Auckland Council at odds with Government over housing plan; Deputy Mayor says Housing Accord is 'definitely in danger'

Auckland Council at odds with Government over housing plan; Deputy Mayor says Housing Accord is 'definitely in danger'

An uneasy truce between the Government and Auckland Council has lasted less than a week with Auckland Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse saying the accord announced last Friday to build more houses in Auckland is now "definitely in danger".

The Government yesterday rushed legislation into Parliament to enable the Auckland accord and future accords yet to be struck with other councils to go ahead. However, Mayor Len Brown was quick to say that there were clauses in the bill that appeared "to be inconsistent with the Auckland Housing Accord”. He reiterated that the Auckland Council had not yet agreed to the accord as it has to be approved by a meeting of the full council.

And Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse appeared to turn up the temperature this morning, when she appeared on Radio New Zealand and said that the legislation "seems to go back to the ‘just release the urban limits around Auckland and lets plonk houses in paddocks’ which is definitely not going to work”.

She said she was concerned about apparent differences between what was in the legislation and what the council was proposing to agree to with the accord.

“We are [concerned] and I guess that puts the signing of the accord at risk.  The legislation that’s been passed certainly doesn’t follow through with much of what was negotiated through the accord and that is a concern.”

She aid the council was "absolutely committed” to getting affordable homes in Auckland.

“The Government and the council are certainly not at odds about the fact that housing is a huge issue for Aucklanders.

“The concern we’ve got is it is not just about plonking houses in paddocks out on the edges of Auckland to bring house prices down. There are a whole lot more subtleties."

Hulse said issues such as the cost of building materials, the speed at which houses can be built and developing housing in a far more imaginative way than it has been before, had to be tackled..

“We agree with the Government that more houses are needed. However, simply producing more product, if you will, is not going to bring house prices down. We need to deal with all the other issues as well and while council has got some of the ability to control that with the way we look at planning and we are dealing to the complexities and the cost of planning.”

Hulse said the Auckland Council was tackling all the issues through its proposed Unitary Plan.

“The Government needs to look at the levers they hold, which is about, maybe, some support for first home buyers. Maybe capital gains tax…”  

One of the key points in the new legislation the Government is proposing is that it would allow local councils to be over-ridden. The Government would be able to, if an accord was not reached, go in and designate special housing areas for development and issue housing consents itself.

Hulse said this aspect was definitely bothersome.

“We are extremely concerned and it is not just Auckland that is concerned. The whole of New Zealand is concerned.”

She said she had been going to meetings every night in the last 11 weeks on the unitary plan and the overwhelming message was that local communities should have a say on local planning.

“The idea that Wellington will reach over the top, not just of local communities but of Auckland and start doing planning from Wellington would be abhorrent to us.”

Hulse said the council couldn't "quite understand why" the Government was looking to possibly take away authority.

"After going through this long and extensive Unitary Plan process we’ve got a plan that by the time it is notified will certainly have quite a lot of integrity. We want the Government to actually work with the unitary plan process and the community of Auckland and say look, we all want housing to happen and we want housing to happen fast but let’s have it happen in a way that works for Aucklanders

“The concern is that the legislation kind of misses that point. So, from my perspective it is back round the table, let’s sort that legislation out and then we will consider signing that housing accord.

“Without the legislation re-aligned I think the Housing Accord is definitely in danger.”

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Har de har - they are already there, Penny.
They are termed 'lifestyle blocks' and are Much in demand thanks to the dopey RUB.....
Why, there's a Narticle right 'ere on Interest this mornin', on this very topic....

Think they touched a nerve there. Maybe because our deputy mayor lives just outside the urban boundary?
I can see the government response now: Auckland council should focus on removing the cost and time impediments to building the level of housing their city requires then we wouldn't need to take action.

Excellent point waymad.  These numpties like to claim they're stopping Auckland from "sprawling" but what they're really doing is driving people into lifestyle blocks outside the city (in places like Clevedon) or into small commuter towns (like Pukekohe).  
If these people were allowed to buy affordable land around the back of Manukau and other city fringe areas this would actually reduce sprawl and cut commuting distances/costs.  
A 2ha lifestyle block (which I understand will be the minimum under the unitary plan) can accommodate 40 500sq m sections.  I reckon Auckland could add another 500,000 people just by filling in the areas currently dotted with lifestyle blocks.    

"If these people were allowed to buy affordable land around the back of Manukau and ..."
You can already buy your dream sprawl house and land package well under $300K in Manukau exactly as you describe. It's there right now. It's cheap. It doesn't seem that popular:

Maybe the fact the property is in Manukau may have something to do with the lack of popularity?
Have you seen anything in that price range that is a 1 section ride (or less) on the bus?

So the new election war has began in ernest.....
The National desperate to bring house prices down (or at least seen to be doing so) and the Labour (through their proxy in the Council) desperately trying to sarbotage it every step they can.....
Meanwhile the bubble keeps growing while the politicians keep trying to outfox each other until the bubble burst and everybody blames the other for inaction...
This is going to be an interesting fight.

The saying goes - if it is repeated often enough it often becomes true
Hulse said she had been going to meetings every night in the last 11 weeks on the unitary plan and the overwhelming message was that local communities should have a say on local planning.
We want the (central?) Government to work with the unitary plan process and the community of Auckland
Is there anyone here who is a member of the auckland community remember being consulted about the Unitary Plan?
Gareth Vaughan?
David Chaston?
Basel Brush?

I can't say that I have been directly consulted Iconoclast if that's what you're asking. However, there have been public meetings and you can provide online feedback here -

Yes. It wasaround 2010. If you lived in Auckland at the time, had a letterbox (and weren't deaf and blind) you should have been aware of it .
There were charts of what eveyone who bothered responding wanted. This led to maps on here:
which led to the Unitary Plan.

Probably biffed it assuming it was junk mail. Plenty of trees have given their lives for Auckland Council's letterbox dumped PR bumf...

Doesnt sound like consultation at all
Reads more like a pre-determined plan that a mere 800 residents reacted to with feed-back
The draft future planning framework was shared with communities and stakeholders over a seven-week period from mid March to mid May 2009.

big-picture consultation would have gone out and determined what aucklanders want for their city in the future
Upward expansion? if so where?
Outward expansion? if so where
Densification? if so what type?
Those responses dont read like that at all.

Consultation .. Auckland City councils version of consultation
You were misled with sleight of hand - too late now - you've been had
Height rule shock for half of city residents: Three-storey blocks, not just two, will be allowed - and you don't get a say. After nine weeks of telling Aucklanders the maximum height of "small-scale apartment buildings" in neighbourhoods was two storeys, the Auckland Council has admitted the height limit is three storeys.

Upon mature reflection, I think there's another angle to PH's rather petulant statements.
Quite simply on the face of it, she is, possibly unwittingly, laying the exact ground needed for the first exercise of this overriding power.
But being as how there are TLA elections later this year, it could be a carefully calculated play as follows:

  • cause a fuss,
  • bring down the override
  • coast back into Council as the Lady in White, who
  • opposed this Dreadful Exercise of Unbridled Central Power, and
  • who then can blame every jot and tittle of anything housing-related anywhere in Awkland
  • on Them Awful Central Gubmint types who pulled rank

What do others think?

Nice poll Bernard, 38% says it won't achieve anything, another 38% says it won't achieve 15000 units....that's a majority of 76% who believe that this is all a charade.....(my assumption).
The current tantrum shown by Len's Tonto sidekick certainly point to this believe....

David H did the poll.

It's a hoary old argument, but years ago Roger Douglas espoused the theory that you can't have two masters (ie objectives)
That's what the problem is here
Central Government's master is social cost and affordability
Local Government's master is none of those

You make a good point that the two organisations likely have competing objectives- aside from political points scoring.
Auckland's stated vision is to:
Create the world's most liveable city. 
While that is somewhat grand, imprecise (in that many people will have a different idea of what it would mean) and probably difficult to achieve, at least it is a vision. Am not sure I have any idea what National's vision for NZ is; or even whether they have one. (Maybe it doesn’t matter if they don’t, although it would seem helpful to understand how and why they do things). Do they just see Auckland as an economic engine that might lift GDP for example? Or is it that they now have a political issue that they need to appear to get on top of.
All that is an aside.
Clearly “most liveable city” includes an element of affordability about it; but am not sure that would rank as first criteria. I suspect a very sprawling area, with no real centre, and difficulty for far flung residents to enjoy common events or facilities would fail to meet the objective. As would a log jammed transport system.
So it is understandable that the Council would resist options they would see as missing that objective. Their approach so far still seems the more considered and detailed approach.

National have no idea where affordable housing comes from.
Their own report shows higher density development provides most of the affordable housing.
You can already buy affordable  $250K) freestanding starter sprawl houses - exactly like Hugh wants - in fringe Auckland. They exist already and have no impact on prices in places people want to live. They will build Clendon Parks for miles (lumping us all with the roading and infrastructure costs) and not help affordability.

Peter Cresswell's blog, has a Phil Hayward piece on the Housing Accord  which is worth a look, as well.  The money shot:
"The expectation that really IS too good to be true, is the expectation that it is possible to achieve housing affordability, high urban density, short average trip times, high local amenity for all, and high fiscal sustainability; through “planning” – when the first effect of the planning is the inflation of the raw land cost by over a thousand percent."

"the first effect of the planning is the inflation of the raw land cost by over a thousand percent."
What a fine quote. You may be in trouble with the Central Planning Policy and Policing Department of the People's Democratic Republic of Awkwardland if you live there though.

quote? - you mean unsubstantiated propoganda. Give an example.

Don't worry I'll have a go.
Random spot where MUL splits say:
47 Parrs Cross Road 18,137sqm, CV $480K = $26 per sqm.
Right next door 65 Parrs Cross Road 747sqm, CV land $165,000 = $220 per sqm.
So the raw land outside MUL is like 8x - What you call "1000%".
However this is raw land cost outside the MUL compared to developed land cost inside. You completely ignore the point that you can't build on raw land. There is signifigant cost involved it making it buildable. Roads themselves, services, surveyors, road reserves all cost money.

Why, Ah do b'lieve that This 'ere Report, by some outfit calling itself the Productivity Commission, answers your kind query, Bob.
Refer to P116, where there's a Chart.  The money shot:
"The results indicate that the MUL is a binding constraint on the supply of land for urban growth and has worked to increase section prices within Auckland city."

Exactly as above - unserviced land about 8x cost of serviced. I don't doubt that removing MUL would reduce the land component cost of nearby similar product (although I doubt by much given the value of the raw land in comparision to real land development costs).
I want a logical arguement on why this would lead to developers choosing to develop affordable product? As below the market is not there for cheap fringe houses compared to the market for apartments (look at relative rents and values). 

I appreciate you're wanting a logical argument there Bob. Have you looked at the Demographia survey? It seems that looser planning leads to more affordable housing. It is based on observation and analysis of actual house prices. Maybe it's because of this that some people take issue with the findings - what they want is a theoretical argument that fits their existing theoretical world view.

So you can't make a logical arguement for it? You can only refer to Houston (which could just be cheap because it's less desirable)?
I have looked at the Demographia surveys don't find them useful at all. They come up with all sorts of wierd conclusions like:
Sprawl is better for the environment because even though it produces far more pollution per person it's more spread out so you don't notice the pollution so much.
It's hard to take Demographia/Wendell Cox seriously.

Bob, if Houston is so "undesirable" why is it experiencing an average annual population increase of 1.9%, second in the US behind "hip" fellow Texas city Austin (3.1%) and faster than Auckland (1.8%)?  
I know you don't like Houston and that's fine (I've never been there).  But to claim a city that has a booming economy, the highest cost of living-adjusted average salary in the US and has added more than a million people in the past decade is only affordable because it's a dump no-one wants to live in is pretty disingenuous.   

Oh god. This is like going in circles. We have already established that population growth is not the result of desirability. To claim this is absurd. Otara has more growth than Parnell so is that because it's more desirable. No. It's because it's cheaper. LIkewise Lagos has more growth than Houston...
Whether I like Houston or not is irrelevant. Cost reflects of desirability. Manhatten is more desirable than Houston because the market says so.

The lack of a logical explanation doesn't invalidate the evidence Bob.

Again, what evidence?
Houston allows sprawl. Houston is supposedly cheap. That does not mean that allowing sprawl makes cheap. Maybe it's cheap because the sprawl has made it a less desirable place to live therefore it's cheap.

I guess the reason I accept the evidence about Houston is because I did live in Texas for the best part of a year and the houses are at least as good as ours but cost a fraction of ours. A year or so back I googled property prices in the town I lived in. A basic 3 bedroom shack (with central heat and air at prices we can only dream of) goes for $25 000 to $35 000. In Nelson a similar basic shack goes for $250 000 to $350 000. I kid you not. A reasonably decent new house that would cost $600 000 in Nelson cost about $120 000. It really is cheaper in Texas.
Your concern for a satisfactory logical argument is perfectly sound. I'm not sure I've really heard a convincing one. However, that doesn't mean that houses in Texas are not cheap or are inferior in any way. Personally I think silly house prices in NZ have two causes, unlimited money creation worldwide and limited local supply. I cannot tell which is more important.
On a lighter note, what we call land in a reverential sort of way (shades of landed gentry and country estates?) the Texans call "dirt".

Umm, I think it's actually the other way round.  Serviced land is 8x the cost of unserviced.  Could be rephrased to developed/undeveloped.  Cost could be rephrased to "value".
The issue is that when rezoning occurs the undeveloped land automatically gets valued to that of land inside the MUL and has no bearing to original cost plus development costs.  Most "services" other than roading are already in close proximity.

Correct sorry.
Disagree with your second point though. Undeveloped land within the MUL is still cheaper than developed land within the MUL. Even if services are in 'close proximity' they still need to be reticulated throughout a development. Whether inside or out of the MUL 150 sprawl houses are going to need 3kms of roading, waste water, power etc. etc. (OR their own onsite power generation, wastewater treatment etc. etc.) which is NOT free.

The report also notes that "The amount a binding urban limit raises average land prices is not clear cut."
It goes on about how raw land is 8x etc. then makes a complete jump from this (which we already know and is not unexpected) to: "However, its proposed compact city planning approach, based on containment of the city, undermines the aspiration of dequate affordable housing".
There is nothing I can see to prove removing MUL will lead to affordable housing. There is no indication of why a compact city will undermine.... It's complete assumption.  The $600,000 sprawl house might become $560,000. But why would the developer suddenly choose to do a $250,000 house and take a huge amount less profit?

Even if there was no MUL and full sprawl was allowed anywhere I have yet to hear a convincing arguement that this would provide affordable housing. Even if land is free there are costs involved in subdivision(yes surveyors, engineers, infrastructure, design is required - you don't just give 10 people a paddock and tell them to build what vthey want).
Because there are costs the maths works better with bigger, more expensive houses. 
If you are an investor with $275k do you buy a CBD apartment that rents at $500 a week or do you spend the same money on a house in Clendon Park that rents for $350 a week? It's a no brainer (and surely the fact that the 3 bed fringe house is cheaper than the 2 bed CBD apartment tells you something about the relative desirability).
If you a developer wanting to appeal to the bottom end market are you going to build the apartments that will sell or the cheap houses that won't?
They can allow as much sprawl as they like but won't get affordable housing.

thks Waymad  ...great linked article
'"In fact the best solution to our housing affordability, planning, and NIMBYism impasse, would be “new towns”—towns, hamlets and new villages built outside the rural-urban ring-fence with their own self-contained infrastructure. "
This makes sense to me... 
reminds me of a website I came across..  ( done by a NZer as well)
I can't think of a better way to "community focused" living...and I don't mean communes....  just where people have a grassroots level involvement to the "life" of the village.

As Waymad noted:
"Quite simply on the face of it, she is, possibly unwittingly, laying the exact ground needed for the first exercise of this overriding power"
ACC are just piddling around wasting time talking to a minority; the problem and solutions are obvious and been out there in the media for a long time now. Theres been more than enough time for that, its typical ACC going around in circles getting no where, they appear ineffectual.
The unitary plan has achieved nothing yet and looks like doing very little in the future!It has not progressed any way shape or manor to resolving the problem, just a piece of paper with technicalities to argue over until the cows come home, delaying any real further action.
Its to late for all that consensus stuff, the horse has bolted. You'll not please all, you've just got to get on with it and make the tuff calls.
Someone has to make a decision if Penny and Len arn't up to it then Key well (one hopes)
Pennys right about capital gains tax thou - that should help take some of the speculation out of the property market and our bubble economy.

It's amazing how wilfully ignorant so many are happy to be.
Visit Japan. A house there is just that: something in which to live. It is not an investment. Essentially no one in Japan invests in residential property now, not after their property bubble burst all those years ago. Newer Japanese homes are built to the highest of standards with the best of materials and methods, yet are not considered to be trophies the way they are here and in other western nations. And the countryside? Drive outside the city centres and see the crumbling ruins. No one wants them. Lifestyle blocks? Unknown in Japan.
Yes, there are some differences between their society and ours, but in the end, when a grossly overinflated bubble bursts, the results are always the same. Just ask the Americans.
Anyone who thinks the NZ property bubble can't or won't burst -- or even believes there is no bubble -- is kidding themself, and they're kidding ythemself if they hope we'll all be fine even if or when it does burst.
The bubble that forms when everyone pays way too much for a class of object sucks all the money out of the system and sends it overseas. When the bubble inevitably pops that money stays overseas, and the suckers who paid too much still owe too much.
Many people tell themselves that because it hasn't happened yet it's never going to happen, but that's just denial talking. This bubble is going to burst. It's just a matter of when.

completely agree. and i'm someone who owns and lives in a house that has apparently increased in value to a bit sh*t crazy degree in under three years. btw you do know that pompus little higgins guy who annoys you so much is really robin masters, eh?

agree, and I think the govt are starting to fully understand the risks AT LAST

Maybe they understand but I don't think they really care. Practically everyone senior in parliament -- government or other -- own a significant amount of investment property, so the incentive just isn't there to kill that golden goose via a CGT and other means. And it's debatable whether they do understand. So many in power seem to be as financially illiterate, commercially unsophisticated and economically naive as the rest of the population.
The NZ sharemarket is like the wild west and a total joke to other western nations, so buying and selling houses is the only thing anyone in NZ ever does with their money. Up up up go the prices while incomes stagnate. This is the exact same scenario that hammered the US housing market, and it's what has almost paralysed Japan's economy for the last 20 years.
Our turn is coming, but we don't earn trillions making and selling cars and TVs. Instead we earn chump change and petty cash by selling meat and dairy products, so it's really going to hurt NZ. A lot.

You've completely missed the point. One of the main reasons Japan's economy almost collapsed was because people were paying far too much for property. Ireland did the same thing. When prices go so high that most of the population can't afford to pay them the bubble bursts. What else can it do?
The Japanese got into an insane bubble mentality and were paying any price to buy whatever property they could, driving the prices higher and higher. Then it all ran out of steam and prices collapsed. leaving utter ruin in the wake. People were stuck trying to pay off enormous debt on incomes that couldn't service it and for property not even remotely worth it.
Sound familiar?
Lots of people try to calm their own fears by claiming that a million immigrants will save the day, but guess what? Auckland's population has previously increased dramatically but property prices didn't go batshit insane as a result, and there were at least as many so-called restirctions on development back in those days as there are now, if not more. So another influx of new Aucklanders is unlikely to save this bubble from bursting.
Prices are too high relative to incomes which have barely increased by much in a long time. If nobody is earning more now than they were in the past, why would it make sense to hope they can service vastly more debt? Just because the paper value of their property "assets" has increased as a result of everyone loading up on unsustainable debt?
A very sharp downward correction is inevitable. What goes up must come down if there's nothing real holding it up. How hard and how fast will depend on when it happens; the sooner, the softer, and vice versa.

On what do you base the claim that prices aren't high enough? Considering most couples with mortgages can barely keep up with the interest now (God help them if one of them loses their job), and many people can't even afford to buy at all, it would seem an odd assertion.
That's the acid test: "Can an average mortgage be serviced by those on average incomes without hardship?" Right now the answer is very obviously "No".
The real estate industry is as guilty of the classic denialists's cognitive dissonance as anyone, just as they are as guilty of causing the bubble to form as anyone.
Prices are much too high; incomes are much too low; the bubble continues to inflate; the approaching perfect storm is clear.

Kimy, we have huge debts and only little incomes not like Japan which was an economic powerhouse.
 Take care Fella, wouldn't want you to get burnt out there.
"It was déjà vu," Professor Noguchi said. "People were in a rush to buy, and at extraordinary prices. I saw this same haste psychology in Japan" in the 1980's. "The classic definition of a bubble," he added, "is people buying on false expectations about future prices, and buying with the hope of selling in the future."

It's all so hypocritical. Right wing 'free-market' proponents going on about the MUL distorting the market so needing to be deleted. Meanwhile fighting to keep the other market distortion of low density controls.

do u think that u are showing a bias there Bob.??  ( just from that comment ...u must be a "high density" man )
proponents of the "market economy" might well say...   lets make both low density and high density available...and lets see what the people decide..what they want what they end up buying.
It would be interesting to see if apartment style living was the preferred thing.
trouble is ... Maybe the economics of high density development requires really  high land values to be economic.... 

lets make both low density and high density available...and lets see what the people decide
Does the low density come with the cost of the expensive infrastructure added to the price?

JH...  does infrastructure need to be expensive..??
Say we build a "village"....    Can we make waste self contained..   ie. with technology we can deal with and recycle waste..??
Can we power the village in a way that makes it self sufficient..??
Can we make a village self sufficient with water... ( after all... it falls from the heavens)
Can we make a village..somewhat.. self reliant ..with various small businesses in it..??
Can we build a school in the village that also uses the "whole village" as its classroom/campus/library...etc..
Infrastructure in a village could be designed under principles of conservation and sustainability..??
Surely..with modern techology.. there are a thousand ways to "skin the cat"...
Why does infrastructure have have to fall under the shadow of the likes of "water care".. or "Mighty power"...  or Auckland City Council...???
PS... I'm asking questions...   not giving answers..

Auckland stopped being a village a while back - though we still have a village District Plans, village car bias, village idiots  etc.

Not sure why u said that...  
The headline to the article we are commenting on is.... "lets plonk houses in paddocks"
As much as u don't like letting the urban limits stretch out...  it seems likely  to happen.
Waymad posted a link to an article that suggested "new towns/hamlets/villages" as  a solution..
Are u open minded ... or do u think u.. "know"  . and are just preaching the gospel ??

What about the cost of upgrading the infrastructure in existing urban areas to cope with much higher density?  Auckland's $12 billion transport funding gap comes to mind, not to mention the $9 billion stormwater funding gap and the billions being spent on sewage pipelines such as the $800 million central interceptor from Auckland central to Mangere.  Or do you not consider these projects expensive?

Except they don't. They just demand sprawl.
The same money spent on a cheap sprawl house gives a lower return than the same money spent on a well located apartment - suggesting that the apartment is the more desirable.
Land values is much less of an issue with higher density.
My clients who focus on sprawl/freestanding housing have no interest in doing affordable sprawl housing as it doesn't pay. Likewise my clients whose focus is affordable housing are only interesed in higher density - as affordable sprawl doesn't pay. So all the sprawl we do is more expensive and all the affordable we do is higher density. If we had do do affordable sprawl nothing would happen.
This is exactly what the DBH report concluded. 

It doesn't matter what the metre square rate is. People are constrained by the total cost. More people can afford $250,000 than can afford $1,600,000. The bank don't care.

If that was true then renters would be willing to rent a landed house for 3 times what you can rent one for currently.

Value as far as assets go is more directly tied to the income that asset produces.

On that basis, apartments are far more under valued than landed properties.

if these guys really believed in the free market they'd remove all zoing restrictions within 3 miles of  Mayoral Drive and let Ponsonby, Mt Eden and Parnell sort themselves out...

The way i see it good design equals wealth. In our cities most people need a car. Public transport means travelling late at night with skin heads etc and cycling is considered overly risky.
The libertarins make several related assumptions: technology will come to the rescue,  climate change isn't happening, human population isn't a propblem (in fact it is a resource).
The government appears to be siding with the libertarians whereas Labour (and the Greens) are on the other (although nether L or GP accept population as a problem... just yet, or just yet or..)

True. National want to make housing affordable by only allowing the most expensive urban forms. Greens/Labour want to make housing more affordable by taxing it so it's more expensive.
Is there anyone rational to vote for?

Witherspoon up thread is well aware the Demographia stuff has been challenged as a study of deckchairs on a sloping deck.
How about the possibility that Hulse is aware of peak energy, the limits to growth, and that this is why she lives where she does?
After all, it's not rocket science, and the contrary argument consists of no more than denigration, mantra-chanting and 'it hasn't happened yet'. Pretty pathetic.
What would you argue for, to guide a major city in the direction of sustainability? Presuming those who reply are able to understand that unsustainability is not an option.
There is a valid and urgent debate to be had - because whatever we do will se us right through the descent.
They ran that programme with 'double resources' - two planets - and it made no appreciable difference.
Sprawl with the ability to become community hubs? High-rise needing fed from afar? Village clusters much further apart? I favour the last option, but we won't get it right while we plan for last decade. I suspect the telling diffo is that  those who champion urban rail are on the right track :) while those who plan roads of nation inconsequence are not. Might be a starting-point for working out who's closer to the mark.

Well, I'll be hornswoggled, Cap'n Kilmog.
"Village clusters much further apart? I favour the last option, but we won't get it right while we plan for last decade."
And back in the NotPC article, we had this:
"The best solution to our housing affordability woes and associated unintended consequences, such as an epidemic of ultra-long commutes from rural towns to jobs in the unaffordable city, would involve a few new towns like “The Woodlands” springing up in the superabundant stretches of undeveloped land with which NZ (one of the world’s most lightly populated countries) is blessed. The existence of these highly competitive alternatives – for both home buyers and businesses (hence the excellent jobs-housing balance) – would soon take the pressure off the market in the existing cities, strangled as they are by NIMBYism as well as misguided planning."
Shurely, you are both Singing from the Same (Libertarianz) Song Sheet......nevah thought I'd see the day....pass me that champers, young starving post-grad waitperson, 'tis Friday Night.
Despite Gaia's little 4.1 reminder, sayin' 'Hi, tiny Humans!  Remember Me?'

Salut, Waymad mein froynd.
As you should know, I'm not of an anti-anyone mindset from the get-go, just when they spout rubbish. I did that myself the other day, biomassochistically, as you pointed out. . Typically, though, Libertarianism can't work; only a co-operative altruistic model works, and I double we'll ever attain such - heck, most people can't keep a two-person partnership together......
Loved our village years. If the kids fell off their bikes, whoever went to help knew their names, and our phone number. Never forget the night a trail-bike roared down our road, roared back, there was a bang outside - then silence. Went out - there was a bike on it's side in the middle of the road - had hit a ute 50 metres away, parked. Two gumboots parked neat-as-you-please by the ute. Back to the bike; a dark barefooted lump in the ditch.... "you OK"?  "No". Two broken legs, ribs. Asked her name "don't tell my mum, she'll go ape-shit!". "Um, you're not going to be able to hide this from her"........
Good places, villages         :)

PDK: those who champion urban rail are on the right track
History of Auckland Transport solutions
Auckland the city of political think-small transport solutions
Auckland Rapid Rail - Stillborn before it was born - stymied by politics
Sir Dove-Meyer Robinson the smartest man in the room

In 1968 his regional career was also resurrected with his appointment to the ARA transit committee. He advocated rapid rail for Auckland, but ARA chairman Tom Pearce and many members opposed the expensive scheme. In 1973–74 the Labour (central) government reneged on an election pledge, which Robinson had secured, to pay for the scheme. His predilection for lone campaigning was ultimately a costly political weakness. Isolated on the issue, he lost the opportunity to implement a long-term solution to Auckland’s transportation needs.

Auckland Harbour Bridge - Too small before it was built

Pearce was famous for saying "if we have to breathe CO2, we will. I rank him right down there with Banks, J.

There is another way of looking at this. Auckland voted for a Major who promised expensive congestion transport relieving infrastructure. He promised to campaign for special extra taxation powers to achieve this. The government was hoping the other right wing guy would get elected. And this left wing agenda Auckland voted for doesn't fit into National's agenda of getting back to surplus and no new taxes. So they keep saying no to Auckland.
ACC repsonse has been to obstruct new housing and force the government to the negotiation table. National is now attempting to bypass ACC and Aucklanders desire to have better infrastructure.
So it is a classic taxation and spending battle between left and right and the aspiring homeowner is just collateral damage.

After all that, I still don't understand why it is so damn expensive to get any kind of permit for building work, espeacially with Auckland Council.  This surely is a contrubuting factor to the housing unaffordability.

No matter what they do with the MUL, I just don't see large new subdivisions full of affordable (inexpensive) spec houses being built... not if the existing use of covenants on new subdivisions are an indication.  In fill seems to me to be the main way to get more affordable housing - given the size of an in fill residence is likely to be smaller/constrained based on space available to build on.  For in fill however - they need good rules - things like parking/vehicle access and turning etc. should not need to be provided, particularly if the subdivided section is within walking distance of public transport. Within the old AKL City boundary the plan should be encouraging carless residents/lifestyles.  I'd even go so far as to suggest that such carparkless development should get concessions on council levies and significant differentials on their rates bill. 
In short, the AKL Plan should have focused incentives on getting people out of their cars and on to walking/cycling. Whole car lanes should just simply have been taken away and dedicated to bikes (and mobility vehicles) - they should have a vision of being the most cycling friendly big city in the world.  Now that would be innovative.
I haven't read the Government's proposals for this new legislation, but if an area of land has no services to it presently, are they also going to dictate that the local authority must provide those services?  Additionally, I understand they are looking into Development Contributions .. and I suspect perhaps legislating centrally to set those (or at least set some parametres around them).
Pity anyone living and paying rates in these areas where central government "takes over". They will go through the roof.  Clearly, central government wants local government to start charging existing (and future) ratepayers more - in other words tax-collector Peter is trying to force tax-collector Paul's hand - as they think you the taxpayer will heap the blame on the local guys.
I really cannot wait for the next election (central government) that is.  I have never known a Government to be so darn disingenuous.  Their actual intent is never what they present as the rationale behind what they are doing.
For example, what is the real rationale for Charter Schools?  In my opinion, it is a means to get taxpayer funding to private sector institutions with the LEAST amount of accountability attached to it .. hence the reason Charter Schools are NOT going to be subject to the Official Information Act (as are their public school counterparts).  This government is the best I've seen since Muldoon at riding roughshot over those checks on executive power that we do have. Same goes for the way they use urgency in the House of Representatives - to cut short or completely cut out any Select Committee consideration.
Bring on the election, I say (assuming they don't legislate to cancel that, that is!!!).

Kate: cancel the elections by dictat .. no need
Your comment brings a smile .. bring on the election .. if only it were so .. if only it would bring about change .. I somehow doubt it .. come the days and weeks prior to the election .. johnson will engineer some distraction .. like doing a daily walk up queen street backward in a pink tutu .. every day for 4 weeks .. all else will be forgotten .. the meeja will talk of nothing else .. just think of the front page of the nzherald with a full size pic of johnson in a pink tutu .. remember the teapot ..

Vested interests at council and government level and the electoral cycle will mean there is no progress for at least another 3 years. This whole unitary plan proposal has become a farce. Millions spent and nothing likely to be achieved. 

A great outcome. The Herald seems to be white anting the Unitary Plan beautifully. It's only possible because the Council did an incredibly poor job of consulting in the first place. The article in today's paper is another nail in its coffin. I don't trust developers one bit to do the best thing by the existing community and the more blockades in their way the better. 

While government and council act like they are then house prices will continue to rise - a doubling in house prices in Auckland from 2009 to 2019 is highly likely.
Most suburbs in Auckland are already up 30% to 45% compared with 2009 - maybe the doubling will be completed by 2016 if the rate of growth in the last 6 months is any indicaton. Chris J - your thoughts?

Talking about Woodlands is well and good: you find vacant land and build a whole new village (Pegasus- North of Chch?) connect by motorway.......... and that serves a certain income level? Remember NZ is an" immigration friendly country" (John Key to BBC Hardtalk) where our property (and declining lifestyle) are marketed the world over..... so if we have our own Woodlands who will be living there??????
Remember also Houstons job: oil field services Nasa etc.
"We've all seen the articles proclaiming that Houston is a low cost of living paradise, where jobs flow like milk and honey and houses are all the size of mansions.

Well the job market is indeed good, and gas is cheap, and eating out is cheap, but what about housing? That's the biggest single expense for most working people and therefore the most important. My professional geographer's opinion is that the cost to own a house is NOT low in Houston.

All the proclamations of low cost of living are based on house value statistics, which are aggregated spatially, but those aggregations don't necessarily have meaning. The only value that matters is that of a house you actually want to buy. The vast majority of us would only want to live in one of two places, the suburbs or one of the good neighborhoods "inside the loop". In between those places is a big sprawl of ghettos, strip malls, and various levels of urban decay and ongoing gentrification. ALL of that is included in the home value averages."
NIMBYism is characterised as greadily wanting to protect property values. No seems to think that (in fact) people are just expressing the fact that we humans find seek a pleasant environment..... people pay millions for works of art (partly because it stimulates the senses).
The libertarian notion of spontaenious organisation overlooks what really happens on the ground whereby (for instance) a neighbourhood runs down as investors sit (clear of the skin heads with their pit bulls) and watch the long term elderly owners sell up. Then they bowl and make fantastic profits. Or they buy the villa (managing to outbid the local doctor) because they know they can get a mathematician to construct a beehive.
A place like Woodlands has clear ground and (I presume) is mainly for the well healled. If you are going to do that in an exsisting metropoliss the ideal system would be one where the state / municipality owns the land and you own the building. As is done (par excellence) in Singapore.


NIMBY› abbreviation for not in my back yard: a person who does not want something unpleasant to be built or done near where they live. A NIMBY could be greedy or not. I don't see it as part of the definition. 


I suppose I'm a NIMBY with regards to development in my area, but qualify that by saying that I have no issues with development in keeping with the area amentity values that were in place when I moved into my community. My problem is with those with a motive other than living in the buildings they construct I.e. those who do so simply for profit. My reasoning is that they will do whatever makes the most money. Land prices incentivise multistorey apartments and if they can get away with a bland box then they will. The council has yet to say what an acceptable design is. Until I see rules clearly laid out and design regs published then I will treat every developer and council utterance as likely weasel words. They don't have the local community interests at heart. The fact that the Herald is constantly finding little gems in the unitary plan is no comfort whatsoever. Delay the plan until the affected public know what's being proposed and have a chance to vote on it. Until then any plan implemtation would be very undemocratic. 


Yep, and on 7th day Len will rest in his sprawling one hectare paradise in Auckland surbubian..

Haha - Not a mini Waitangarua on the doorstep of Auckland city but a MEGA Waitangarua.
Look at it this way Auckland - cultural diversity, affordability and financial prosperity. There is a silver lining however and that is Porirua house prices have icreased significantly in the last 5-10 years due to its close proximatey to Wgtn. You too can enjoy the benefits that "cheap affordable" housing can provide to all Aucklanders.
Ponder and Enjoy

Love the neologisms one finds on Interest!
Proximatey.  Near, and friendly.  Gold.....