web analytics
The Standard

Akl Unitary Plan: the good, the bad & the debatable

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 am, March 17th, 2013 - 39 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, capital gains, capitalism, climate change, Conservation, cost of living, exports, housing, infrastructure, national/act government, public transport, quality of life, tenants' rights - Tags: , ,

The Draft Auckland Unitary Plan, which was released this week, is a massive endeavour with much to commend it.  It focuses on resource management and links in with the Auckland Plan that was released last year.

Like the Environmental Defence Society, I am pleased with some ways that it aims to be protect the environment, but also agree that it will take several months for most people to digest the  content and implications of the Draft Unitary Plan.  The EDS press release also identifies a short coming that needs fixing:

“The plan appears to tackle natural resource management issues well. It has permissive zoning for development areas and restrictive zoning for conservation areas. This clarity and precision will give everyone more certainty and is a change from the woolly language and provisions that characterised the legacy plans it replaces.

“There are some omissions that will need fixing. These include inadequate provisions relating to the marine area. Auckland’s marine space is larger than its land area and contains critically threatened species including Maui’s dolphin and Bryde’s whale. These have not been adequately addressed in the draft Unitary Plan. Council will need to considerably beef up its marine management provisions.

I was pleased to see that the Draft Plan, as accessible in electronic form, directly addresses climate change:

Section 1.5.2 of the introduction says:

To respond to climate change we have identified two approaches, mitigation and adaptation. …

The move to a quality compact city, for example, will help reduce Auckland’s greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging greater use of public transport, more efficient use of energy, and requiring the application of good design principles to new developments. Measures in the Unitary Plan, such as rules around setbacks from the coast and streams, and land use controls in identified hazard areas, will better enable Auckland to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.

However, as indicated in Len Brown’s speech to launch the draft plan, he still embraces the “neoliberal’ approach of export-led growth:

The Auckland Plan, which we released last year, reflects the desire and the necessity for a modern, compact city.

It reflects the need for an integrated transport system which provides quality public transport alongside the roading network.

It reflects the need for a concerted drive to develop an export-focused regional economy. …

Auckland’s population is set to nearly double over the next 30 years. Our population will grow by a million people. More than 60 per cent of this will come from our existing populous. They have to live somewhere. The region needs a mix of new housing land, and more intensive housing in key areas of the city.

This plan allows for intensity – but it also expands the existing city by creating a new rural-urban boundary.

I do like his focus on making a more compact and “liveable” city, preserving heritage areas.  Penny Hulse has had a strong involvement in the plan and seems to give priority to the community.  The construction of the Draft Unitary Plan has included some consultation with Aucklanders, according to Brown’s speech:

In particular I want to acknowledge Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, whose leadership as Chair of the Auckland Plan Committee has been vital in getting us to this point….

We talked extensively with Aucklanders about how we could best meet the challenges facing the region, and how we can best seize the opportunities they present.

15,000 people made submissions on the Auckland Plan, many others engaged through public meetings, online forums and involvement with their local boards. We have also consulted widely on the draft Unitary Plan through our 21 local boards and their communities.

According to NZ Herald’s Bernard Orsman, Hulse and husband plan to give up their Swanson house to move into one of the apartments that are part of new medium density housing in New Lynn.   Orsman’s article also reports that a handful of areas, including New Lynn, will have a cap on up to 18 storeys of residential apartments.

As a New Lynn resident  I have been quite excited by some of the recent developments (the rail trench, the shared walking, cycling, motor vehicle spaces, the incorporation of the area’s history into the designs, medium density residential developments within walking distance of public transport  medical centre and commercial centre, and more).

However, I am a little concerned about the 18 storey upper limit, and about the possibility of it becoming widespread.

John Minto, on The Daily Blog, is also critical of both Auckland Council and the NZ government’s plans for Auckland because they incorporate the ideology of “growth”.

But we need neither the Council’s plans nor the government response. Both assume we need growth and that somehow this will make Auckland a more liveable city.

It won’t. We have a liveability crisis for low and middle income families right now and growth will do nothing to ease their struggle.

Instead of growth we need sustainable community renewal as Auckland’s top priority. This would mean Auckland Council focusing on strengthening and empowering local communities, providing the stimulus for jobs, providing more affordable housing and reducing the rates burden on low and middle income families who currently pay a far higher proportion of their income on rates and council charges than do higher-income families.

So what needs to be done?

To make housing more affordable we need a tough capital gains tax to drive “property investors” – almost 50% of current house sales – out of the housing market and leave it for first-home buyers.

To make the city more liveable for low and middle income families the council should abolish all flat charges for such things as wastewater and rubbish and incorporate them within a rates system based on property values.

However, I would have thought a focus on constructing more state houses, and on keeping private rents affordable should also be on the agenda.  The plan is open for discussion, so now is the time for people to look at the draft and make their views known.

39 comments on “Akl Unitary Plan: the good, the bad & the debatable”

  1. Green Viper 1

    Regional development is all but dead in new Zealand. Auckland’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor are both proselytizing growth in Auckland when we should be talking about dealing with the death of small town New Zealand. Real long term vision not piting Auckland against the rest of the country is what’s needed – not short term arguments that enable the Mayor and Deputy to grandstand.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      2M people in Auckland by 2035, a smidgeon under 40% of NZ’s total population in 0.3% the land area.

      While, as you say, small towns and cities all through the provinces struggle and struggle.

      • Pete 1.1.1

        I read an interesting article yesterday calling for the Reserve Bank to increase loan to value ratios in Auckland, but keep them low in other centres. This would keep Auckland house inflation in check through reducing the amount of capital available to borrowers for their mortgages. It would also encourage people to consider moving elsewhere, reducing the growing demand on Auckland’s infrastructure. Plus if the Reserve Bank is the one who does it, then the political risk would be minimal compared to the government pissing off Aucklanders.

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          Clever thinking

        • The Chairman 1.1.1.2

          The notion (regional LVRs) has merit and would largely make a capital gains tax (and the risk it carries) redundant.

          However, first home buyers would have to be exempt.

    • karol 1.2

      I don’t know that the mayor and deputy are grandstanding. They are fulfilling their allotted roles. However, I think the focus on growth, and growing Auckland is a bit misplaced.

      I agree with their focus on keeping Auckland compact. However, I also agree that they should be coordinating with regional provisions. Isn’t this the responsibility nationally of Chris Tremain? And will he do anything other than endorse Joyce’s priorities, as expressed in the House in February?

      Joyce’s idea of regional development is Ultra Fast Broadband, oil and gas, Wellington film industry, and RONS.

    • ghostrider888 1.3

      Yes Green Viper. Yes

  2. DH 2

    “However, I am a little concerned about the 18 storey upper limit, and about the possibility of it becoming widespread.”

    Do you think it too high or not high enough Karol?

    • karol 2.1

      Too high. I had envisaged something like up to about 6 storeys around New Lynn and similar Auckland suburbs.

      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        Interestingly there is no height restriction right now and the Plan is the first to set limits. I am comfortable with high rise very close to the train stations although this should level out as you get further away.

        • karol 2.1.1.1

          Yes, micky, I don’t mind so much if it’s kept to one or two fairly high rise buildings near the station – that was what I meant by being concerned about it becoming widespread.

          I guess it hasn’t been an issue before because the buildings were never that high.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2

          I have no problems with the height just so long as it’s done well enough so that sunlight isn’t blocked from the ground too much and that there’s enough green space to go with it. I am fully against the concrete jungle type that we see in L.A. and Manhattan.

      • DH 2.1.2

        “Too high”

        Ok. It does sound pretty high but you might want to look into the numbers for affordable housing sometime. In most built-up areas you need to buy both land and existing dwelling to build apartments. The dwelling has no value in that case, it will be demolished, but you still have to buy it to get the land below.

        It’s very expensive land and I can’t see 6 stories being enough to amortise the cost of the land down enough for an apartment to be what we here would call affordable. I don’t know New Lynn prices but I’d think you couldn’t buy the land & dwelling(s) for a 6 story block for under $1million. At that price you’ve got a land cost of $166k per unit there already with improvements to come.

        • ghostrider888 2.1.2.1

          they must go up (not down to Wellington) for approvals

        • karol 2.1.2.2

          I don’t know about the cost of the land and who has owns it. here are some prices for the apartments about to be built in the 6 storey block at the centre of New Lynn – they are selling them beforet hey build them:

          NZ Herald article: apartments selling from $246k.

          Barfoot and Thompson (who have somehow made the Library and CAB building to the right of the block disappear:):

          Realestate.co.nz gives details of the kinds of apartments on offer:

          Freehold Unit Titles, comprising 1 bedroom, 1 bedroom plus study and 2 bedroom options, 110 units in total and 100 units with balconies and great views not seen before from buildings in New Lynn.
          Priced from $246,000, they all include window furnishings, whiteware as a bonus!

          Some for $400k.

          • DH 2.1.2.2.1

            So cutting through the RE sales BS it’s $246k for a tiny 47m2 one bedroom apartment. $35k extra for a carpark!!

            25yr mortgage of $250k at 6% is $486 a week. Plus unit fees. A lot to pay for a single brdm unit, as an investment the rent wouldn’t be much less.

            The Herald article notes the bodycorp fees average $1786 a year. They’d go up with inflation too whereas the mortgage doesn’t. $1786 is an extra $34 per week – $530 a week for a 1brm, $584 if you want to park your car.

            It’s housing for the middle class. At 14 stories the units are grossly overpriced in relation to what they cost to build, developer is making a killing on them.

            • karol 2.1.2.2.1.1

              Thanks. Interesting analysis. So we wouldn’t want to see too many of those sorts of apartment blocks.

              I think more terraced style housing, or 2-3 storey apartment blocks are planned for elsewhere in the area.

              • DH

                Karol I think that realistically we’ll only see affordable housing if the Govt or Council underwrites the builds, preferably owning the land beneath and contracting out the design & construction. Those units are being sold at ‘market price’ which has no relationship whatsoever with the cost of building them.

                The cost of building multi-level apartments is much lower than people realise. The big developers aka finance companies who all went broke a while back had nearly 100% financing cost on top of their construction costs, interest etc literally almost doubled the build cost. And they still made a killing when their developments were completed & sold.

                I guess it depends on how people see it, those buying the units obviously don’t see any problems. A those sorts of prices though I can see low income earners being squeezed out of New Lynn. They won’t be able to afford the rents.

                • karol

                  A those sorts of prices though I can see low income earners being squeezed out of New Lynn.

                  That is a worry. There does need to be some guarantee of affordable rents, and of increased availability of state housing, along with the return of some industry to wider Auckland.

                  New Lynn used to be an industrial and working class area. It now is a transport hub, and a lot of the development is around the commercial centre, which ia planning to expand in the near future.

                  Those new apartments will also deliver consumers to the neighbouring mall. I find it a little disturbing that LynnMall is owned by (the misleadingly named “Kiwi Income Properties Ltd”. Their ultimate parent company is The Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

                  And I don’t see any plans for retirement housing in the central area – maybe they want to attract mainly middle-class salary earning consumers…?!

                  • DH

                    Totally agree but what’s the answer? You can’t argue the arithmetic and the private sector isn’t going to provide ‘affordable’ housing. They charge what the market will pay and always will. Welfare isn’t the answer, the taxpayer just underwrites the market that caused the problem in the first place and makes it even worse.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      State housing is the answer and for the state to build enough to run a 2% to 3% excess of housing rented out as a percentage of household income. Best way for the government to do that is high density housing.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.2.1.2

              Notice what the middle class has to accept as realistic is declining year by year by year. Deflation in action.

  3. ghostrider888 3

    here are some Hickeys / non-realpolitik pipe-dreamshttp://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10871689

  4. ghostrider888 4

    here are some Hickeys / non-realpolitik pipe dreams
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10871689

    • karol 4.1

      Yes, I saw Hickey’s article a little while ago. He makes some interesting suggestions – eg opening up lots more green and brownfields for development. Shouldn’t we be looking for more industry in brownfields? And to keep a lot of our greenfields?

      An Auckland land tax to stop developers sitting on land til the price goes up, seems a good idea. these ones sound worth considering, too:

      3. Introduce macro-prudential controls to slow high LVR lending, including extra capital requirements for mortgage lending and making banks fund all their lending locally through term deposits. These tools are used by Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel, Sweden and Norway.

      4. Restrict or control migration so fewer migrants from offshore and other parts of New Zealand are able to move to Auckland. That could include a regional development strategy.

      5. Restrict non-resident investment in houses in Auckland, as Hong Kong and Australia have done.

      6. Encourage the development of, or build, one or two large-scale pre-fabricated house manufacturers to drag down the cost of building.

      7. Launch an apprenticeship training scheme in Auckland for trades staff to build the 400,000 dwellings needed over the next 30 years.

      I don’t know what the impact would be of raising the official cash rate.

      • ghostrider888 4.1.1

        hows the sinuses?

      • KJT 4.1.2

        Basically Hickeys ideas are good except for raising the OCR.

        The OCR is a blunt instrument.

        Raising the OCR bludgeons our productive industries. Raises the exchange rate and raises their interest rates, compared with offshore competition, at the same time as it takes money from the internal economy and cuts demand for all goods..
        It adversely affects those who have already borrowed, and cannot change their borrowing to react.

        The sole use of the OCR to fight inflation should have been changed long ago.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2.1

          The sole use of the OCR to fight inflation should have been changed long ago.

          True, as it obviously doesn’t work. The whole point of the OCR is to control the amount of money in circulation and it’s just not doing that. The higher the OCR, the more the banks borrow from overseas to fund their reserve base which is then used to further increase the money supply through the Fractional Reserve system.

          Not that the banks are increasing the amount of money in circulation all that much – just the amount that being passed from bank to bank in a game of musical houses.

          • DH 4.1.2.1.1

            “True, as it obviously doesn’t work. The whole point of the OCR is to control the amount of money in circulation and it’s just not doing that. ”

            Agreed, partly. You’d be one of the few I’ve seen who’s actually asked how & why the OCR works and seen the flaws. It has worked but for all the wrong reasons. Milton Friedman, arguably the architect of monetarist policy, made it clear in his work that the path to controlling inflation was to keep growth in the money supply closely aligned to growth in economic output. The RBNZ have never done that, they simply used the OCR reactively whenever the CPI started wobbling.

            The consequence was that consumer inflation was held down by cheaper imports, courtesy of the high OCR pushing up the $NZ, and the money supply grew out of control via the banks offshore borrowing. We did see rampant inflation from that uncontrolled growth in M3, as Friedman postulated would happen, but it was in the property market which isn’t shown in CPI figures so the RBNZ donkeys had the gall to keep telling us that inflation was under control.

            It’s one of the reasons I don’t have much time for Hickey. He doesn’t put all the pieces together, too shallow for my liking.

            • KJT 4.1.2.1.1.1

              Hickey is unfortunately a product of his upbringing. He is firstly, part of the finance industry.

              All the more credit to him though, for eventually seeing the woods, and starting dialogue about the failing neo-liberal system.

              His other ideas in the article are valid solutions to overly inflated land and housing prices (Note that dairy farms are equally priced way beyound earnings value).

              Also unfortunately, we have become too dependent on land as savings, for perfectly understandable reasons, but no one is going to like the correction.

  5. Lefty 5

    Nationalise all land that could be used for housing in the Auckland area.

    Only allow building by the state,not for profit organisations and individuals for the use of their own families.

    Stop growing. We don’t need as many migrants as we are getting at present. It is a nonsense that we need to grow to prosper.

    Stop trying to kid ourselves we can build housing skyscrapers that will not quickly become slums and will not end up producing some severely disturbed people because of the unnatural situation they are living in. It hasn’t been done anywhere else so why would we be able to do it here.

    Its also completely unnecessary unless you are trying to base your housing planning on how you provide the cheapest possible housing while still allowing big profits for developers. The second part of the equation is unnecessary and those public commentators and politicians who persist in doing this are a big part of the problem.

    There are better ways of intensification.

    Have greater local community participation in planning – not fucking consultation over massive complicated plans that are just a license for lawyers to make a lot of money, speculators to find holes in and highly paid senior council staff to pull the wool over everybodies eyes with. Instead start listening to people, like the tens of thousands of homeowners who already own land and try to find solutions for extended families on their own land but are forced into building illegal structures because of the fuck wit control freaks who actually set council policies to the background sound of the pointless middle class jabbering and confusion of our elected representatives.

    Put in rent controls and stronger tenancy protection.

    Outlaw hypocrysy. Too many of the middle class people making a fuss about housing are hyprocritical capitalist bastard landlords (including a big percentage of our politicians from most of the parties).

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Stop trying to kid ourselves we can build housing skyscrapers that will not quickly become slums and will not end up producing some severely disturbed people because of the unnatural situation they are living in.

      But, we can.

      It hasn’t been done anywhere else so why would we be able to do it here.

      It’s been done in many places around the world.

      Sure, need to put some thought into it but it can, and should, be done.

      Its also completely unnecessary unless you are trying to base your housing planning on how you provide the cheapest possible housing while still allowing big profits for developers.

      Ah, no. Compact cities are far cheaper to run which is why cities went upwards several centuries ago.

      There are better ways of intensification.

      You may not have noticed but the Auckland Plan uses all of them and not just skyscrapers.

      Put in rent controls and stronger tenancy protection.

      Best forms of those that can be put in is state housing – lots of state housing. Some people don’t like it though as they think that they’re entitled to live on other peoples work.

  6. Michael Wood 6

    This is a useful post on the issue and I think that the point about the marine environment being somewhat sidelined is valid.

    John Minto’s critique of ‘growth’ in the plan is more problematic. The growth that the Unitary Plan is talking about is not some kind of construct, it is demography. There is large population growth in Auckland, and there will be something like 1 million more people to accommodate in the time period under consideration. The UP (primarily) is about how we do that well. In this respect quality intensification is a no-brainer. In any other situation in which you are dealing with a valuable resource, you will look to use that resource as efficiently as possible, getting the best possible value out of each unit. Why would we treat land any differently?

    I’m convinced that affordable housing is not something that can be ‘nudged’. The incentives for developers to go in the other direction are just too strong. It requires direct action from central government, and for stronger tools to be given to local government.

    • karol 6.1

      Thanks Michael for you valuable assessment of the plan.

      It seems to me that the notion of economic “growth” is indicated in Len Brown’s speech, part of which I quoted in the post. In that quote, Brown is referring to the Auckland Plan’s aim for regional economic, export led development. I had in mind to look at how much this includes revitalisation of manufacturing in the Auckland area/region.

      I think maybe affordable housing needs to be related to a return to the kinds of industries that were doing well in New Lynn before the Rogernomics shift to “free trade”. That as well as the central government increasing the state housing stock. This would go some way to counter the housing developments becoming another wave of gentrification of the areas most accessible to the CBD.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        I think maybe affordable housing needs to be related to a return to the kinds of industries that were doing well in New Lynn before the Rogernomics shift to “free trade”.

        However – there is no economic pathway or political leadership available back to the import substitution model of industry. I’m not familiar with what used to be manufactured in New Lynn, but when I think of all the apparel, foot wear, domestic item manufacturers and all the engineering services that those factories around the country used to use…they’re all gone and not coming back.

        Also, since Rogernomics occurred, China has become the low cost manufacturing power house of the world.

        Len Brown has minimal power over all of these factors.

        • karol 6.1.1.1

          New Lynn was notable for its thriving clay & ceramics industry. Crown Lynn/Ceramco was the most notable. It moved to South East Asia in the 80s, I think. There was also the Astley tanneries, Cambridge Clothing (still in New Lynn) and others like a chocolate factory I think.

          Yes, it requires the government to contribute to developing manufacturing. Back to the tensions between Brown and Smith & Co.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      In any other situation in which you are dealing with a valuable resource, you will look to use that resource as efficiently as possible, getting the best possible value out of each unit. Why would we treat land any differently?

      Bravo – I know many a dairy farmer who hold exactly the same sentiments.

  7. The Chairman 7

    A capital gains tax carries the risk of being passed on.

    Property investors would want to offset the burden.

    High demand coupled with the property shortfall will give scope for this.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Another four years wait for democracy in Canterbury
    Today’s announcement that there will not be a democratic vote for Ecan until 2019 means four more years of waiting for Cantabrians to get their vote back, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “When John Key stripped Cantabrians of their… ...
    2 hours ago
  • The big problem with the Govt’s tiny climate target
    Yesterday the Government annouced their climate target. It’s not good news. They have officially pledged that, by 2030, New Zealand will reduce our greenhouse pollution by 30% compared to 2005 levels. In reality this target is just spin and is… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 hours ago
  • Black widows slip lax biosecurity web
    The discovery of black widow spiders in imported grapes highlights once again the Government’s lax attitude to biosecurity risks, Labour’s Primary Industries and Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI officials are trying to talk down the find, saying the spiders… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Census puts numbers on Nats’ callous indifference to housing crisis
    Just-released census data has revealed the human cost of National’s housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The census shows more than 20,000 people homeless and living in dodgy and temporary shelter: boarding houses, motor camps, caravans and cars,… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Child abuse stats reveal tragic truth
    The Government has scored an own goal with its report card on Better Public Service Targets only highlighting its failure to tackle child abuse, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “One of National’s top 10 goals, set out in a… ...
    6 hours ago
  • Minister, failure to plan is planning to fail
    Climate Change Minister Tim Groser must immediately set a clear carbon budget if he wants to have any chance of meeting the emission reductions he has announced, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “National’s dirty little secret is that… ...
    6 hours ago
  • Confidence slumps in Auckland
    Auckland has joined the rest of the country in seeing a major slump in business confidence, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “This proves that in spite of the housing bubble, the city is not immune from nervousness about the… ...
    7 hours ago
  • Government has no credible climate change plan
    Today’s announced climate change target falls short of the ambition required to meet even our existing targets, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “The target announced today amounts to a decrease of only 11 per cent from 1990 levels. This… ...
    1 day ago
  • Auckland house prices now 10 times incomes
    Auckland house prices have risen so steeply the typical house in our biggest city now costs 10 times the median Auckland household income, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Barfoot and Thompson reports the median house sale price in June… ...
    1 day ago
  • Time for economic spin is over
     Business confidence in the latest NZIER Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion falling to its lowest level in three years is yet another warning of a staggering economy that cannot be ignored, says Labour's leader Andrew Little.   “This comes on the back of dairy prices falling… ...
    1 day ago
  • Bullying contributes to Auckland being stripped of ICU training
    Complaints of bullying and harassment by supervisors which have contributed to Auckland’s critical care department losing its training accreditation are further evidence of the appalling culture at executive level, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “The department had its accreditation… ...
    4 days ago
  • Broadband failure sucks up more cash
    The Commerce Committee has blocked an inquiry into the $300 million rural broadband initiative (RBI) despite mounting evidence it’s a massive policy failure and waste of money, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “The Government is about to spend an… ...
    5 days ago
  • TISA – Another secret trade deal you may never have heard of
      This post first appeared on The Daily Blog You’ve probably heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) by now and the widespread concerns around it but what about the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) also being currently negotiated by… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    5 days ago
  • Health chickens coming home to roost as Dunedin loses right to train doctor...
    News today that Dunedin Hospital has lost orthopaedic training accreditation is a major blow and proves the Government’s prevarication is having devastating consequences, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Losing orthopaedic advanced training is serious. There is a knock on… ...
    6 days ago
  • $74,000 quarterly rise shows crisis out of control
    New figures out today showing Auckland house prices have spiked by a massive $74,000 in the past quarter is further evidence the city’s housing crisis has spiralled out of control, Labour’s “In spite of constant announcements and photo opportunities from… ...
    6 days ago
  • Democracy for Nauru now
    Murray McCully must send the strongest possible message to the Nauruan Government that New Zealand does not condone its actions given the disturbing developments there, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “Right now we are seeing Nauru stripped of… ...
    6 days ago
  • Recovery needs more than a rebrand
    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    6 days ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    6 days ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    6 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    6 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    1 week ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    1 week ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    1 week ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    1 week ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    1 week ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    1 week ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    1 week ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    1 week ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    1 week ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere