Business Review”.
In the 16 Sept issue of the NBR, Dr Roger Blakeley, “Chief Planning Officer” of Auckland Council, had a “response” published.
I have seldom seem such a load of hubristic tripe since the fall of Communism.
Blakely claims that “boosting economic growth” is “central” to Auckland’s grand plan.

“……The draft plan has set bold targets: it aims to lift GDP growth from 2-3% a year over the past decade to more than 5% for the next 30 years. That will lift Auckland 20 places in 20 years, from its current position of 69th on the OECD table of cities for GDP per capita….”

Yeah, and USSR President Kruschev said in 1955, “we are going to bury capitalism”.
What is that famous definition of insanity – doing the same thing and expecting different results this time? Did ANY CREDIBLE economist vet the Auckland Plan’s hubristic, utopian claims for economic growth? Where is the real life example that proves that urban growth containment, rather than fringe growth and low, stable urban land prices, is compatible with sustained high economic growth? Where are the studies of correlation?

Blakely and colleagues could have asked the academics at the “Spatial Economics Research Centre” at the London School of Economics, who have several decades of consequences of urban growth constraints on the UK economy, as their data to analyse. In one paper, they liken the effect to a 4% tax on incomes. Sounds pretty pro-GDP growth, huh?

Dr Roger Blakeley, grand planner, writing in the NBR, goes on:

“……The required transformation will need structural change in Auckland’s economy, from being import-led to export-driven, and growth of ‘new economy’ sectors. It will require long-term sustainable growth in our internationally competitive sectors…….It will also require significant improvements in our labour and capital productivity…..”

Urban growth constraints are inimical to ALL these stated aims. Again, the Spatial Economics experts at the LSE could tell Auckland this; or Prof Alan Evans of the University of Reading, or the Global McKinsey Institute, or the OECD’s economic report-writing team, or Dr William Fruth of Policom Corporation.

Urban growth constraints have been said more than once, by the above authors, to be “the reason that Silicon Valley could NEVER happen in Britain”. Stringent planning and inflated urban land prices reduce productivity in both labour and capital. They have an anti-competitive effect. They reduce business start-ups and reduce participation in agglomeration efficiencies.

Blakeley goes on to extol what the Plans for a Rail network will do for Auckland:

“Reducing travel times”

….compared to what? If lower travel times are economically desirable – and they are – that is a justification for ROADS, not rails….! This is reason number one why roads have supplanted rails as the primary transport mode since about 1920.

“….It will help increase the public transport mode share into the city centre for the morning peak from 47% to 69% by 2040…..”

Blakeley does not admit just how essential expanded BUS services are to this target, if indeed the target is even practicable under conditions where international economic competitiveness DEPENDS on low, stable urban land prices and increased, not decreased flexibility of travel patterns.

“….It will reduce congestion on roads and free up movements for freight and motorists….”. 

Impossible, if the planners own “induced traffic” argument is remotely true. How come increased road capacity “induces” traffic and yet mode shift does not, leaving the roads less congested? How can an INFERIOR mode, in travel times and convenience and “reach”, sustain mode shift in the face of its own stated success – “falling road congestion”?

Blakeley goes on:

“…..there will be an extra 1 million people living in Auckland by 2040, requiring an extra 400,000 dwellings. Of these, 300,000 can be accomodated within the 2010 Metropolitan Urban Limit through intensification….”

At what PRICE? TVNZ already ran a segment on “Close Up” entitled “Shoebox Living and What You Get For Your Rent”. Oh, GREAT, Auckland’s young households in the future are going to pay through the nose to have 100 square feet of space per household member, in a high rise building.

“….The release of greenfields lands will be staged to meet market demand. It will be supported by policies to ensure that there is always five years “ready to go” land…..and a further 15 years capacity in the planning pipeline….”

Yes, and experience with a new UGB in cities in the past, has shown that somewhere between when “supply” falls from 20 years worth to 15 years worth, prices start to inflate. This is simply because many owners of the "20 years worth of land" actually will not sell what they own, lowering the total truly available to some much lower amount. Also, developments take years, and developers usually like to have their next project lined up while completing their current one, which usually means securing a land bank. This is not monopoly behavior, it is just commercial common sense. But when it becomes clear that there is artificial scarcity thanks to an UGB, speculative land banking DOES occur and a classic "bubble" results - not just in the "developable" land, but in the entire existing built area as well. This is not, or should not be, rocket science.

“….The Council will be pro-active to ensure adequate supply…..It will significantly up-zone land in development areas to allow greater densities. It will enable intensification through the unitary plan and the area spatial plans…..”

Will it forcibly acquire the land at a low price and “set aside” NIMBY objections, to ensure that the resulting developments might actually be “AFFORDABLE”?
Watch the storm of opposition if any council actually suggested ideas like this, or land taxes, that would actually DELIVER more compact urban form AND “affordability”. The stink of corruption is plain – the support there is for these “plans” rests on the fat capital gains that will be created for a well placed minority. This is not “property rights”, this is the creation of a new, non-pre-existing wealth transfer by corrupt officials, and as such deserves no constitutional protection from the removal of this “gain”.

Lastly, the hubristic Chief Planner Blakeley finishes with a homily about McShane’s preferred cities “not being in the top 10 internationally most livable cities”, whereas “….Vancouver, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland consistently rate in the top 10….”

Blakeley then has the sheer GALL to say in his last para:

“……The draft plan is a carefully designed proposition to achieve transformational economic growth, high quality of life, quality affordable housing, opportunity for all Aucklanders…..” etc.

I already dealt with the “economic growth” assumption above. But “affordable housing”……? With Vancouver, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland as the status quo exemplars? Insane by any definition.

And “opportunity for all Aucklanders”? This is just a sick joke for everyone priced out of marriage and family, priced out of acquisition of a first business premises, priced out of efficient locations by property price gradients that any RE agent could tell us about, and people forced into lengthy commutes from wherever they can afford to buy, wasting their money and family time.

This is verging on Eugenics. We should have seen the last of this stuff 6 decades ago. It is anti-human per se, in contrast to fascism being anti SOME humans on racial grounds, and Communism being anti SOME humans on “class” grounds. It is Applied Darwinism. As if life was not already unfair enough in the “inequalities” that are inevitable under any economic system – something these Watermelon Green/Red politicians and bureaucrats would pretend to care about, deceiving voters en mass.


Lastly, the hubristic Chief Planner Blakeley finishes with a homily about McShane’s preferred cities “not being in the top 10 internationally most livable cities”, whereas “….Vancouver, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland consistently rate in the top 10….”

Blakeley and co love the livable cities ratings - great propaganda for them. Yet these surveys are incredibly narrow, and their purpose needs to be understood - to aid multinationals relocating their staff around the world:  hardship allowances.

these surveys do not properly account for livability for the citizens of cities - eg. housing costs relative to local incomes, a huge part of livability, is not considered in these surveys 

Owen doesn't believe in over population "it isn't a problem".

Owen doesn't believe in climate change.

Owen believes:

"During my visit to Houston there was much fuss about a high-rise apartment being build next to a very plush community of single family homes. The pro-zoning elite were using this as an argument for a comprehensive city plan complete with zoning and the usual host of regulations and controls.

However, people who buy into a neighbourhood controlled by a Homeowners’ Association  know very well that the edge properties are vulnerable to such unexpected activities and hence sell at a considerable discount. Buyers pay their money and accept the risk."

Houston – the well-planned City without a Plan

A world view that assumes we are all watched over by machines of loving grace.

The opposite (greenie view) is:

End of Growth

The subsuming of land within the category of capital by nearly all post-classical economists had amounted to a declaration that Nature is merely a subset of the human economy—an endless pile of resources to be transformed into wealth. It also meant that natural resources could always be substituted with some other form of capital—money or technology. The reality, of course, is that the human economy exists within, and entirely depends upon Nature, and many natural resources have no realistic substitutes. This fundamental logical and philosophical mistake, embedded at the very heart of modern mainstream economic philosophies, set society directly upon a course toward the current era of climate change and resource depletion, and its persistence makes conventional economic theories—of both Keynesian and neoliberal varieties—utterly incapable of dealing with the economic and environmental survival threats to civilization in the 21st century.

What the Green point of view fails to provide, is a more moral "solution" than just "letting it happen" - IF it does.

The Green point of view stinks to high heaven, of the justifications erected by totalitarianisms of the past, for monstrous political power and "playing god", doing colossal harm in the process, worse than the alleged problem for which the "solutions" were being advanced. Communism did not suck people in because it promised "equality", it promised greater material production than capitalism. "Green" unintended consequences are already obviously every bit as bad - to anyone still in possession of their reason in this day and age.

The very solutions likely to emerge from human inventiveness, adaptability, and "natural selection" if it gets that bad (and the Greens say it will); will be prevented from emerging under the Greens "solutions" if imposed.

The point og the green solution (not Green Party) is that growth can't continue forever and we have to learn to get by without growth. Where what is growing are the vegetables, grapes, wool, trees for timber etc.

NZ must be the country in the world least needing to worry on that score.

But we will surely present a juicy target to all those other overpopulated, land scarce nations - sooooooooooo, are the Greens "pro defence".......?

I rest my case. Pack of charlatans.


The government is concerned that the draft plan will result in house prices in Auckland becoming too expensive for average New Zealanders," Smith said.

they are already too expensive, and will just become more so

"It is very high in comparison, for instance, to Australian cities.

correct - most Aus cities are aiming for between 50-65% of housing to be delivered in existing urban areas

Yeah, and even the Aussie cities have an affordability problem because of that...........

The real benchmark, is to be found in any cities where "planning gain" is minimal, and raw land price discontinuities across a line on a map, are minimal. There are still a few dozen cities in the USA like this. Funny enough, Germany, Switzerland and Austria are good at this too.

Also, in the Netherlands, they are truly short of land, and the government decades ago adopted "compulsory acquisition" of developable land, to ensure that bubbles would not occur and economic efficiency would be uncompromised. There has been some really interesting "learning from the Dutch" take place recently in British Universities, because the Dutch worked all this stuff out decades ago, but their classic academic literature is in Dutch, not English.

There has been some good papers recently from the London School of Economics, co-authored by Dutch academics along with British ones. Names like Vermeulen, Hilber, and Van Ommeren.

But the Texas approach is the most appropriate to NZ and Australia. Wait and see who learns the fastest on this - us or the Aussies?

What was that again, PB?

Brash is pandering to his core support base - all those who think the world is an infinite place.

All three of you.

Why don't people who dislike the expense and the density of living in Auckland , find somewhere cheaper ...... such as Dunedin , or Invercargill , Timaru , Blenheim ... they're all terrific places to live . Famly friendly , clean air and water , and jobs galore ... Kaikoura , go visit Kunzie , every freaking day !.. Greymouth , the pearl of the West Coast .... Granity , the pearl of WINZ .

Bestselling author Matt Ridley says about the "the earth is finite" argument: this is like setting out for an afternoon's pleasure sailing in a small yacht off the coast of Ireland and worrying about running into Newfoundland. The PDK's of this world simply fail to understand the earth's vastness.

And I have referred again and again to "Environmentalism Refuted" by George Reisman.

The PDK's of this world simply have no answer. They are akin to the medieval papal high priesthood and their relationship to "reason" in their time. In fact, that is unkind to the medieval papal high priesthood - the PDK's of this world are more like the pagan witch doctors of tree-and-cave-dwelling societies. "No room, no room, no room, oola-goola oola-goola". Repeat 100 times.

Ease up Phill; just 'cause somethings "vast" doesn't make it infinite. If you can quantify it it's not infinite. OK.


Have you seen the many arguments I have had with PDK on this site? He haunts this site; I just pop in occasionally.

I say to you and everyone, at least read the George Reisman essay I link to above. We have vast resources and technology that does develop exponentially.

As Reisman says, this is an issue of reason versus superstition.

The sweetest fruit are up in the high branches Hugh ..... helluva risk if you're prone to sleep-walking , but .

Useful link here to discussion on the plan



That transportblog post was by me. The point I was trying to make is that the Auckland Plan includes quite a lot of sprawl. Around 130,000 units of it over the next 30 years. By comparison the old Auckland City Council had around 145,000 units in 2006 - so we're talking some pretty big numbers of extra housing units on the periphery. 

So I am not sure why the Auckland Plan is being framed in a "it bans sprawl" way.

Getting to the more fundamental issue of how Auckland should grow, surely a prime matter to consider is infrastructure costs of different types of development. The old ARC undertook a comprehensive study in 2009 and 2010 called the Future Land Use and Transport Planning Project, which highlighted that an urban expansion model of growth would require twice the investment in infrastructure than a more compact form. Yet it churned out the worst results in terms of travel time reliability.

As a classic example, just look at Flat Bush. Check out the megabucks spent on building big wide roads out in Flat Bush, the billions that will need to be spent on AMETI to link Flat Bush and its surrounding area with the rest of the city, the hundreds of millions the Ministry of Education had to spend on new schools. Sprawl is downright expensive.

That might not be a problem if those living in sprawled areas had to pay, both in terms of extra development levies, possibly road pricing and perhaps higher tax rates to compensate for their extra burden on the education system.... but that's not going to happen is it? So some form of urban boundary is necessary as a proxy to try to even things up a bit.

Nice post...I agree, the Draft Plan is being widely criticised when it is proposing some good ideas...many critics think that the only way to increase housing supply is to free up land on the fringe...when in fact developing upwards achieves the same outcome whilst efficiently using our infrastructure and creating more vibrant Centres...

So if condensed planning is cheaper to implement in terms of infrastructure, why does it result in more expensive sections?

That is the point EXACTLY.

I keep saying, and these people don't "get it", that the difference is; paying a few grand per section for infrastructure, (prefereably spread over a few decades); OR paying tens or even hundreds of grands for NOTHING.

If these people were all about "compact urban form" rather than a racket to deliver capital gains to a well-placed minority, they would be talking about compulsory acquisition of land at low prices, or land taxes. They are not. Conclusion: all this talk about the environment is a fig leaf for hidden corruption.

Getting to the more fundamental issue of how Auckland should grow, surely a prime matter to consider is infrastructure costs of different types of development.


they seem to think that it is the publics duty to pay for that, which it is, except that our immigration rate is the second highest in the OECD and is the ore for the development industry and while immigration and property sales to foriegners looks like one of the bigger export earners, they can bring their hydro schemes and rivers with them (plus a tunnel or two).

there's a whole lot of land in Dairy Flat, south of Silverdale, that could be opened up

PDK - please explain how people will be housed in Auckland if it doesn't occur in greenfield locations, given that intensification is uneconomic / unfeasible in most locations in Auckland   

Matt - you've been here a long time. Have you not been listening? Thinking?

Why start with the presumption that people 'will be housed in Auckland'.?

That's like Phil Best and Hugh - who start from what they want, and try and work everything back from there. It ends up a lie, because it didn't start from reality.

We have to look ahead. At what Kunstler calls the 'long emergency', what Heinberg just calls the end of growth. Heaven knows, it's been long foretold.

We have to work out what (if anything) is serviceable post-oil. Transition Towns might give you one line to think about.

I agree that housing will intensify in rural areas - dairying the fonterra way is part of the past, not the future.

But in that paradigm, we have to expect folk to want food, water and energy , with their shelters. In easy distance of.

I predict village-size clusters, commons spaces, and collaborative effort - but not satellite suburbs tacked ever-further outward from big cities. Auckland will be a very undesirable place to be by 2020.

yeah I think clustered hamlets / towns have their place, but I think peri-urban development has its place too. The euros have done innovative peri-urban development which includes things like urban agriculture etc

Suburbia gets a bad rap but done well it can be really good   

any form of development can be crap if its not done right, just as any form of development can be great if done right. this applies to high density development and suburbia

Matt have you thought about the fact that the industrial era has created demands for housing that were never really resolved, but the industrial era might be coming to an end.

I have linked a few times to the USGS website, where the reserves of minerals are published in an unbiased manner.

Food for thought that is for sure.

I keep asking PDK, why does he jump in to these discussions on the side of high density living, when everything he is saying, justifies lifestyle block living - and that is in fact the way he lives.

His credibility is zilch.

As for the argument that travelling distances get longer with "more sprawl", this is nonsense. Employment mostly follows the workforce. And the more scarce and expensive resources get, the less paper-shuffling jobs in CBD's the economy will be able to support.

The land in and around Auckland is extremely fertile land, what a myopic lot, especially Hugh P, who can't see the value in a world inceasingly needing/ wanting produce; this land should be protected at all costs,and thank goodness we have planners who value that, even at the point of beinmg abused by the likes of some on this site. There is plenty off affordable housing in NZ, and those who aren't so well off or starting out should not fancy a 150 plus sq meter house, withdouble garage and  all the mod cons, just because others do. 

Have no intention of telling farmers they are getting paid too much, and what are you on about with cows rights?  And I don't care if China or USA etc have large areas of land , I'm referring to Auckland, allow a relaxation like you are going on about and we can kiss goodbye once and for all to very productive land. Thank goodness the planing authorities think you are a nutter, and if you have the likes of Don Brash a a cheer-leader ,well good luck to you.

Well you probably don't deserve Me's accolade, although don't you ever wonder why hardly anybody in urban planning here agrees with your theories? Basically Me is right, we shouldn't lose very fertile land to urban sprawl around Aukland as it would be lost forever, just because people think they have a 'right' to have a big house on a stand-alone section.

I repeat what I said near the top of this thread, without changing a word. Can you guys not read? :

It is lunacy to strangle urban economies to "sustain" rural economies, in a nation with massive surpluses of primary produce for export.

Prof. Paul Callaghan has been pointing out for months if not years, that if NZ had 120 manufacturing exporters as good as its current best 40 manufacturing exporters, that would move us from near the bottom of the OECD income rank, to near the top.

Agricultural jobs and tourism jobs pay well BELOW our CURRENT average income level, so more of those will just drag us down, not raise us up.

And rigid planning systems and inflated urban land prices DO hinder the development of successful urban-based industry whichever way you look at it. The McKinsey Institute Report said this about the British Economy in 1998, that it was 40% less productive than the US economy, BECAUSE of Britain's "Town and Country Planning Act", AND that that was a reason that NOTHING like "Silicon Valley" had EVER happened in Britain, and NEVER WOULD.

Now there has been numerous other academic papers and reports confirming this, and every OECD Report is ringing alarm bells about the effects on a nation's productivity, if its urban land prices are inflated - including its report on NZ recently.


Prof. Paul Callaghan has been pointing out for months if not years, that if NZ had 120 manufacturing exporters as good as its current best 40 manufacturing exporters, that would move us from near the bottom of the OECD income rank, to near the top.


Prof. Paul Callaghan uses that as an argument for greater spending on research. I don't think he is saying we will get 120 manufacturing exporters as good as our top 40.

Agricultural jobs and tourism jobs pay well BELOW our CURRENT average income level, so more of those will just drag us down, not raise us up.

Not Fonterra jobs (I forget the figures but Fonterra adds a lot of value per worker).

As for tourism, that's where many migrants are working. Many Kiwis are out of work in the tourist sector and as Chinese come in greater numbers they are being driven by Chinese speaking drivers.

You have to consider lifestyle also.


I'm working my way through the comments.

Fonterra pays higher wages than average using how much land in the process....?

Rakon pays higher wages than the average, using how much land in the process?

This is the crux of the argument I am making. There are many types of industry with differing requirements for land. If we regard it as reasonable for Fonterra to use just as much land as they need, at prices not inflated by regulatory rationing, why is it reasonable to expect a production line industry, for example, to have to pay prices for its land that are inflated by regulatory rationing? And for its workforces to have to pay higher costs of living?

NZ-ers would care immensely if we reduced Fonterra's international competitiveness by doing to its land requirements what we have done to the land requirements for every urban based industry and its workforce. Why do NZ-ers not care about the latter? Trouble is, we don't have a clue what we are doing. These things do have consequences and already have had consequences.

Hugh Pavletich   #8   09:20 am Sep 28 2011

Sir Robert Jones is to be congratulated for injecting commercial reality in to the discussion. Christchurch will be a "low and light" city going forward.

Public preference always trumps policy - and it is well past time the Christchurch City Council worked with what peoples real needs are and put a stop to hugely discouraging romantic planning.

We need to see open land supply on the fringes with post development zoning and flexible internal zoning, to allow economic and attractive redevelopment to get underway as quickly as possible.

The Council itself needs to move from the disastrous central bureaucratic model to a "One City - Many Communities" one, led by engineers, so that some elementary performance disciplines can be injected in to this bloated and hugely disfunctional organisation.

Thank you Sir Robert.


Residents groups will want to know what you want changed. Is it height limits? Recession planes? More Liquor stores? Perhaps we need to expand property rights to include right to sunlight?

Did you read Vitruvius as I suggested above. A 2000 year old wisdom, but you come along and think sunlight is unimportant. I can only assume that your attitude stems from being deprived of it.

but you come along and think sunlight is unimportant.


exactly the opposite.


I think we need to see how serious the council is about upzoning, and streamling consent applications.

upzoning won't make any difference in many areas - as the development economics are fundamentally rooted, and will be for a long time yet   

there are many low/ medium value locations in Auckland which even if upzoned substantially will not work for higher density. The cost of development means small units delivered to the market will have to sell far higher than existing  detached houses on full sections in the same market: obviously that is an unrealistic scenario

read this good Aus piece - as it says, even if one could walk in to council offices and get an automatic approval for higher density developments they still wouldn't happen, because of the economics:

hence "streamlining" won't make any difference

Yes and there are plenty of places where the economics do stack up. I.e places where higher density development is already being attempted despite major regulatory uncertainty due to meddling planners and nimbyism. For example Birkenhead, Milford, Takapuna, eastern bays, ponsonby, Parnell. But the council seems more interested in places like New Lynn where the economics don't stack up.

Yes and there are plenty of places where the economics do stack up

Trust me there are not that many. I've worked on a couple of apartment developments in higher value centres in the past 3-4 years, the developments got approved but have not taken off, due to funding difficulties and / or miserable pre-sales. In terms of the latter, that is not suprising, it comes back to the crap economics ie. why would someone sell a decent house on a full section in one of these better locations for 800K to move into a smaller apartment for say 800-900K????? 

Yes well there has been a bit of a recession for the last few years, and the funding model for a lot of development in NZ has imploded (aka finance companies). I also work for developers and plenty are starting to fire up again now. Not sure where you get 800-900k from, that would be a fairly high end apartment. I have seen developers get knocked back time and again by difficulties in getting consents, yet are now trying again. You do realise that the current district palms currently ban intensification over the vast bulk of Auckland don't you? 90% of district plans are about restricting density.

Swan - if we are talking about those high end locations, then 800-900K for a decent sized apartment (as opposed to a 60 square metre showbox) is about right

here's some prices for a recent apartment scheme in Howick to prove my point:

Those are high end apartments.

If upzoning is not going to result in development due to the economics, then presumably it would be uncontroversial. Why would there be controversy over something with no real effects. Upzoning was planned from the time of the RGS in 1999. In the main, it hasn't occurred. Why not?

yes but you were talking about high end locations - Takapuna, Parnell etc. Low end apartments generally won't get built in high end locations

If upzoning is not going to result in development due to the economics, then presumably it would be uncontroversial. Why would there be controversy over something with no real effects. Upzoning was planned from the time of the RGS in 1999. In the main, it hasn't occurred. Why not?

Simple -  most of the public will not understand the reality of development economics, after all most of the learned planners don't. The public will see an upzoning and assume the high density development shown in all the planning "visions" will follow, shock horror. They will be concerned with the potential, rather than the reality 

In additon to all the economic factors I have discussed, there are host of other issues with intensification. A major one is that generally to do decent higher density delveopments multiple sites need to be acquired and agglomerated - this can be a time consuming, expensive and lengthy process. Of course there will be some single sites that can be devleoped in their own right   

"Simple -  most of the public will not understand the reality of development economics, after all most of the learned planners don't. The public will see an upzoning and assume the high density development shown in all the planning "visions" will follow, shock horror. They will be concerned with the potential, rather than the reality"

That seems a bit convenient doesn't it? I mean why did these by laws even come to pass in the first place then? In one of your other posts you refer to the marginal construction costs in the order of 300k. If you allow high intensity development (I'm talking tens of stories), the cost of construction will fall to the marginal construction costs. The apartment prices you are talking about are prices predicated on the current rules.

TVNZ's "Close Up" item a couple of years ago entitled "Shoebox Living and What You Get For Your Rent", is very revealing. Matt in Auckl is quite right. The cost per sq ft is just obscene.

Urban planners can deliver Manhattan RE pricing but they have not a chance in the world and should "get it" by now, that they cannot bring Manhattan incomes to the poor bastards they are lumbering Manhattan RE prices onto.

Matt in Auck, I'm not a fan of your doesn't actually explore the reasons why the apartments in Melbourne are's conclusion is basically "apartments are expensive, therefore high density in Melbourne doesn't work"...surely land developed with high density is a better outcome than a huge villa housing one family...and then a sea of villas sprawling as far as the eye can see...


It does actually outline some reasons, higher construction costs, higher labour costs for high density

Its really quite simple:

-land on the fringe is generally substantially cheaper than land closer to the centres

- building higher density is much more expensive than low density. you can expect to build single level dwellings for $1500 per square metre compared to multi level apartments at over $2500 per square metre. this means a  150 square metres house can be built for 225K, a 100 square metre apartment built for 250K (plus add on proportional costs for all the communal  / parking areas in apartments - if you need to do basement parking that adds on heaps more: once these costs are built in that 250K figure could get close to 300K for construction costs alone, then add on all the council fees, land costs, profit margin, GST, sales and marketing etc)  

I worked on a feasibility study for a terrace housing scheme a year or so ago in New Lynn, we would have had to sell 3 beddie 120 square metre terrace housing units with a single carport to the market  for circa 550 - 600K to make a moderate profit, simply not feasible when houses on full sections in the same market sell for 400-450K 

Some pointers:

Matt in Auck,

The main reason we have an affordability issue is the escalation of land costs have mainly been tracking with inflation.

The villa with a much higher land component would be a more expensive option than the apartment.

Ricardo - don't get me wrong, in an ideal world I'd love to see the majority of our development comprising euro-styled higher density, mixed use communities

but the unfortunate reality (isn't life filled with real world disappointment) is that this will only realistically comprise a minor portion of the housing we need, due to economics

The reason we are bursting is that our population increased 21% between 1994 and 2004 and during that time house price increases followed waves of migration. The capital gains generated went to developers and investors while the tax payer paid for the bulk of  new infrastructure and Aucklanders (except sucessfull developpers) sufered a drop in living standards. Of course we never reach our destination as the U.K is finding. More migration is always good for the economy.

We are .07% urbanised... means what? Does urbanised include all raods, railway lines etc?

How much of the country is mountain, river, forest, swamp, in the shade, on a fault line, flood plain, liqufaction zone, on a caldera...?

".......the tax payer paid for the bulk of  new infrastructure........"

Why not? Everyone has benefitted from infrastructure provided by taxpayers in their own time; why not today's younger people? This model is actually equitable. The benefits of low, stable urban land prices are far greater than the costs of a bit of new infrastructure every so often, as we are finding out. As I keep saying: the alternatives are: a few grand for infrastructure for each member of the younger generation, paid by society as a whole - OR a few tens or even hundreds of grand for NOTHING, paid by each member of the younger generation. Why, in a society that claims to be against inequality, in favour of opportunity and a "fair go"; does this concept even get a look in?

And it does not take long to work out that since about 2004, when councils started charging "development contributions", the amounts charged have been far in excess of the additional amounts spent on infrastructure in the entire council administrative area, let alone just for the new developments. In other words, it has been used as a subsidy of rates, and quite a significant one too. Come the inevitable "bust" and the councils are in the crap.

Really, the govt should actively promote the opening up of Auckland into currently available land.

The windfall profits by speculators would provide a bonanza of revenue to the govt just when it is needed, through our comprehensive capital gains tax....

Oh sorry, I forgot for a moment that we are in NZ, uniquely allergic to such things as CGTs...

Forget I commented, a ridiculous thought of course.


apart from high end apartments, low/mid end apartments will generally only work in most locations if densities are extremely high, unit sizes are generally very small, and building materials / quality sacrificed ie. the kind of crap we have got in the CBD 

there are a lot of naive people who seem to think somehow that there will be a large market for good quality, good sized ( 90-100 square metres plus) apartments - there isn't and there won't be, when those apartments to stack up will need to sell for circa 550K in low value locations, circa 650-700K in mid value locations, and circa 800-900K plus in high value locations

Matt in Auck,

Your figures are on the high side.

St Lukes is an OK suburb...below is an apartment you can buy for under $400K:

And Auckland has constrained supply from a lack of upzoning. When upzoning takes place expect apartments / townhouses to be cheaper...along with infrastructure costs and general cost of living.

The building below basically sold out in about six weeks:

Why? Because they are reasonably priced, insulated, close to amenities, presentable...people want them..there is demand.


I am talking about apartments constructed and delivered today, not ones delivered years ago when land and development costs were lower. Also i suspect that st lukes apartment may be leaky and i think the Kingsland one is only about 60 sq m

Matt, there is an important point here, that is observable in several cases worldwide. When fringe land prices are inflated, so is the price of all urban land, including at more central locations. This is simply how RE markets work - if land out there costs "x", then land in here must be worth "x" plus a premium.

The result is lower sales of homes at the higher price in the central areas, than what would have occurred otherwise, and the forcing of greater numbers of new entrants to the market, to more distant locations, where the prices are "the least unaffordable".

You can literally see this happening in any city where there is an UGB - there are absurd numbers of clustered townhouses springing up right out at the very limits of the city, not to mention the additional people moving right out into the country.

World Bank economist Alain Bertaud did studies on this a decade ago. Also the economist Anthony Downs discusses this phenomenon in his famous 2004 book, "Still Stuck In Traffic".

Have you considered the economies of scale of the North American supply chain to NZs. I suggest there is no comparison.


Does that make it more necessary, or less necessary, to get fairness into the land prices?


As I'm a supporter of higher density...I think it's appropriate to replace your statement "as land supply is strangled, triggering housing bubbles"


"as the ability to build on land is strangled, triggering housing bubbles"

I think that the restrictive zoning in favour of low rise housing is the root cause of our affordability mess...out of control urban sprawl isn't a good outcome.

here's a link for you hugh - you may well have read this jane jacobs piece

I read it thinking of the CHC rebuild :"Designing a dream city is easy; rebuilding a living one takes imagination."

Vanderleigh Luxemburgo,

Jane Jacobs is very interesting reading.

Interesting she wrote up Dallas-Forth Worth so highly back then.

Brilliant post hugh, one of your best. If you empathised with the consolidation position more i think you'd get further. I think the ear of having no urban limit is misplaced. There would be a strong degree of self regulation that would prevent endless sprawl, and higher density housing would actually become more feasible

A more interesting post. With respect you splatter comment. Have you considered in part people actually may want lifestyle blocks, the ones that last the distance often choose this option because they want neighbours at arms length and space . The minority actually work or utilise the land. This splatter will have occured regardless, just a question of where. Given it now exists often around where growth would have developed it will not automatically go away (most is not  land banked), at best it will take time, a generational thing. Carving it up for $50,000 sections will not be a quick motivator.

There are numerous academic studies of "fragmented" development, or "leapfrog" development (what you call "splatter") that find that this is the most efficient in the long run, because the infill that occurs later can be much more intelligently done according to how areas are tending to look already as the result of demand.

Strictly planned "contiguous" development is less efficient. Furthermore, inflated urban land prices are an obstacle to infill development and churn of land use to more efficient uses. Inflated-land-price cities always contain far more sites with "infill" and "brownfields" development potential, that are not getting re-developed. The reason is that the owners are holding out for the inflated "going prices" in the market.

This is elementary supply and demand stuff. Higher prices, different equilibrium point, lower turnover. But "planners" look at the brownfields land as a quantity of land per se, without having a clue about market mechanisms that will actually make stuff happen in the local economy, or stop it happening.

I said it before and I say it again..Auckland is heading for the 'high rise slum city' label...Brown looking down tunnels while the rubbish is to be tossed out the window of the upper floor rat holes.

Restrictions would not be necessary if pop bloat were controlled. Have a look at how Amsterdam deals with pop bloat.

If I am reading the map above correctly a lot more land between Long Bay and Orewa on the Eastern side of the motorway appears to planned for residential. Is that correct?

What has Brash been smoking?

According to ACT theory who cares if poor people can't afford housing? - it's their own fault and choice to be poor.  The only reason they are poor is that they haven't taken the oppourtunities provided for them in our 'meritocracy'.  Surely Brash should be delighted that poor people can't afford houses as it reminds them that they should be working harder and smarter.  As we all know John Key was a poor boy and he has become very wealthy -  therefore, under ACT theory, anyone can become wealthy if they get out of bed and put their minds to it.

Brash should stick to his party line - caring about poor people? sound like he should join the Greens.

and what nice land owners are going to give them the land at  that price if they can get $100K?

and who would be sensible to move from close in to where you work with a low transport cost to further out? if they realised where petrol price and availability was going?

In a word, dinosaur


This is a classic fallacy that I encounter all the time.

It will almost never be possible, because of the way RE markets work, to "buy a property closer to the CBD and save on transport costs what you paid for the home".

The exception to this rule, is in cities with very low land prices. Like Detroit right now.

The higher land prices go, the worse this effect gets, and the further away new entrants to the housing market, will locate from urban centres.

CLASSIC "unintended consequences" stuff, just like when slope-brows like Valdimir Lenin get in charge of society.

I agree this is probably a sensible and true statement for the PAST, when energy was a fraction of GDP hence, "dinosaur"  I didnt suggest this was the case and have no idea where it comes from...and in fact Ive never seen this fallacy stated by anyone before, you are the you seem to be standing up a straw man and knocking it down.....

Beyond that you are making lots of assumptions.

You assume moving forward that we can grow  infinitely and indefinately and that there will be the cheap energy to match, and/or that fringe land will be cheap enough that this offsets the cost of more expensive energy. Yet on a planet that is finite this cannot be the case at some stage, unfortunately thats about now.  In addition, the present high close to CBD prices are based on the fading BB generation, the chances of these prices not falling by 50% or more is small....and when the CBD prices drop the fringe will become worthless...oh dear thats where the poor and young have bought....oh well never mind....the developers and ex-land owners will have moved on with their profits.....looking after teh poor, yeah right.

Detriot is a very good example of a ghost town that has collapsed due to the cost of energy.....this story will be re-told world wide....

Hence if there is any fallacy it is on your part.

Classic head stuck in sand oh dear Im extinct....from the Libertarian contingent.


PS land prices are only part of the equation...overvalued is still over-valued.


Steven, this effect simply will not change. This is a classic fallacy I encounter all the time. You are probably in the majority, in terms of the numbers of people who believe this fallacy, but that doesn't make it right.

The costs of travel feed into Real Estate value differentials. The higher petrol prices go, the higher these differentials go. This is one of the effects driving "decentralisation" in mature, less-"planned" cities - jobs and workers are relocating in ways that minimise travel distances. This is why the cities of the USA that are the Greens favourite whipping-boys, actually score no worse than their favourite poster child cities for commute times. I posted links to data earlier. (LA is as dense as European and NZ cities; this is why it is the worst in the US).

Critics of low density US cities like to point to data that they think boosts their case. Like petrol consumption, which is higher for these cities. This is not because the cities urban form is inefficient, but because the inhabitants have far higher discretionary incomes to spend on large cars and discretionary non-work trips. As petrol prices rise, they will modify their choices. As petrol prices rise, what do people like NZ-ers do, when they already had no discretionary income to sacrifice? Thanks to paying through the nose for land, a totally unnecessary imposition which gained them nothing.

Detroit did not collapse because of the cost of energy, what a Johnny One-Note you are. It collapsed because of trade union driven politics.

Bob said..

The only reason they are poor is that they haven't taken the oppourtunities provided for them in our 'meritocracy'. 


Sorry Bob buit that's just the kind of statement that seeks to encapsulate yet fails horribly to even get close to facts.

There are a miriad of reasons why people.... are poor ...become poor..don't know their poor....etc....not siezing opportunity is just one of them...

If all were rich, then the bottom rich become the new's just a matter of scale you see so sweeping remarks don't cut it when tested.

Don't be sorry - I didn't say it. I said that ACT says that.  I agree that it is a ridiculous statement, but one a constantly hear from ACT supporters.

Your own imagined straw man "Act Supporter".

Roger Douglas' books argued convincingly years ago that instead of spending 6 figures per annum on poor households, delivering far below the $ spent in actual value, the govt should just give them the money and let them pay their own way, which would get them the best schools for their kids, the best health insurance policies, etc.

Sounds like real harsh Randian stuff, NOT.

One other thing I'll tell you B o  b about the Good that he spends a biit of time about the place in G.I. ..Pamure and the know gets a feel for it at street level...mabe he should keep his head shoved up his own rectum and behave more like some of the more fancied contenders.

Don't get me wrong here...he's made a huge mistake taking on Banks if he thought the party would gain any flexibility in their ideology.....a huge he'll pay for I'm sure but that don't mean he's smoking anything........he may yet reconsider that too.

Brash seemed to think that he would take ACT to 10% this election.....funny thing but I would have expected to see a trend reflecting that in the polls.....nope not a sign....

Labour drops away....bit of a bigger drop than the noise suggests it should be....interesting.

Banks and a mistake, yes I suspect/hope so....anyone who wants to change the MMP system purely to suit his own party and dis-infrancise others with twice the vote deserves to be wiped out IMHO.


D'yer reckon that NZ Labour should dump Phil Goff , and give the job to  Dr. Brash ?

..... Don has better form than Goofy does , Don has already screwed up National once .

His paranoia when screwing around  with National ...seemed quite justified in hindsight GBH.....I think he's a fairly typical reformist bogged down with the grey areas of his own won't matter where he goes ..he just wont quite fit in.....

I'd rather have sent him to the U.N. than Clarke...or both.

That said the Nat's are now quite a united lot but more in a Corporate cronie fashion where the depth of your bow denotes you place in the pecking order...Billy Bob's got the nod..lucky boy.

Still it's easy when your....... WINNING throwing 7gram rocks up your head..Eh

Hugh's beloved $50,000 serviced sections on the fringes of Auckland already exist - just check Trademe.

Here's a $50K one a bit north

Here's a nice one a bit south for only $36K!

Sure they are a reasonable commute from town, but by Hugh's own theory there should be no limit on where the fringe is or how much commuting is involved.

" Hugh's own theory there should be no limit on where the fringe is or how much commuting is involved...."

Which when we dont have cheap energy makes them the new ghettos or the never can look to the USA where houses were built a long way from anywhere to see that outcome. 

Dont forget of course some ppl will be aiming to make tidy profits from the removal of such restrictions....all the while turning our cities into a mess....


" can look to the USA where houses were built a long way from anywhere......"

Yes, where there were cities where housing was unaffordable.

There is no equivalent for any city with affordable housing, to the famous "sand suburbs" of California.

And in the cities where there is "sprawl" and affordable housing, employment has also dispersed, leaving travel times stable. Refer Alex Anas et al, "Decentralisation and the Stability of Travel Time".

The inability of our ruling Green-in-the-head classes to grasp basic concepts like this, is very costly for our society.

I would be very surprised if famous international property magnate George Soros is not the only one lavishly funding "Green" movements, using them as "useful idiots" whose policies enable them to reap higher capital gains for their own property holdings.

It would not surprise me in the slightest if "Steven" does not give a stuff about the environment, but is paid by some property tycoon to troll on all day peddling his enviro propaganda.

You should be delighted - you want $50K cheap fringe section and I'm pointing out they already exist.

Huntly is only 1.5 hours from Auckland.

Are you inferring that driving for 1.5 hours through the countryside is somehow unacceptable whereas driving 1.5 hours through suburbia is acceptable?

Are you saying there should be a limit to how far one must commute to ones place of employment?




Commuting 3 hours instead of 1.5 is clearly stupid. But this is what happens (eg in California) when you need to go 1.5 hours beyond the fringe to find a section at the price that a section at the fringe should have been.

But the real life figures tend to show, even in California, that most of those commuting from the "sand suburbs" do not commute to jobs right in the centre of the urban area, but commute to jobs closer to the fringe. So the result is really a 1.5 hour commute instead of a 10 minute one. Still stupid, and still the result of inflated urban land prices.

It might be time to say something about jobs dispersion in modern cities. The actual % of jobs now found in an urban centre is typically below 20% of the total.

"New City" Editorial: "Ruining Our Cities to Save Them":

"........Writing in a publication of the 2008 9th World Congress of Metropolis, Sydney University’s John Black observed that “apart from some noticeable peaks, employment density is quite uniform across the [Sydney metropolitan] region”. According to the NSW Department of Transport, only 12 per cent of Sydney’s jobs are in the CBD and second tier centres like North Sydney, Chatswood, Parramatta, Hurstville and Penrith have less than 2 per cent each. David McCloskey, Bob Birrell and Rose Yip of Monash University (demographers, not urban planners) report the same about Melbourne. The CBD hosts around 20 per cent of jobs and the rest are scattered all over the metropolitan region.

Platitudes like “we must locate people close to where they work”, or “we must locate jobs close to where people live”, have little basis in reality. They infringe another immovable law of economics, relating to economic rents or bid-rents. This mechanism determines how industries and firms are distributed. Put simply, a parcel of land will go to whichever use delivers the highest profits. Centrally located land (near major transport or infrastructure hubs) commands high prices, and goes to the most profitable uses. Peripheral land goes to less profitable or marginal activities.

Over the last thirty years, economic deregulation, flexible transport, advanced communications and population growth have raised up a sector in the latter category, extracting value from cheap outer-metropolitan land and low rents. It includes industries like transport and distribution, building and construction, food, consumer products, personal services, wholesale and retail. They depend on favourable location costs and proximity to urban markets and labour pools. According to the Greater Western Sydney Economic Development Board, “prime industrial land with direct access to transport infrastructure is 75% cheaper [in GWS] than other areas of Sydney”.

Ultimately, green planning will phase out cheap urban land, undermining this sector and destroying jobs in the process. Breakthroughs in automotive and energy technologies offer the prospect of adaptation to a distant future of expensive oil. There’s no way to adapt to rising land values.

Many are in denial about this, recycling visions of the “concentric ring model” of urban form. This relic of pre-war sociology allocated industry to the core, or cores, and residences to the periphery........"

AKL Council actually funded a study on CBD shares of employment in Australasia:

Ignoring basic urban economics and RE markets, they have evidently decided to try and force the genie back into the bottle. The result will be as the "New City" editorial writers say above:

"......Ultimately, green planning will phase out cheap urban land, undermining this sector (transport and distribution, building and construction, food, consumer products, personal services, wholesale and retail) and destroying jobs in the process......."

I made a comment near the top of the thread, on the correlation between density and air pollution.

Coincidentally, Wendell Cox has just posted a very good essay on this HERE:

That is a completely stupid article.

He argues that denser areas have more air pollution per square mile therefore denser areas are bad for the environment.  He makes absolutely no mention of pollution per person.  He has a graph showing that there is more traffic in a denser city again with no reference to traffic per person (most of which is probably the folks from the less dense areas).

From his own traffic graph you can see that increasing population density by 10x increases traffic by only 4x.  Or increasing population density 10x increases NOx by only 3x.  His own data shows that Increasing density reduces pollution and traffic per person (if the same number of people live less densly there is more pollution and cars).  His own graphs disprove his arguement.

This sort of thing makes his whole Democrapia survey thing lose all credibility.

But the whole point of that article is to help people understand the consequences for them and their children, of these policies.

"..........increasing population density 10x increases NOx by only 3x....."

So what, if the NOx emitted in the nation or state or region as a whole is lower, if you and your kids are now breathing in 3 times as much of it?

OMG - you can't be serious?

Good factual stuff there.

Yes, NZ does rate poorly, because of our congestion and because on average we own older, less efficient vehicles.

"........The more dense the population, the  less efficient private transport becomes, the more pollution; until critical mass can be achieved for other forms of (pollution - you mean "transport")........"

Yes, but even when critical mass is achieved for mass public transport, the local pollution level remains far higher, because there is never a linear change in mode share to accompany the rising density. But if you mean a critical mass for new technology like electric cars, I agree with you.

By the way, it is never "pollution reducing" to provide LESS road capacity in the hopes that congestion will encourage mode shift. Road capacity and free flow does correlate with pollution levels. "Induced traffic" is the result of several factors, including route change, time of trip change, some mode change (which will reverse once congestion returns), increase in economic activity, and population increase. Decentralisation of urban form is a way that free markets cope with congestion, in spite of the fact that employers do not pay any "charge" associated with their location and its role in creating congestion. In fact, they reap agglomeration efficiencies while not directly incurring the costs of the congestion related to that agglomeration. So it is surprising just how strong the trend to decentralisation is, when the planners do not obstruct it.

Boy, both of you do come out of the woodwork on this one narrow wee topic.

Bigger picture is better though.

Big picture, pollution is increasing both per head andin numbers of heads. To deny that this is a problem, you have to deny exponential math, and every pollution impact that threatens your little microcosm. Hence the climate-change deniers. It would be 'anything else' deniers too - some choose to defend religion by denying evolution (eh PB?) but of course, denial has no effect on reality.

Big picture, CBD's have had their day - and long-distance commuting to them probably has too.

Big picture, energy scarcity will constrain us from now on, and triage will be the name of the game. Built infrastructure may have a nominal life of 50 years, but reality says 100-plus. 90% of the existing infrastructure will be extant, as we enter the powerdown phase.

PhilBest has such a slanted view that he gets me wrong, trying to fit what I say into what he wants.

I simply say that 90% of the existing infrastructure will have to be used, post peak energy. Retro-fitting (insulation, north-facing glass, heat-sinks, smart control) is more valid that greenfields construction, but of course, if you deny that there are limits, you can deny the need to address retro. That's a lot different from advocating urbanisation.

Just as you can deny the sinking, and carry on worrying about the colour of tomorrows deckchair.  I'm metaphorically suggesting it's time for lifeboats and lifejackets  - that's not a wish for the boat to be going down, just an addressing if what is happening.

There's also the issue that money is only made by using energy, to do work, to produce goods and/or services to trade (to others who need energy for the same thing). Money 'made' by 'investing' money, isn't anything. As we are seeing.

So there will be less income for even those who buy Hugh's offerings.

Having seen this all coming, we offer our place to younger folk to garden, stay, learn skills. We don't charge them. If anything, they should be charging us - they're the ones who will have to clean up after the Brash's of this world have departed.

because this narrow wee topic is about the only place there is any case for de-regulation in a very short time frame...aka Libertarian always it comes down to $ and who has it or wants it the most......I pondered if they can actually see the end game and want to unload fringe land to the young and poor suckers before it becomes worthless (in terms of money and not utility) but I doubt it....

if on the other hand many things go local being on the fringe next to good arible land might be the palce to be if commuting is no more.....the centres might actually become worthless concrete jungles, now that would be funny.....


All this says is that the actual cost of energy must still not be high enough to have affected real estate market decisions. I believe the cost of petrol does affect real estate market "location" price premiums, so it is interesting that the cost of domestic energy and efficiency measures, does not really affect RE market prices yet.

Well you are an adult so you make your own choices....I just wish they were truely in you are others like you going bankrupt so not effect me in any shape or which case I wouldnt care what yanyone else does.

Lets look at your  assumptions,

Rising wages and children demanding more expensive "ideas" (whatever those are?)

I think Ive said time and time again we are going into a depression, in which case wages will fall...or at best stag-flation in which case wages will stagnate....for me the case is overwelming for the former....but who knwos for sure.

You have a) or b)  you could have option c) (I presume) and pay down debt for a short period until things become clearer....

and option d) Sell all your properties and maybe even teh one you are in....stay in cash and wait for the huge falls I see coming....

I agree on not spending it on the rentals I would not, make sno sense but then I'd have sold them some years back anyway....on your own home, somewhat different.

Money where my mouth is? Im upping my mortgage payments as high as I Im gaining on 6% interest on capital I dont have any more....I also sold my all shares and cleared debt a year last HP or other debt.....Ive done all I can....

While had some quite moments recently I was pondering just what to do with 50 or 100k.  If I had 50K I'd pay down the remains of my mortgage and install solar hot water,...two of the biggest outgoings for me....if It was $100k that is a lot harder Id do the first 2.....I'd be tempted to buy a MiEV except they make little economic sense.....but you are guarnteed transport if there is a petrol shortage...

Otherwise I'd consider looking at developing my section to be more productive....or maybe just hang on to the cash at the moment....



".......pollution is increasing both per head and in numbers of heads......."

Utter balls. Lead, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide; all far lower than decades ago thanks to technology. Same thing in every "environmental indicator".

CO2 is the only bugaboo the enviro-fascists have still got, hence their shrillness over their disgraceful "global warming" fraud. Thank goodness more and more people are seeing through it, especially in the USA where common sense has not been so abandoned.

But read "The Decarbonising World Economy" by Jesse Ausubel. Even CO2 "will be out of the world economy by 2100 on current trends".

PDK represents a common fallacy called "hyper linear thinking". Technology is in fact exponential. Resources, while "finite", are vast. The use of these vast resources becomes increasingly efficient. Once upon a time man did not even know how to use uranian. Once upon a time man did not even know how to use gas. Once upon a time man did not even know how to use oil. Once upon a time man did not even know how to use coal.

"The oil age will come to an end, not for lack of oil, just as the stone age came to an end, not for lack of stones" - Sheikh Yamani, Saudi oil minister.

PDK says "......CBD's have had their day - and long-distance commuting to them probably has too......"

"Probably"? There you go again, showing your reluctance to stop defending Len Brown lunacy. The infrastructure we will need to use, by your own argument (".....90% of the existing infrastructure will have to be used, post peak energy.....") will have to be suburban or peri-urban infrastructure, surely? So why jump in to these debates all the time on the side of the high density, mass public transport, "planners"?

I agree that CBD's and long distance commuting have had their day, on the grounds of economics, not resource doomsaying. I regard it as a give-away of the ignorance of the pro-density pro public transport mob, that they use "peak oil" as a justification for these things, when IF it was truly a problem, it would be justification for lifestyle block living, not high density and mass transport.

It will be the LOW density cities of the USA that will show the MOST resilience to "doomsday" scenarios IF those scenarios are at all true. NOT having wasted their money on pyramid scheme urban land markets meanwhile, has put them well ahead of the pack already. Guess who will be best able to AFFORD PDK's ".......Retro-fitting (insulation, north-facing glass, heat-sinks, smart control)....." etc let alone have room to grow a bit of their own food, run chooks, etc. Good luck burning biomass for heat and cooking, and drying washing and growing your own food, etc; in an apartment.

"...hence their shrillness over their disgraceful "global warming" fraud."


Just out of interest I understood that the American Association of Petrolium Geologists was the last scientific body to reject the likelihood of human influence on the recent climate and even they changed their position in 2007?  

Why should we belive your opinion rather than the vast majority of experts (and every internationally recognized scientific organization)?

Like the OISM petition with over 30,000 signatures?

Like the credentials of the 650 (and rising) who have contacted Senator James Inhofe?

Alarmist climate scientists are all politically motivated frauds. By the way, there is only a few dozen of them involved in the IPCC process. The IPCC process was hijacked by a narrow cabal from day one.

30,000? if thats the old piece I think it is. most of it was bogus...


There is a Wikipedia which sounds quite fair to me:

Maybe there was once more than 33,000 signatures and these have had to be culled down to just over 31,000. So what?

Is the "consensus" a media created LIE or WHAT........???

Ability to recycle is not the point. We no longer need stones, we don't need to recycle them. When we no longer need oil, we won't need to recycle that either.

Read Jesse Ausubel, "Renewable and Nuclear Heresies", and George Reisman, "Environmentalism Refuted".

Spent nuclear fuel rods are a non-problem. Their actual bulk is minimal. Safe containment is routine. The very Green James Lovelock said he'd like a few to heat his house with. And if you powdered them finely and scattered them from 40,000 feet, the fallout would be undetectable.

"Safe containment is routine."  Just liek Japan you mean.  Obama cacles Yukkon mountian so no where to put it.....a "non-problem" yeah right....besides which nuclear isnt a transport(able} energy source.

Its very likely we will never not need oil, not unless we are back in the stone age.

Nothing like a fanatic to refute anything the scientists say.....not matter what its cant be true eh what!

You, texans and Texas deserve each other....good luck.



And the famous Greenie George Monbiot is discovering what happens to heretics in the Green religion after daring to write this:

".......Its very likely we will never not need oil, not unless we are back in the stone age....."

OK, we will leave that as an exemplar of our disgreement. I say, and so does Sheikh Yamani, Jesse Ausubel, George Reisman, Matt Ridley and dozens of other bright minds, that humanity will technologically move beyond oil as a significant source of energy one day. Ausubel famously says that "ALL the carbon will be out of the world's energy economy by 2100". And I think he is many times brighter than you.

Free markets and pricing mechanisms DO "slow us down", naturally and morally.

Playing god and picking on people on ideological grounds to avert an imagined threat, is the stuff of totalitarianism.

The single worst thing we can do, and are already doing, is divert the flow of money in our economies into "nothing" (which is what bubbles are) when left to itself, it would have stimulated technological advance. I argue that the most resilient economies in the world, are those of the parts of the USA where they still have large "discretionary incomes". They may be spending this on large cars and discretionary travel at the moment. But when resources are so costly that we are dead, they will have modified their behavior, paid for new technology, and be still forging ahead into "the future of humanity".

Free markets moral, uh no.....but never mind you get to watch the mess unfold.

Playing god, no being responsible, yes...

You really dont get the scale of the energy problem or the time line not at all....not one bit.....

You are going to be awfully dis-appointed when "your make believe" world crashes around you...and Texas is aboiut the best place to be to wintess that I reckon.



Every Malthusian resource doomsayer in history has died disappointed at not having witnessed their prophecies coming true. I think you will be no different.

I find it interesting that none of these comments make any reference to housing preferences.

In the end people will live in they kind of house they want to live in at that stage in their life.

In my younger days I lived in townhouses. Then I came to live in a CBD high rise apartment with a house at Karekare for weekends.

Then we moved to Kaiwaka so we could plant trees and plants without them growing into resource consents – 80,000 of them. We are a nation of gardeners and as we age gardening becomes one of the keys to healthy living. So do not try to tell me where and how to live.

Let the market supply what I want at the right time.

Housing need (as determined by planners) has nothing to do with housing preference.

Our current "house" is bigger than the planners say we "need" but although there are only two of us we do have ten bantams and three dogs, and we grow our own olives and the home office (detached) contains three offices. Then we have to house our libraries of 5,000 volumes.

Then we grow seeds and plants and flowers to sell every Saturday at the market. 

So while I did enjoy living in Westminster Court (where I could walk to Club Mirage) it no longer suits.

Don't fence us in. This is why we live in New Zealand. 

Sorry to squash your dreams , old bean ..... but Tribeless put up a link which showed moves afoot by government to stop folk growing and sharing produce ! .. I kid you not . In the name of health & hygiene , food standards , and all that malarky , we may be prohibited from private trading , even gifting of surplus produce we grow at home .

... naturally the commercial growers and seed companies will love this . Best leave food production to the experts they'll say . You're not qualified . Not efficient . Don't know your organophosphates from your phostrogen .

And all I wanted to do was to dig a hole in the garden at Mummy Gummy's,  and drop some Agria seed potatoes in ....

That is absolutely correct Gumster...I'm gonna grow some now in spite ....The rise of the potatoe classes......oh can you feel it..! the by love chips n roasters to be had.

It is a versatile wee tatey , isn't it , Count . Chips , wedges , roasted . And mashed up with some grated red onion , golden goodness to die for . Love the Agria .

..... viva le potato revolution !

...yeah and we also need David B our masterchef - 7 days budget holiday in the Philipines should be enough - where is he ?

I do believe that our esteemed colleague DB may be in Cambodia , Walter .

WHAT ! - DB steamed in Cambodia - hmm by a masterchef I hope - humanly.

Yup , in Siem Reap .

Yeah the new Food Bill going through as we speak.  See

The Bill changes growing food from a right to a government-authorised privilege.  The biggest concern is regarding _seeds_ as without good seed we really are stuffed.  It could play out very badly...

One thing (seeds) that worries me....any further and we have to put our tin foil hats on....


That's exactly right. So why is Don only focussing on the MUL and not all the other planning rules that restrict/ control development throughout Auckland?

The MUL's effect on housing affordability is many times greater than all the others.

It is ironic that large minimum lot sizes have been blamed as "exclusionary", when in US cities where there are large minimum lot sizes and NO UGB, each LARGE LOT costs far LESS than a pocket handkerchief lot ANYWHERE in any city WITH a UGB, let alone ones at a "more central" location.

Furthermore, in US cities with highly dispersed employment and very LOW "monocentricity", there is nowhere near the same "gradients" of land values from fringe-to-centre or from lowest-cost-area to highest-cost area. Locating "close to work" or close to any amenity, tends to be far more affordable.

Arbitrary, planned "monocentricity", results in such stronger income-related sorting of location efficiency. Then the wealthy elites who live in all the best locations have the gall to point the finger at the lower income people who can only afford to live in remoter locations, and say "we must penalise these people for their profligate, car-dependent "choices".

Hugh - up thread.

Re your 'trees and caves' bullshit.That was spin, which you don't need to indulge in if you have truth on your side.

You might want to think about that.

My house went through the homestar rating, scoring an 8. For less than $3000, and less than a week's work, I could nudge a '9'.

My betting is that a person like you, lives in sometiong that comes up maybe to a '4', mostly because it'll be lately built. The average NZ house is 2. Some of us are a long way ahead.

Your apology for the distortion will be acknowledged.

Absolutely spot on and well said, Hugh. PDK and you should be allies on this, against the density freaks and the land racketeers. I am all for more of the kind of homes PDK has, and see the regulations we are arguing as an obstacle to this; and PDK should see them that way too.

"The cost of doing building or doing improvements to houses is prohibitive in NZ"

Totally agree, and while the costs of consents are too steep, the cost of materials is way worse....Ive got to the stage now that I repair only...I dont improve, a) Getting my money back seems unlikely becuase prices will drop and b) even  if they were not its still to expensive....Placemakers etc are just killing their DIY market IMHO..... kind of interesting because they used to be busy some years when Im walking through and its quiet and empty....just got a thinknesier yesterday reduced by $430....lovely finish on it.....I can buy sawn timber and prepare it way cheaper....





I built my 8-rated house for 50,000 all up. Admittedly ex labour, but when the outside walls and roof went on in 42 person-hours (10.5 hours of me, my partner and two teenage offspring), that's not a great diffo.

Problems with the Council? Only that my 'value' was "too low" in their view. The did listen, though, agreed and we shook hands. I have no complaints of them.

Inspections there were three. Site/excavation, reinforcing etc, and final. No pre-lining nonsense, no moisture content,  using panel.

One one-page Producer Statement from a Civil Engineer, and I did the calcs. As any 4th-form maths student can.


If you mean sea, mountains, farming activities, fault-lines and water-courses, sorry, I can't help you. If folk like you keep adding to the numbers on the planet, and using finite sources of fuel to do so, then sooner rather than later, you throttle yourself.

Can't help you there.

I'll join the discussion re future clusters, and the best form they might take, but we have to agree on what it is we're addressing - and I suspect that day is still a year or two off.

Clayton Cosgrove remarked on National Radio - perhaps thre years ago - that he sighed when he drove through the satellite suburbs round Chch - all those leggo tiled things - and tried to spot one that was north-facing. I blame him for not regulating, given that what he saw represented stupidity.

Cracks me up when people like you use the internet to spread your message.  Just ignore the carbon footprint of the interweb.  I doubt is carbon neutral or uses solar power to power it's servers.

Screw the carbon footprint - there's no way to live sustainably in our society.  Closest one could do is go and live in the wilderness, but I suspect very few do that.

What is important is to build for the near-term future.  That means low running costs (because energy is increasing in price) and low debt (because we're heading for a depression).  That means cheap but well insulated houses with sunny perspectives.


Very true and one of the biggest parts of your carbon foot print is the financial system....having a bank account is way damaging it seems.

and of course it cracks me up when the likes of you complain on the energy we use to educate....or actually cheaper and uses less co2 than moving yourself...



"Clayton Cosgrove remarked on National Radio - perhaps thre years ago - that he sighed when he drove through the satellite suburbs round Chch - all those leggo tiled things - and tried to spot one that was north-facing. I blame him for not regulating, given that what he saw represented stupidity"

Hehe, I've done the very same thing.  We sometimes go for walks in the evening and go through one of the new sub-divisions near here.  As they're going up I try and visualise how it has been designed.  Later we come by and see the finished product;  SO MANY that have NO CLUE about positioning for the sun, or many other good design priciples.

It's rather sad, as if you go to the council (OK, before the quakes as I think that building is now toast) they have brochures and leaflets that summarise EXTREMELY WELL how to design for a comfortable house.  Follow their lead and it would improve the home no end, and at little or no cost.


The problem is the profit motive. The Developer makes more money if he squeezes an extra house on the property.

So maybe those US cities with no urban growth boundaries, low cost land, and large minimum lot sizes, have a point?

Large minimum lot sizes have often been criticised as an "exclusionary" tool, allegedly for making each lot more expensive than a smaller one would have been. But the irony is that urban growth boundaries result in higher prices for a 1/10th of an acre lot, than what the 1/2 acre minimum lots (or even the 1 acre ones, often) sell for in the former cities.

".........If folk like you keep adding to the numbers on the planet........"

What makes you think "folk like me" are "adding to the numbers on the planet"? Every time I look at the statistics, it is people on other continents, and people with totally different cultures to ours, who are doing that in any significant quantities. You are propagandising against a non-existent problem.

Anyway, it is not your business how many people there are on the planet, and where. It is evil totalitarians who make it their business. It is self-balancing anyway. Cultures where most people die because their culture is inimical to progress and modernity, tend to have lots and lots of kids - just to hopefully still have one or 2 left if and when they survive to an age where they need "care". When survival rates increase, birth rates tend to decrease. The population of the earth has grown not because of increased birth rates, but increased survival rates. So are you saying we should have withheld antibiotics from 3rd world peoples? Or given the 3rd world antibiotics and imposed a "1 child policy" on ourselves to counter-balance the effect?

There is nothing immoral about just "letting it happen". If it does. Theodore Dalrymple commented once that when he was young and idealistic, he thought the "price" system of rationing scarce resources was immoral - until he had travelled the world and seen the alternatives. People who cannot afford resources are a whole lot more noble than people who the local Kommissar has decided to withhold a ration from this week, let alone those selected for the slave labour camp.

If ANY people in the world should just keep on innovating and progressing and "growing", it is the free Western world. It is OUR technological progress that enables slower-progressing peoples to advance far faster than our own ancestors did. Look at the solar panels in 3rd world villages, for example. The single biggest lunacy we have committed, is in allowing an urban land constraint racket to swallow up massive quantities of society's money that would otherwise have been part of pro-technological progress mechanisms.

"Anyway, it is not your business how many people there are on the planet, and where. It is evil totalitarians who make it their business."

LOL....I can imagine you on the last deckchair foaming at the mouth as you slip under....."it was those dastardly totalitarians!!!"

It is our business when the popualtion needs to feed itself and it cant....and comes looking for food....then what so we do, shoot them?

Expect that in Texas, still I hope you have lots of lead and will need them.....bunker bill to the last.....

I suggest that what ever you have, treble it....


Re transport and energy.

So much waiting in the wings that will truly transfor our approach to energy and transport.

Don't need to believe in AGW or Peak Oil to see the merit in this. 

A colleague of mine from MInneapolis has emailed me asking "Here is a YouTube that explains how we can re-tool transportation with in a solar budget by 2020:

This was presented to an international group at Duke University last week. It was very well received. Peak Oil is also explained. Would you please forward this to your subscribers?"

 I am not picking winners – just showing these jPods as another example of Energy/Transport technology waiting in the wings. One of the photos is freakily reminiscent of Christchurch CBD.

Owen McShane

Yes, solar is the future. It's hard to see how it can,t be, All energy comes from the sun, and when we've used the stored variety, we'll have to use the direct.

The problem is getting there from here - Business as Usual won't survive the morph. Growth there won't be, triage there will.

Yep, the technology-blind hyperlinear thinker troll on just never sleeps, like rust, death and taxes.

I don't know why the owners of this blog put up with it. It turns what is meant to be a serious financial and economics blog, into a near total waste of time. If I wanted to debate your crap all day, I would go to Frogblog or some other loony Green site.

Phil - if you think this blog is a near total waste of time please feel free to move on.

I have already, most of the time, you might notice. I just think occasionally, it might be worth another shot to see if sense has prevailed yet.

Which is funny because you demonstrate not only zero engineering capability but zero maths and time are simply blind to the expotential and time delayfunctions...

Its simple , we time to change course and right now we dont even know the direction.....except down seems probable.

Financial blogs, should be interested in things that are going to greatly effect finance and the economy....if nothing else where do you think the money is going to come from to effect change?

Look [----- edited ----], when the energy cost to the US economy exceeds 6% the US economy goes into recession thats finance and an impact. An alternative fuel (even if there was one and there is not) means we have to ramp up its production while keeping oil infrastructure going and while oil takes 4~6% of the economy....taking what will be another 6% of the economy out and into alternative energy is going to mean we spend 10%+ on energy what the hell do you think will happen to economies? (and the US in particular?) just carry on? you are deluded if you think that.

Also we are assuming from the above that we find an alternative that has the equiv of wont be it might be at most half but could be 1/3rd....that meas the money being committed will have to be a lot larger...twice doesnt seen do that math...thats 6% to keep oil going and 12% for alternatives.....even as we swap out we will be looking at 12~18%....2 to 3 times what the US economy can stand....

That is depression impact, and that is clearly financial...


and just where is your financial discusion? all I see is a libertarina banging his drum....


You raise a very good question, which is part of what I am going on about:

".......where do you think the money is going to come from to effect change......"

Economies without urban land price bubbles have plenty of honest money circulating in them still.

The economic ruin we see everywhere else is the result of the flow of money being sucked into the bottomless pit that is a property bubble.

This is classic political self-fulfilling prophecy stuff.

I fully agree, and am saying so, that economies will run out of money, not resources. And this will be mostly the result of the very policies that were designed on the allegation that "we need to conserve resources".

Hugh Pavletich said “We got land openned up around Christchurch at much the same time..."

Much of that development sprawled out onto land that was unsuitable for housing. Why build concrete pad housing on a swamp or riverbed??? That is a perfect example of growth for the sake of growth, rather than thoughtful development.

We don’t need any of that nonsense in Auckland.

Auckland is an extremely active lifestyle city where it’s inhabitants enjoy frequent access to the extensive coastline, including the rather different West coast and East coast beaches, and all sorts of activities in between. It is also an isthmus which creates a number of challenges which will not be helped by treating Auckland as if it were just the same as any other city.

Aucklanders are an active group of people whose patterns of living and moving around are different to many other places. It is not Hong Kong, nor like Singapore. (Yet. thank God...)

The recent RWC first-night fiasco demonstrates that our infrastructure is not up to the task of hosting it’s current inhabitants having a good time, let alone an increased number.

There is another generation of infrastructural development required before we can even consider unleashing a greater urban growth/population growth strategy. And that infrastructure must NOT include trains (which seem unable to overtake one another when one of them gets stuck...)

It’s not hard to see what happens elsewhere in the world where ongoing “growth” becomes the mantra for future benefit. While it may bring some benefits, it removes others. The “growth” mantra is dead.

The ability to identify an “arbitrary” line which denotes the limit of unfettered growth, and allows the continuation of “lifestyle” environments is a good thing, and it is something I hope Auckland never loses.

Improving Auckland does not require us to emulate the ongoing growth strategies of cities that are very different to what we want Auckland to be. There are absolutely unlimited quantities of people who would like to move here from other countries. Why make Auckland’s lifestyle subservient to the desire some people seem to have to make this the home of the worlds masses?

Keep Auckland in the list of most liveable cities. Don’t drop it down the list by swamping it with yet more people who simply don’t already understand what makes it good.

If you want more people living in your back yard, great, put in a Portacom and go for it. Just just don’t clog up everyone elses infrastructure.


you are forgetting that I, as a human, and as an Aucklander, have rights too.

There is no need to accept your proposal that everyone else around the world has some "basic human right" to live anywhere they want.

Put simply - I do not want to see overcrowding brought to Auckland from anywhere else.

The farm that is next to me has been a farm for a very long time. It was purchased as a farm, exists as a farm today, and should remain a farm tomorrow.

Those people who you would encourage to come from their overpopulated countries and turn that farm into housing can just stay where they are and leave at least one city as an enjoyable place to live.

I think maybe you are using some crazy UN resolution as a marketing tool for your own financial gain.

Spreading and increasing the dynamics of overpopulation is the greatest evil one can inflict on humans and human rights.


Typical high flown sounding stuff, based on lies from start to finish, that underpins all totalitarian movements. I won't waste my time repeating what I have said earlier in the thread. Time to finish with this stuff before it does the even greater damage to humanity that it is yet capable of. Far worse damage than the "harm" that it alleges to address - as with all totalitarianisms.

Phil, you commented a bit further above: "Free markets and pricing mechanisms DO "slow us down", naturally and morally.

Unfortunately free markets create a roller coaster ride. They create booms and bubbles followed by busts.

The role of government is to limit the extent of the pain, and to prevent the worst of predictable stupidity that free markets often create.

This is most true where land is concerned.

It is a finite resource and must be managed.

A free market approach to land use in NZ would result in every last hectare of land falling into foreign control (in it's many guises) and not be available to our own future offspring. How anyone can justify such a thing is beyond me.

This is so totally wrong. There has never been such a long era of stable urban land prices, and low volatility in economic cycles at least as far as it depended on "property", as the era when "automobility" broke the monopoly power of land owning interests and rapid urban growth onto low cost rural land, kept urban land prices stable.

The OECD and other institutions have been increasingly pointing the finger of blame currently, at regulations that are "pro cyclical". UGBs are probably the single worst one.

The belief that regulations per se introduce stability rather than add volatility, is one of the worst hubrises in this whole issue.

I do not mind at all if the foreign ownership of land is discouraged by special taxes.

Hugh - you (and the UN,come to that) are in trouble with 'rights'.

Firstly, you meed rules for a society. Or maybe you just randomly choose which side of the road you drive on of a morning?

Secondly, we are still a biological species. You will eat, drink and shit today. If you don't do all of them reasonably regularly, you will die. I don't care how rich you were or weren't, that truth applies.

Biological species need not to overrun their habitat. They may extend it artificially, but that requires energy, to do the work that is the extending.

With me so far?

So, if you go into biological overshoot, and do so on the basis of increasing reliance on energy which was biologically-formed (over such a long time-span that it is effectively a finite resource) then it's not whether you will hit the wall, but when?

The 'rights' of the individual members of that species in overshoot, become a bit moot, and it's not when energy 'runs out' that they are moot, but at the point when energy maxes out - essentially half-way through the resource (there's a lot of tech talk there which we''ll leave for the sake of clarity).

So - (and sorry, your mate PB is in some kind of fairy-land here) the least able to access the resource (the poorest, by and large) will crap out first. Read: Haiti, Bangladesh, Somalia, Rwanda, etc.

The more resource-endowed (the richest, by and large) will hang on longer. An artificial 'survival of the fittest', in a way.

No species has done what we've done - extend itself via artificially-gotten energy (we've done it since we used fire to off-load the energy required for digestion). We have a choice, at the peak, or half-way through. Either we voluntarily work out a way of reducing population and/or consumption, and follow it through, or we go Mad Max - survival of the really fittest.

Rights?  A nice concept in an energy-rich society. The trick is to keep mutual respect on the inevitable downside.

Oh yeah, we need rules for a society. Hitler would love it. Enviro fascism is the next Nazi-ism if we don't finish with it and its lies now.

What people like you don't accept is that Nature is the ultimate boss and you have to get in line (ultimately).

Being able to beat the microbes and beasts comes with responsibilites.

You fail to understand what I have been saying on this thread. I say that it is moral to let nature sort us out if and when we reach that point.

I say it is not moral to impose a totalitarianism on humans "just in case". Especially not one that reduces our ability to adapt and advance technologically rather than enhances it.

The biggest problem in all this, is a particular kind of "technical" people who do not understand economics and markets, and who are attracted to totalitarianism. It has always been the way. It must be a fascinating subject for study by psychology.

It's a strange kind of morality that embraces freemarketism as a way for humans to find happiness and health.

Surely there can be no more terrifying totalitarianism than allowing the free market to hold sway?


That sums up the crux of the question. This is vital for humanity.

The "free market holding sway" is the "most terrifying totalitarianism".....?

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, "yes, except for all the other forms of government that have ever been tried".

And you call yourself "reason"?

So did the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks, and the Khmer Rouge.

The free market is more terrifying than those? The free market is more terrifying than tribalism? More terrifying than life under the Aztecs or the Huns?

And you call youself "reason"?

But I must qualify this argument. Free markets arose out of Reformation Christianity, exemplified by the founding fathers of the USA, and the alleged callousness of those free markets (compared to what?) have always been ameliorated by Reformation Christian charity. Carry-overs from what was previously the default conditions applying to humanity, such as the existence of slavery, were not a "consequence" of that progress at all (contrary to the lies of the cultural marxists) but were eventual and inevitable casualties of that progress.

You probably confuse Capitalism and Mercantilism in your thinking, too.

Mercantilism predates Capitalism. Mercantilists are distinguished by their collaboration with the State, to the mutual benefit of the power of both. Capitalists as described by Adam Smith, merely provide what people want at a fair price without State guarantees of "protection" or monopolies and such like.

Ayn Rand said of the Mercantilist kind of business man, that they should be hung. The bad name they get "Capitalism" is responsible for the greater amount of harm done to humanity by State hubris - as with the very issue we are discussing on this thread. There is hardly a better illustration of "mercantilism" than urban growth containment.

Here is economist Mason Gaffney in 1964:

".....To the dominant landowning oligarchy, few limitations on competition
commend themselves with quite the same force of logic as
limitations on the entry of new lands into urban use. It is therefore no
accident that negative containment is the most respectable and salable
kind of planning in many quarters. It harmonizes all too mellifluously
with the interest of a dominant class. But from the viewpoint of social
economy, of other interest groups, of the general welfare, of the region,
state, and nation, and even of most urban landowners in their roles as
workers and capitalists, negative containment is an instrument of
monopoly exploitation....."

In what way are all of those regimes that you mention anything other than free markets?

Who kept them in check? No one. They did exactly what they wanted.

Khmer Rouge? Huns? God help us! What are you advocating??

Greed, avarice and a steadfast lack of concern for others is exactly what those regimes have in common with free market policies.

Reason - I remember when a narrow religious type wanted religious education at our kids school.

Big meeting, one of the god-squad stated that "Europe was the result of centuries of Christian love".

I retorted that it was more like "centuries of armed conflict; results of".

PB starts from a skewed base, in that he wants an outcome and tries to argue everything else on that basis. He probably doesn't do multiple variables very well:

Yikes! I'm not sure I'm any good at such multiple variables either.   That article's a bit too highbrow for me this time of night  :-)

I get your point about the so-called Christian love. I remember a quote from somewhere: "man dominates man to his injury..."

Seems there is always some new power structure waiting to rise to power and rule society for it's own ends.

I think we are lucky to live in a democracy that still functions relatively well and gives us a pretty reasonable chance to have a bash at living in harmony.

As long as we all keep progressing healthy dialog and contributing to the advancement of law (and it's upholding) there's a reasonable chance of keeping NZ as a healthy functioning community.


"it is moral to let nature sort us out if and when we reach that point."

Which will be with lead, desease, pestilance or starvation.....or we try and do it the humane limiting our numbers and what we really are a fanatic to be prepared to sit back and let nature "take its course"....

Unfortuantely for you, my champion can kicker "take its course" is about now, or within 20 years MAX....most likely <10 being in texas you will get to see clearly I think....mind you like a true fanatic you will be resolute to the end.....

The UN is off its rocker btw.....but then Im hardly surprised you quote them as you are both fringe....left or right really does not matter when you get to those extremes.


Lets look at Pakistan for would is quite likely in the short or mediuma term future.....avoidable if they had not over-populated....

"During the meeting Gilani told Goldwyn the energy shortage along with terrorism and stabilising the economy were the main challenges Pakistan was facing.

Goldwyn conveyed to Gilani that if Pakistan wanted to deal with the energy crisis then the country would have to make difficult decisions"

What you are saying is it is perfectly ok for this to happen....lets not forget Pakitsan has nukes....



Double posted in error.

There is a certain culture, of which Pakistan is representative, that simply will be "selected against" early in the process of resource doomsday. That is their fault. Read "The True Believers" by V S Naipaul. To these people, the West just happens to be a source (furnished by Allah) of guns and nukes. Their own culture is completely uncurious about technological progress for the sake of its benefit for mankind.

What you are saying is that we too have to impose a culture of unreason on ourselves so that we will be "selected against" early rather than late. If it gets that bad.

I am saying that the last humans standing if it ever did come to that, will be the ones who currently live the "most wastefully" by your standards. This is because they are the ones with the most discretionary income, not the ones with the least discretionary income thanks to behavior-changing regulatory  penalties that buy no-one anything.

The US for instance has no descretioanry income as such, you are leaving out debt.  Also income is a call on energy and resources, therefore the countries wit the most remaining natural resources they can hang on to will probably be the last ones this I mean countries like NZ and OZ.

I see you are trying to put words in my mouth, please dont because no, you dont understand how I think...."most wastefuly" no because the Europeans run more efficiently, the US for instance is simply in-efficient and now has no time or resources to become so (and no desire).  Things like energy and land density ie v population is going to be key.

"This is because they are the ones with the most discretionary income, not the ones with the least discretionary income thanks to behavior-changing regulatory  penalties that buy no-one anything."

Further you confuse personal discretioanry income v a Nations discretionary income....and ignore time and simply dont get it at all....

Pakistan is likely going to be a point of contagion....the US will probably simply implode....I think it will be one of the first developed world economies to go...

Last man standing, if it ever got to that then the Internet would be long gone so we would simply never know. Im betting it will be NZ, you, Texas....Im more than happy with that bet.



"The US" is made up of a wide variety of different types of economy, kind of like the EU includes Germany and Greece.

There are stand-outs in the USA at both extremes. If Texas was a separate nation, it would be the economy with the most discretionary income in it, of any economy in the world.

Nothing has sucked discretionary income out of first world economies all over the world, like UGB's have.

Steven says:

" really are a fanatic to be prepared to sit back and let nature "take its course"......"

The real dangerous fanatics are the ones who say "trust us, we know disaster is coming, therefore sell your souls and bodies to us and do as we say in every detail and mankind will be saved. It may be painful for many of you meanwhile, but trust us, we know it is necessary".

Where oh where is the George Orwell today who can write the book about the Green totalitarians?

Your way is the sure path to hell, hence why I dont think the USA has a hope in hell.....Many other countries will be in the "long emergency" mode for decades...yes somewhat more authoritarian I suspect but no not totalitarian.....typical of you, its black or white, no shades of grey are possible....


The USA in your judgement, is the least resilient economy.......????

What a JOKE. Maybe California will go down with the other parts of the 1st world ruined by Green unreason. But most of it will be OK, especially if it cuts California loose.

by Hugh Pavletich | 01 Oct 11, 12:52am




Does that apply to people from the worlds over populated countries Hugh?

Note Phil Heatly praises your approach but is completely quiet on the effect of  migration  on house prices. The anticipated growth of Auckland is not (as I understand it) based on people from Christchurch moving to Auckland. It is based on active marketing, in opposition to poorer Kiwis and first home owners.

What is left when large numbers of wealthy migrants arrive after house prices are bid upwards and wealth trickles (allegedly) down through the builder of the luxury yachts etc. Does agricultural production, fishing, forestry, tourism, ramp up? Do we count on smart people out thinking the zillions of smart people elsewhere? Oh I know the popultion and it's values are diluted and refreshed and the call goes out for more migration.



The Green Party would agree with you:

Anti-immigration feeling has no place in the Green party Immigration and Population policies released today, Green MP Keith Locke says.

"Our policy is the opposite of Winston Peters'," the Party's Immigration Spokesperson Keith Locke says.

don't accuse the Green Party ["Green Movement"] of being green.

Yeah, I pointed out somewhere earlier in this thread that although the Greens subscribe to the idea that the world is running out of resources and will become a much nastier place as people fight over them, they are anti defence.

They are pro immigration and anti defence for the same reason. They have a self-loathing death wish regarding western civilisation. They and the people who supported Communism in the cold war, share the wish for "the other side" to win - whatever it is. Leave the resources in the ground for "future generations" - actually means leave the resources in the ground for "whoever takes over NZ. We prefer them to have them".

Too true.

They are very short sighted.

PhilBest: Can you please clarify: Are you Pro-Immigration?, or, Anti-Immigration?

I agree very much with this guy:

I am pro high quality immigration. I don't care "how much". NZ suffers from a shortage of people, period.

The governments of NZ in the late 1800's, that borrowed big money to do rails and infrastructure, assumed from the trajectory of immigration that was occurring then, that NZ was going to have ten to twenty million people by about 1940. They did not regard this as a problem, but merely progress to normal modern nationhood. After all, Pommie-land still had several times this many people in a similar size land mass.

There is a certain type of Asian who is known among Asians as a "Banana". Yellow on the outside, white on the inside. It is intended as a term of criticism, but the "Bananas" themselves are proud of it.

There is a "Bananas" conference every few years. No-one has heard of Antony Young, who was a keynote speaker at one in Akl a few years ago - but there are few NZ-ers of whom I am more proud to be a fellow countryman.

These guys appreciate western civilisation and freedom more than we appreciate it ourselves. I would trust voters and even soldiers drawn from among the ranks of these people, to stand for our civilisation; wheras I do not trust the whinging neo-Marxists (and especially the watermelon variety) that infest our current population.

The Taiwanese and the South Koreans will probably fight the hardest of any nations ever in history have fought for "freedom", if they are ever called to do so. Asians who have got out from under totalitarianism are possibly the world's finest people to have in your society today.

It is one of the tragedies of humanity today, that the majority of people in certain "minority" cultures in the West, throw in their lot with the neo-Marxist "long march through the institutions" rather than learning from the Asians and others who arrive with the shirts on their backs and proceed to "excel" immediately on every social measure; reaping the benefit of our civilisation and its freedoms instead of buying the victim narrative.

Hugh, when you say

"To think that back around 1850 (just 160 years ago) at the time of the Great Stink in London (when the started to put sewage underground), the average life expectancy of a male in that city was just 28 years."

you offer a perfect example of what happens when we give in to the inherent reproductive desire to increase the human race before the infrastructure exists to support it.

Is there any reason why Auckland should not stop at it's current population?

If it can't stop now, why should it ever stop?

Why should it not become just another New York?

Because we don't want it to be that way.

Vive la difference!

"......Because we don't want it to be that way......."


So "we" are saying, stuff the younger generation. Unaffordable housing is just part of a necessary grand eugenics plan. Make sure they can't afford to reproduce.

I don't recall all this actually being part of someone's election platform. It is high time this kind of underlying ideology was exposed so that voters can actually judge it as it deserves to be. Time to expose the Green Naziism lurking under the smug face of "environmental concern".

"We" ... are the ones who are assisting our younger generation to find homes. (No one else will).

"We" ... are the ones who are seeing that new subdivisions in Auckland are not providing housing for our kids, they are providing housing for people who seem to come from strange lands and strange cultures.

Maybe I missed your point.

Are you saying that you support further development and subdivision as long as it is reserved for the "younger generation".

I would probably support that idea.

"We" "... are the ones who are assisting our younger generation to find homes........"

CLASSIC. Force the prices up, then establish touchy feely social programs etc subsidised by the taxpayer, to "help the younger generation find homes".

A CLASSIC illustration of how the Left continually grows the size of government, builds bureaucratic empires, and reduces individual self-determination.

"Government isn't the solution, government is the problem" - Reagan's famous saying applies to this situation perfectly. You won't find a socialist advocating the true solution of removing the regulatory distortion that is the problem - no, THEIR answers always involve new bureaucracies, taxpayer's money, and increased encroachment of dependency into society.

You missed the point. I said "we" are doing it ourselves.

There is no government program offering homes to my kids. However, there IS a government program encouraging clusters of migrants to enter NZ and have easy access to Housing Corp homes, as well as to compete on the "free" market for other Auckland properties.

The odd thing is this - the two groups who want land freed up so that we can boost immigration are:

a) Developers who want the financial "free market" gain,

b) "Moralistic" greenies who want "freemarket" immigration.

None of this makes NZ a better place.

You simply refuse to "get it",  that there is far more "gain", and for nothing, when growth restraints force up the price of all urban land within a boundary.

Developers under a free market, get to make a modest profit on each house they build. Some fraction of $200,000.

When you can make $200,000 on one section just by holding it for 5 years; why is this something that you allege "developers" don't want???????

There is far more money at stake in keeping this racket going, than what can ever be made the honest way, making a modest profit on each house you build.

"........There is no government program offering homes to my kids......."

No, but this is always the preferred "solution" of the Left, to housing unffordability for which their own policies are responsible. Good for you if you aren't having a bar of it, but I am baffled why, if you care about your kids so much, you aren't "pro reform".

I have commented elsewhere why I think the Greens are pro-immigration as well as anti defence, all the while being anti resource use and anti land use. They are essentially destructive in their objectives. They cannot possibly have "good faith" on all this. Maybe some of them don't have "bad faith" but only because their minds are bereft of any moral or rational capacity. Kind of like primitive religion with its mantras.

By the way, I am spewing long since, about the Govt doing this sort of thing:

While local governments are engaging in de facto eugenics and making it too expensive for decent hardworking young people to breed, "Housing NZ" is tearing down apartments that it's "clients" "don't want to live in", and building FIVE BEDROOM homes instead, for them. All income linked rentals of course. Of course we musn't restrict the "rights" of people who don't work at all - THEY must be "empowered" at taxpayers expense, to have as large families as they want..........

Yeah, the Pomare thing is somewhat sickening.

Unless those new 5 bedroom places they are building are communal facilities to house something like psych patients who need group care.

I doubt it though. 

Not only that when the infrsstructure can longer support this many....this is where we will go back to.....far shorter life expectancy.


The world's population peaks around 2050 and then goes into decline.

What's the problem?

The problem is that it seems just a little stupid and unnecessary to let human populations have to reach some sort of natural limit, then start decaying.

At least in this part of the world we could instead set healthy limits and manage our communities somewhat better.

Looking ahead to some sort of natural catastrophe in 2050 as a means of controlling human endeavours just seems a little too much like watching an infestation of rats destroy itself.

I kinda hoped for better in NZ.

Rats don't have technology. Humans do. Technology is exponential.

Every time humans have seemed about to hit their limits, there is another breakthrough of some kind.

Totalitarian governments actually prevent the breakthroughs.

Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen said in 1998, "There has never been a famine in a democracy with a free press".

Japan has had to be a net importer of food for decades. This has not prevented them from exporting value added products and getting wealthy. But urban land price inflation has derailed their economic miracle. They should have learned from the Dutch, who are just as short of land, but who avoid urban land price inflation by compulsorily acquiring it. (Shifting taxes onto land would work too).

These technically minded, totalitarian-sympathising people simply cannot grasp the inverse correlation between freedom and "famines" - or "runout" of any resource. "But it is all about quantifiable limits", they wail.

Winston Churchill once referred to the risk of humanity "sinking into a dark abyss lit only by the dim light of perverted science". I can think of nothing more appropriate to describe the outcome of "Green" self-fulfilling prophecies if the progress of their ideologies in the "mainstream" are not halted.

"...They should have learned from the Dutch, who are just as short of land, but who avoid urban land price inflation by compulsorily acquiring it...."


That is an awesome suggestion. About the best idea on this whole blog.

I was talking about Japan, note.

Why would a country of 4 million people and a country of 130 million people occupying similar land masses, both have to use such a policy to keep urban land prices down?

You know what prevents this being enacted in Japan or Britain at least? The political influence of the "capital gainers".

What prevents this policy being advocated, ever, at any time, by the environmentalist advocates of urban growth containment? Are they stooges for the capital gainers? Are they so economically ignorant they fail to see that 1) they are being used as useful idiots by the capital gainers 2) they are wrecking economies and societies in the process; plus, do they care about the wreckage they are causing anyway? Seeing they hate western civilisation so much, might they not just be explicitly working to destroy it?

"Why would a country of 4 million people and a country of 130 million people occupying similar land masses, both have to use such a policy to keep urban land prices down?"

Answer: Because a country of 4 million might (if they were sensible) want to avoid the problems inherent in becoming a more densely populated country. For example, the country of 130 million that you refer to is reliant on a large number of nuclear power stations because they have too many people. One natural disaster at Fukushima gives ample evidence of the downside of having such population pressure that you have to utilise such potentially dangerous energy sources.

Maybe you think 4 million is too low a figure. What then is your upper limit for a happy, healthy NZ?  And when we reached that figure, would you then be in agreement with having the limits that you currently reject?

I'm happy with the 4+ million we have. It's plenty.


"Are they so economically ignorant they fail to see that 1) they are being used as useful idiots by the capital gainers 2) they are wrecking economies and societies in the process"

Capital gains on land is a disgusting aberration, and is central to the longterm maintenance of a crime base. If we were to adopt the Dutch land policy you mentioned it would eliminate a lot of the crime drivers in society. People don't generally get involved in crime when they have equal access to land as their neighbours do.

Crime takes off when one person locks up resources that nature intended to be used by all; leaving others feeling disenfranchised. The progressive loss of the egalitarian NZ land vision over the last 40 years has taken a significant toll.

I think it's morally wrong for a baby boomer (or anyone else) to own several homes. It prevents the generation coming after them from having reasonable access to land.

I have no problem with a person owning as many HOUSES as they can afford to build, but the land beneath those houses should not be owned by such a person. It needs to be part of the pool available to future generations.

The best way to avoid "wrecking societies" is to ensure that all members of that society do the following:

1) Avoid having more children than they have the resources to nurture.

2) Accept the rule of law.

3) Maintain a healthy environment.

4) Avoid practices that deprive their fellow citizens of the benefits of the previous 3 concepts.

I will soon be voting for the party that I feel best fits this model. Don Brash isn't likely to get my vote as he seems to support easing of Cannabis legislation, and seems to want ongoing population growth (I guess as a means of capturing imported $ as a result).

I won't be voting Greens for much the same reasons.

I might vote for John Key, as he has shown a firm ability for well-balanced decision making (even if I don't agree with him on various issues, at least he carefully considers his decisions).

Sorry Don, you seem to care more about the $ than you do about the people. (You should have stayed as the Governor of the Reserve Bank, as you did an outstanding job in that role).

Human capital is more important than $ capital. And to those who say we must always put the $ first so that we can balance the books, I would offer the example of the largest economy in the world, the good old USA, who owe trillions, and just keep on printing money. Why worry too much about the $ when it no longer has much meaning. (There is a reason why gold and silver have climbed so high...)

Why chase the growth $ when people and quality of life are so important? At some point we all need to face what life is like when we have to live within our current resources.

Any further extended land development should, in my opinion be on land leased from Government ownership (ala the "gateway housing" scheme) so as to avoid repeating/continuing the R.E capital gains fiasco.

Sounds a bit communist, but where land is concerned I think it's worth considering.

We eat oil, oil goes into decline about now, or within 10 it wont get to a max in 2050....max might go to 2030....maybe....but I suspect there will be a ot of starvation and rioting long before 2030.....

It wont decline quietly....

Thast the problem



So you Greenies "solution" is to strangle our economy with regulations, burn up our society's discretionary spending money on inflated urban land prices, and bring the free market process of innovation and technological advance to a grinding halt.

Thus ensuring that when things turn nasty, we will be among the first to die or be popped off - you Greenies antagonism to responsible defence policy is just another give-away that what drives you is the desire for the extinction of our civilisation. Too bad about the more primitive, totalitarian cultures that replace us, which are far less responsible "stewards of nature".

If your kind had had political influence when whales and firewood were getting scarce, civilisation would never have discovered uses for oil, let alone gas or uranium. The whole world would have become Easter Island back then, and the "Green" totalitarians (thank God they haven't got their way at critical stages of human progress in the past) would have proudly insisted that they were right.

Matt Ridley ends his great book "The Rational Optimist" on a sombre note - the threat he sees to the continuation of human progress, is "Green" totalitarianism and self-fulfilling prophecies, politically inflicted collapse and famine and "scarcity". If the Bolsheviks had been Greens, they would have said that the famines that they created, were just "overpopulation hitting the limits to earth's resources". Your kind make me sick.

All over the place? Because I want Auckand to be subject to population controls and land development controls?

You said: "Some years ago, I had a wonderful chat with Ruseel Norman and Sue Bradford on these issues. Lets say it was a full and frank discussion."

Lucky you. I wouldn't have bothered. Sorry to say it, but in my opinion Greenies are just as silly as Free-marketers. Not sure why you'd want to spend so much time with either of those two groups.

The simple fact is that we should value land more, not less. Carving it up and importing foreigners to buy it is not my idea of developing a healthy city

Reason - that said, there's nobody better to vote for, currently. Labour are long-term goners, they caame into being with Dickens, and they went when the blue collars went to China. The middle class residue all mortgaged for the second ensuite, and are about to become the nouveau poor, thus likely to vote for anything that makes them temporarily 'richer'.

In time - perhaps soon - we'll see something akin to the old Values Party, there will simply be too big a void to fill, for it not to happen.

Hugh - I posted this up-thread, but it's worth you taking a goooooood look. Note particularly, what happens when World3 is run with double the resources (C:Scenario 2, Doubled Resources):

Note that another doubling (atfer that, meaning 4x estimates) would give less-than-half the extra 30-40 years that the first doubling does. In simple terms, even if we have wildly underestimated resources, the collapse happens well before the end of the century.

I find people clinging to little 'facts' like your 'median multiple', just a bit small in their though-range when addressing the above. A bit like asking the ship's purser whether more deckchairs will be available tomorrow, just as he's climbing into the lifeboat.

The here and now is being accepted as the norm. I agree with some of  reason's points. Auckland has changed dramatically in the space of two decades, due largely to un-planned (un-controlled) growth brought about largely by un-controlled (un-planned) immigration. The qualities that attracted migration in recent years are being over-whelmed and changing the place, and not for the better. Reason says he doesn't want the changes being brought in. It is too late. It has already happened. Old-time residents, will be aware of it, but, like the frog-in-the-boiling-pot, it is part of the landscape and not so obvious. To the frequent visitor it is more than obvious.

Once upon a time, say 100 years ago, migration from say the UK and Ireland and parts of Europe tended to be the disenfranchised in their own land who sought the potential for a new start in the antipodes, the lands of milk and honey and sunshine. They tended to arrive with $1 in their pocket with the hope of a fresh start. They started at the bottom of the heap and pushed the locals who were already on the heap upwards. Everyone benefitted. No-one was disadvantaged. Now, over the past two decades the game has changed. The wealthy from other countries are arriving as economic or political refugees with economic clout. They come in at the top of the heap and push the locals down economically speaking. They have the economic clout to out-bid the locals. Price no object.

The worst aspects are they are arriving at a rate greater than the existing society can assimilate them. They are not assimilating. They are organising into self-help enclaves. That is one very noticeable change in Auckland. The enclaves. It is new. It is foreign. With the consequential pushing the locals out of their nests, and out-pricing the local new-home creators.

It does not matter if these kinds of people arrive in any city without a UGB, in their droves; there is no effect on property prices.

Houston and Dallas-Forth Worth are the only cities in the first world that are growing as fast as the fastest growing third world cities; and their property prices still refuse to move upwards.

Immigrants of both the kinds you describe, are beneficial to an economy as long as regulatory distortions are not causing unintended consequences. The danger is, we will decide to do without the immigration and the benefits it brings, because of the regulatory distortions - and we will spiral down economically even faster.

The peak in population has nothiing to do with catastrophe.

The simple fact of life is the wealth is the most potent contraceptive. As populations get wealtheir their family formation rates go down.

In 200 years one calculation has suggested there will be only one Japanese left.

All the European populations are in decline and are only sustained by migration.

The second most potent contraceptive is female literacy. This is why the decline in family formation rates in the Indo-Asian are demographers by surprise. Female prime ministers in India and Pakistan(?) placed great emphasis on women's rights and reading was a key part of the social revolution they brought into being.

Probably why the were shot.


o mC S - that's stupid.

What is 'wealth'?

It's the ability to buy goods and otr services.

What are they meade of and by?

Resources, is what.

If your use of resources goes beyong the replenishment rate, then sooner or later, there will be less ability to get 'wealthy'.

Is it so hard to understand?

It's true that birth rates fall with wealth but it is only a small proportion of the world population who are wealthy. I have spent a bit of time in Japan and I know most of them would love to have a lawn.

Japan is a fading star as China takes over. Where does that leave the wealth of the average Japanese who relies on a vibrant export industry?

Japan provides the classic illustration of an economy hitting its limits as its urban land prices inflate.

Perhaps in Japan's case it could be said they are short of land. That only makes it more insane for land rich countries to "level the playing field" with Japan and lumber their own urban economies (which are what matter) with identical disadvantages vis-a-vis land prices.

I predict China will hit the wall any time now. They have an urban land price bubble even more insane than Japan's was in 1990. They are not short of land (their overall population density is far lower than Europe's) - their bubble is due to a "racket" in urban land, same as us. But they don't have Greenies providing a fig leaf for the racketeers, over there it is corrupt Communist Party officials that are responsible.

They have millions of people needing to move out of the slums, and they have apartments being built flat out, standing empty, because the rents being asked are far higher than the low income earners can pay. This is because certain well connected people have banked massive capital gains, and run.

You could bring new apartments to the market in Houston far cheaper in outright dollar terms than in most Chinese cities, let alone as a factor of local incomes.

Natural resources are infinite because they are all human inventions – with the exception of alluvial gold and meteroric iron.

But prior to the invention of high powered electrolysis you could have hunted the globe forever and never found aluminium.

So we can never run out of resources because we can never run out of the power to invent.

As the raw material of invention gets more scarce then we invent substitutes.

None of the raw materials are destroyed unless we fire them into space. They are just chemically transformed - but they are still  here in dumps or elsewhere.

That is why resources don't get more expensive over the long term. 

Whale oil got expensive as whales could not match demand. Then we discovered a substitute - called oil.

Name me a resource that has run out. Of course animals and plants go extinct. They disappear all the time.

Over 95% of the creatures that have ever lived are now extinct. Do we seriously miss them?

And some also say that the American civil war was a complete waste of time , because mechanical harvesters and ginning machines would have soon displaced the slave labour anyway .

Mankind progresses ...... apart from the Green Party , of course  , we celebrate the fact that our ancestors came down from the trees to graze at McDonalds .

... keep up the good blogging . Excellent stuff .

Mankind progressess.


Urban life

In recent years Auckland has ranked fifth and Wellington 12th in the annual global quality of city life rankings by Mercer, a US consultancy. But Auckland, more than Wellington, faces a challenge. Fast population growth over the past decade has strained infrastructure, boosted house prices and reduced the quality of life in the Auckland region. Addressing such issues goes right to the heart of the long-term strategies of the region’s councils for obvious economic and social reasons. Auckland’s ambition to become a truly international metropolis depends in part on maintaining the quality of life, which in turn requires bold vision, sound strategies, good regulatory processes and citizen commitment. Clearly, the RMA is a critical tool to help achieve those goals, which in turn will then help attract migrants, and help keep existing residents here. On present forecasts, the region could have a population of around 2m by 2050, a 65% rise from current levels, suggesting the challenges will be formidable.

from 1990 - 2004: population 21%; economy 54%; industrial production 32%; road freight 46%; car traffic 57%; energy consumption 42%; CO2 emissions 49%; household waste 35%. If we are to have sustainability with capitalism we clearly need to disconnect economic growth from resource use growth and that is going to involve a very significant change in the way this market system works.

Too bad for local young people as the sneering elites turn their city into a "truly international metropolis" ranked high for quality of life by international organisations carrying out their rankings for the use of internationally mobile executives on multi million salaries.

"........Fast population growth over the past decade has strained infrastructure, boosted house prices and reduced the quality of life in the Auckland region...."

Says the terminally ignorant NZ mainstream media............

What I always ask about this, is why is it right now, that every city with a UGB is making this claim? Why are cities with 300,000 people making this claim now, and cities with 1,000,000 people? Why did the cities with 1,000,000 people not make this claim when they reached 300,000?

But every city (especially in the USA) with no UGB, stable urban land prices, and rapid growth in population and business, still have the lowest overall local taxation and indeed this is what attracts the population and businesses, along with the low urban land prices.

This whole argument has been hijacked by falsehoods created by the Green Left. It is the UGB that is the cause of the problems a city with a UGB has already. Toughening it, reminds me of that definition of insanity; "When the results are contrary, doubling one's efforts instead of admitting the opposite approach was needed".

I concur wth Gummy Bear Hero.

Keep it up, Owen. You are a national treasure.

An elderly academic recently commented to a mutual friend, "I am surrounded by zombies. Political correctness has destroyed genuine learning and debate".

It is mostly people who go back to a more enlightened age, who have not succumbed to the "invasion of the body snatchers". Owen is one such. oil isnt because you dont want it to be, but gold is becasuse you want it to be.

Your economics here is broken and badly.

Gold is an IOU for energy....if there isnt the energy that can never be cashed...

Fire them out into space.....look up entropy.

Or if you will everything degrades to the point it is useless....

Whale oil v oil.....sure try finding the replacement for oil.....

Resources that has run out....oh the Great Plains Buffalo spring to mind and then so did the Native Americans think on that as an early run of what we are going through.

NB.....coal is no longer mined in the UK....its all used least to the point that it is un-economic to get what little is left.....oil will go the same way.  So will our lifestyles aka American Indians.


Hahahahaha to you.

You continue to display your total ignorance.

If the American Indians had been capitalists, and had any system of private property rights, the buffalo would have been farmed on huge ranches and never run out.

Have we run out of sheep?


If you're going to spin, McShane, get your figires right.

99.9999% of species that have lived, are now not with us. It takes a year or two for that to happen. As it does to accumulate the fossil energy (stored solar energy) we are now chewing through in a 300 year blip.

Your congregationalist, Phil Best, may have trouble with that, of course. He has to fit it in to a 4 or 5 thousand year blip, quite a compression to comprehend, particularly if you're of slow comprehensive capability.

Running out is not the problem, and if you'd read anything here, you'd know that. But you're spinning, aren't you. It's what you do whan you don't have truth on the side of your chosen message. The half-way point is where you're in trouble.

It would be funny to watch what we predicted, smacking your growth-requiring system in the eyes with the reality of physical limits - how infinite is a sphere anyway, McShane? - but unfortunately, there are real people on this real planet, who need helped through the next wee time.

Luckily, those who think (?) as you would have then to, seem to be a margin of error.

Quite apt, really.

There will always be funded think-tanks, deniers, obfuscators, and the like, while there are PB's and GBH's to manipulate. It's a bit like there always being folk on a sinking ship, who will return to their cabins and pretend it's not happening.

What I wonder about, is whether the Gibbs and the Douglases and the Newnans actually know it's the end-game and think they'll 'win' this way, or whether they genuinely believe the fairy tale.

That's the crowd who fund you, isn't it?


Hugh still hasn't explained what planning rules he wants relaxed within the city. The Property Council wanted height limits increased.

by Hugh Pavletich | 01 Oct 11, 11:49am




Lovely if you're the chap at the top making all the money as the hordes descend.

Can you guarantee the rest of us that a) our icomes will improve b) we won't suffer a drop in our quality of life?

The Savings Working Group says that incomes haven't increased on average after our waves of migration as we have had to build schools and harbour whatnots. In addition, house prices have risen and stayed up. In fairness they do say "when combined with a restricted land supply" but still......


You aren't even bothering to follow the debate that has already taken place on this thread. It's always the same; after a day or 2 the Greenie trolls descend, they've had a bit of a ring-around, and they hit the discussion thread with the same old same old well worn, well rebutted claptrap that has been done to death already.

This time, READ.

The "other planning rules" hardly matter for housing affordability. The cities in the USA with no UGB, but with huge minimum lot sizes and tough restrictions on height, STILL have houses that are half the price of something half the size on a tenth as much land in any city with a UGB.

Presumably housing in these cities could be cheaper yet again if they did not have the minimum lot sizes and the height restrictions. But no-one is bothering to say about these cities, that they have a housing affordability problem they need to address.

".....Lovely if you're the chap at the top making all the money as the hordes descend....."

Typical perversion of the truth from the class of people covering up for and enabling the racket in capital gains that occurs under a UGB. How much money can be made from the net profit on 10,000 new homes at $200,000 each, over 10 years; compared to the land in the existing urban area being made to inflate by $100 billion over 5 years, this being all capital gain, not just a gross figure from which "net profit" needs to be calculated?

If you really are so stupid as to not understand this, you shouldn't be making policy - just as having a slope-brow like Vladmir Lenin wreck your economy for you.

"........Can you guarantee the rest of us that a) our icomes (sic) will improve......"

There is a pretty good historical correlation between income growth and low cost urban land, and a pretty good correlation between UGB's, inflated urban land prices, falling productivity, falling discretionary spending, and economic stagnation. Check out every paper authored or co-authored by Paul Cheshire at the London School of Economics for the last decade.

".........b) we won't suffer a drop in our quality of life?....."

High density squalor is the result for the most, of Britain's 6 decades of urban growth constraint. The "benefit" has accrued to a reducing proportion of people at the top levels of the income distribution. The price of mansions in the Green Belt continues to rise exponentially. Was it Madonna who paid 10 million pounds for one and sold it to Elton John for 80 million 10 years later....?

".............incomes haven't increased on average after our waves of migration as we have had to build schools and harbour whatnots........."

Incoherent. Lack of income growth cannot be said to be due to having had to build schools and whatnots. There is abundant academic literature that does connect constraint on income growth with the consequences of UGB's and inflated urban land prices.

".......In addition, house prices have risen and stayed up......."

If anything you have said gives away the show that you are a ring-in who is just thrashing around trying to muddy the issue, it is that comment. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

 Never underestimate the French (even not in Rugby) – what a fantastic idea:

 "We want to persuade people to shift from the concept of owning a car to that of using a car," Autolib General Manager Morald Chibout told Reuters.

The city of Paris has spent 35 million euros ($47.8 million) in building the car rental stations, while neighboring communes have contributed 50,000 for each station.

By all means relax the MUL (supply) but why do you insist immigration (demand) be encouraged? Why is Auckland expecting such spectacular growth (as a given) and how will this affect expectctations of house price increases?


Among a raft of other recommendations aimed at boosting the country's flagging savings rate, both nationally and at a household level, the Savings Working Group (SWG) suggests Government give the matter of immigration some "serious consideration."

In its 160-page report to Finance Minister Bill English tabled this week in Wellington, the SWG suggests greater control of migration could be a means of reducing house prices and ramping up national savings.

"In a country with a relatively low national savings rate, rapid population growth will put sustained upward pressure on real interest rates and, in turn, the real exchange rate, making it harder to achieve the per capita income gains that people (and the government) aspire to,'' the report states.

Group member Andrew Coleman, an economics lecturer and consultant, said despite obvious sensitivities the issue warranted attention amid what is shaping up to be a national debate on how to deal with New Zealand's mounting foreign debt.



by Wolly | 03 Feb 11, 8:03pm


The immigration policies applied by successive govts are always intended to lead to positive election results. The aim is to pork activity to fake real growth and property is a winner in that game.

I expect National to turn to this bit of trickery once they realise their 6 part strategy is a 6 part failure because there is no bloody way they can create 170ooo new jobs in the export sector or any other sector for that matter. Labour will bulldoze the immigration gate wide open the day they get back to the pig trough...expect waves of unskilled migrants carrying pictures of Aunty Helen flooding through the gates.

The injection of the drug will have the full backing of the banks, the RE mob and the poodle media that advertises property. This economy will NEVER EVER be more than one big fat property speculative turd.

You can look forward and smell the BS on its way...all manner of drivel and spin aimed at getting silly Kiwi to believe more immigration will bring higher incomes and greater real GDP growth all leading to a wonderful future..just like the UK...a cess pit of misery and greater debts with almost no open spaces empty of power pylons..motorbloodyways...railways tracks...sprawling suburbs of shit that cover the land....

Look at Auckland it a better place to raise a family than 50 years ago? it friggin well isn't.

SOme of you might like to read my essays on "The Age of Environmentalism."

Go here:

Beware the Dark Greens may be the most relevant to some of the discussion here.

Owen The Enlightened Writes:

Beware the Dark Greens may be the most relevant to some of the discussion here.


The Buried Marine Meadow in Charteris Bay By Oliver Hunter

         If Dame Fortune, on a bright and sunny day, should allow you to visit Charteris Bay, a popular week-end resort near the head of Lyttelton Harbour, you may linger there to view the 1,026 acres of sheltered sparkling water, now the venue of so many who revel in aquatic sports. And should it so happen that a hundred yachts, gay with sails of rainbow colours are racing to and fro; you may see a picture that to you will be memorable, but if you later; return when a spring tide has taken the water to lowest ebb, you will be shocked to see before you a dreary, almost lifeless expanse of 500 acres of leaden—grey mudflat.

              You will probably be quite unaware that beneath that visible mud, and more unseen beneath the tide, there lies the rotting remnant of a remarkable plant that once formed, bound together and completely blanketed the famous oyster bank in Charteris Bay. From time immemorial, dead sea-shells had accumulated on the sea—bed beneath the tidal water, and up from  among the shells and sand there grew a specie of zostera (sea—wrack or eel grass) that seems to have been specially produced by nature to frame, form and perfectively camouflage a safe breeding place and nursery for fish and shell—fish alike. The leaves of the grass are green, narrow and supple and grow to a length of twenty inches in the deeper water, but to only a few inches where, nearer shore they are longer exposed whilst the tide is out. Though nothing like flower stalks can be seen, the plant has its own system of pollinising under water.

              Very early colonists have said that the original oyster bank as they first saw it was one undivided area, save where the outflow of the main creek from Mount Herbert and where the tide—rips at Potts Point and at Hay's Bay Point, keep open channels. There had always been a broad belt of almost grassless mud—flat between the bank and the shore where the silt washed down from the hillsides constantly smothered any young zostera grass.

              As first viewed over eighty years ago by the writer, the original bank had, through human interference, already been widely severed into large patches and smaller dabs together aggregated only two or three hundred acres. But even then the the banks were an interesting haunt. There the upstanding submerged zostera, supplemented by entangled flimsy seaweeds, multicoloured to match the colours of any fish, made a jungle hide-out for all fish that came there to spawn. And the countless fish eggs and oyster spat deposited on the oyster banks in Charteris Bay years ago, must have gone far towards restocking Lyttelton Harbour and the sea beyond. Mother Nature had a simple plan for the preservation and protection of the young fish and shell—fish there. The outgoing tide turned all the leaves of the close grown crop of zostera very neatly towards the sea and beneath the zostera carefully enfolded in soaking wet blankets of soft seaweed, lay all the small fish
and shell-fish till the tide came in.

              Until the coming of Europeans, Lyttelton Harbour teamed with marine life which the pakeha, pursuing his inherent practice of wilful waste and woeful want seems to be still striving to destroy. Cooper aud Levy established their whaling station at Little Port Cooper. The Deep Sea Fishing Company built a fish curing and smoking plant and also huts for their employees by the creek mouth at Church Bay. The huts were afterwards occupied there by ballast men and their families. Handlines and set-nets were used by everyone who cared to catch fish. The run of large, fat and healthy deep-sea cod came in regularly; in September and settlers round the harbour caught, cleaned, salted, dried and lightly smoked thousands of them. These dried fish would keep indefinitely and made delicious eating. Every smooth sandy or shelly beach made a landing place for a drag-net which, when hauled in under favourable conditions, produced a harvest sometimes too heavy to be draged from the water until the load was lightened by a fisherman wading round the net and hastily casting ashore many of the largest fish. The silvery jumble of edible cod, flounder, sole, ling, barracouta, garfish herrings and many others then drawn up in the net would be very welcome today.

              The unwanted sharks, rig, elephant-fish, skate etc. were then dragged up to above high water mark to dry up or rot and with their numbers added to daily, in summertime, there maintained a far-reaching fragrance of their own particular brand.

              Large oysters hailed abroad as the world's finest, were plentiful, on and around the oyster bank. When the tide was low settlers could walk about on the bank and pick up oysters, small fish, crabs and shells. While the tide was in, sharp—edged iron-dredges were dragged behind the many boats that came from near and far to the oystering. The dredges scraped up the hidden oysters but at the same time scalped off the zostera grass; In the wave-lapped, criss—crossing strips left behind the drawn dredges, began the disintegration of the bank with its overmantle of marine jungle, and consequently, the utter rout of all other marine life there. Clear water became addled with the disturbed mud and choked  the fish and shell-fish. At high-water, shags, Seagulls, penguins and sometimes swans, dived for the disturbed fish, and in the case of the swans, perhaps having a few blades of zostera for the vegetable portion of their diet. when the tide was out, thousands of gluttonous sea-birds flew screeching overhead or trampling about on the flattened jungle, instantly devouring any sprat or crab that dared to move.

              But it was the land—lubbers ashore who contributed most to the destruction of marine life in Lyttelton Harbour. Run-holders felled and burned the beautiful native bush, fern, flax and tussocks that together, had prevented erosion of the uplands. lower down, roads were made and farmers ploughed the land. The product of their combined activities was shown in the increased deposit of silt on the harbour bottom. When we reflect that to this silt is constantly added the droppings from farm live stock, the poisons washed off sprayed vegetation, also drainage from stockyards, sheep-dips and sewers, the present smell of the harbour mud is quite understandable.

              Today, the silt deposit deepens where the oysters and zostera of that marine meadow lie dead and buried in Chateris Bay.



Human existence causes local damage to the environment. Hold the front page.

Hunter gatherers used to burn a forest down to drive prey into the open; eat what they caught, then move on to the next forest.

Are you one of these creeps who buffs out at the thought of a planet with no humans at all on it?

Who cares about every single hill, hollow, cove, blade of grass, creepy crawly, whatever? Man could not possibly "destroy" any more than a miniscule fraction of it all. Everyone wants to preserve Milford Sound and Mount Cook and the Franz Joseph Glacier. But most humans are not that insane that they want to defer to every single molecule in "nature" in favour of their own existence.

It is an ignorant conceit that even tens of billions of humans would be noticeable at any more than a highly localised scale on planet earth. THIS guy presents some very interesting stats on that:

    "...Who cares about every single hill, hollow, cove, blade of grass, creepy crawly, whatever? Man could not possibly "destroy" any more than a miniscule fraction of it all."


I disagree.

Mankind has the potential to destroy a significant percentage of the valuable natural infrastructure. Sometimes deliberately, sometimes accidentally, and sometimes just by the sheer arrogance of forgetting how little we actually understand our limits.

Fukushima offers a good example of unintended consequences resulting from man's encroachment. There's quite a lot of land (and sea) there that will likely not be productive for quite some time to come.


I once did the calcs that showed that shoulder to shoulder you could get the whole human population on Lake Taupo. That would probably slow down their breeding.


But given a square metre each you could get them all on Stewart Island.


Similarly, most countries aspire to having 10% of their land area in Conservation Estate.

We have close to 40% under direct DoC contral and Doc uses taxpayers money to try and make all landowners into Conservation statff. 

Maybe if they focused on mangaging their own land they would do a better job.


Explain your theory about what will (or does) regulate the human population?

Owen links to this essay he wrote:

"Many people are vaguely aware that the Green Movement had its origins in Nazi Germany and the ideologies and campaigns leading up to it. (The Nazi boy scouts were called Green shirts). However, many seem unaware of how strong the “green” movement was in developing the most shameful politics of the Third Reich. In particular I wonder how many would refer to ecology so frequently if they were aware of its place in the development of Fascist thought and practice.

Probably the most concise guide to the role of Green thought in fascism is Fascist Ideology: the "Green Wing" of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents by Peter Staudenmaier:


My environmentalism springs mainly from  growing up on Lyttelton Harbour where my Grandfather farmed and kept a reserve where a stream tumbled down a gully of volcanic rock.

The sort of" product" that Harcourts would take to the Shanghai symposium.


jh - classic 'spin', is describing the oppo as you are yourself. My dog rolls in turkey shit for the same reason - it's meant to throw others off the scent.

A really smart spinner will obfuscate/confuse - note McShane's use of 'power' out of context.

His parallel was quite funny - when I see his stuff, I think of Rohm. Brown was an apt colour, given what he puts out.

Human nature "regulates" exponential population growth without the need for intervention by regulation.

As populations get richer they freely chose to have fewer children. There are a host of papers documenting why this is so.

When I first started tracking the WHO and other demographic projections the projections were too high in retrospect because in those earlier times no one saw wealth increasing outside the Western nations. 

But then wealth creation caught on. And indeed family sizes in places like India fell to levels it had taken ten generations to drop to, within one or two generations.

This was later explained by increased female literacy and the availability or reliable contraception.

So I always used the low projections and they proved to be more reliable than the high and medium projections.

There were some interesting anomalies. Spain and Italy, the catholic countries, had the lowest family formation rates in Europe. One would think their official hostility to divorce, contraception and abortion would increase family formation rates. But women who have lived in those countries have explained what goes on. It makes sense.

Anyhow, don't be surprised if world population goes into overall decline around 2040-45.


McS - you've just given a terminal date (it's too far out but at least you're getting there) for the end of growth.

Or is that dwindling population going to consume exponentially more apiece? Gonna be some kind of obesity epidemic - pity the surgeons, they'll need crampons.

"As populations get richer they freely chose to have fewer children. There are a host of papers documenting why this is so."

That is only the case amongst people of sufficient intellect to choose healthy lifestyles and earn good money.

If you were to travel around NZs poorer suburbs (Flaxmere etc) and dish out bags containing $1,000,000 cash to a number of families, and then track those families, you would find that the overall number of offspring increased.

Population growth is one thing. Economic growth and growth in well-being are different matters.

OUr efficiency increases by the day and when we get to the point where resources are cheaper and more available, and we do less damage to our surroundings then as the numbers fall we should all be better off.

The fear of ongoing population creates negative responses to the future.

We just have to learn to live and enjoy it.



"and when we get to the point where resources are cheaper and more available",

What planet are you on? Not sharing Brashs' joint, are you?

Resources are cherry-picked best/easiest first. It's never been any other way.

You need to define 'cheap' too. In terms of what? Relative to what? Underwritten by what?

If you're going to comment on resources, growth etc, you need to read more first.

"OUr efficiency increases by the day and when we get to the point where resources are cheaper and more available, and we do less damage to our surroundings then as the numbers fall we should all be better off."

Owen, I love your use of the phrase "...we should all be better off". Unfortunately the word "should" encompasses just a little too much uncertainty and unjustified positivity.

Future generations need us to show a little more foresight than just hoping that things "should" get better if the population drops in another 30 or 40 years.

It's not good enough.

The question is "what limits do we find acceptable"? I think Auckland would be worse off if we allow expansion without really tight restrictions.

Philbest: You obviously know what you are talking about. But, I would like to know if you are familiar with the geographical layout of Auckland. As someone who grew up and lived most of their life there I have difficulty applying the propositions of both yourself and Hugh's. Auckland region has an hourglass shape with a reservoir at the top, a reservoir at the bottom and a bottle-neck waist in the middle. While you can increase the size of the reservoir at the top and the reservoir at the bottom, you can't increase the size of the bottle-neck waist in the middle. Houston and Texas overlays applied over the top of Auckland just dont work. 

"There was a sharp spike in immigration in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and, said working group committee member Dr Andrew Coleman, it appeared that property prices did not fall anywhere near as greatly when immigration fell again.


The report added that there was little evidence that immigration boosted local incomes. In fact, the need to build roads and schools meant that net migration contributed to the national deficit."


In this report they concede that high immigration combined with a restricted land supply leads to high house prices but they are also saying incomes haven't risen (as hoped) and we have to pay for infrastructure. To me they are saying we are subsiding the development industry  when they arrive in large numbers. So even without MUL's we loose?

We must get to a critical point as when you need extra lanes to cross the harbour or the natural advantage provided by the hyro lakes is maxed and we have to look at nucleur power.

Owen McShane -

You are right, but for the wrong reason. Like all spinners, when they attempt to sound correct.

Less people indeed means more wealth per head, but not necessarily more wealth in total.

Unfortunately, the peak in consumption and pollution precedes your projection. We will never get to 9 billion, I'd be surprised if we get to 7.5. Not enough of the necessities of life, given that most of us are artificially living on oil.

T'was well foretold. World3 was run with double the resources, and it only added a decade...

Sorry, it might be beyond an Act type.

You might like to get your 'act' together though: you and PB are part of that extreme 1.5%, and he thinks we need to grow infinitely - people, houses, land. You seem to think we don't. Hughey will be sooooooo disappointed. Imagine, an ever-increasing supply of empty houses. Multiple ones of medium size.

Phil Best.

Where do you see the population of the U.K: about right, underpopulated or over populated?

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PhilBest says:

April 15, 2009 at 12:11 pm (UTC 12 )


I would further argue that the inhabitants of particularly desirable areas should NOT be “entitled” to prevent further in-migration to their area through policies that make property unaffordable.

This is just as basically anti-human as the “Green” conservation policies are. It says in effect, that if these policies are the only right ones, that not only are humans not wanted here, they are not wanted anywhere. I am not joking or exaggerating. Sanctimonious Californians condemn Texas for its policies of cheap housing, growth, and high energy living (due to the heat and aridness).

If these sanctimonious and anti-human (essentially fascist) policies were in the trashcan of history where they belonged, California would be a lot more populated and the people living there would have smaller environmental footprints than if they were forced to live somewhere unpleasant like Texas. As usual, the sanctimonious policies have the exact opposite consequences than what they are alleged to be in the purpose of in the first place.

Greed and selfishness are clearly seriously destructive of humanity whether they occur on Wall Street or in green and pleasant neighborhoods.

New Zealand could, and should, have ten times the population it does have.



PhilBest says:

April 15, 2009 at 12:13 pm (UTC 12 )


But I presume you do follow these debates on Hugh P. and myself are slowly gaining ground with the skeptics……..

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