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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.

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    Climate change deniers have well and truly been given the flick yet political commitment to policies to reduce carbon footprints remains limp. Given the Government’s quick and dirty climate change consultation (it is 4 weeks long, logically flawed and doesn’t… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Gareth Morgan
    22 hours ago
  • Welcome to the mushroom farm
    Mediaworks management has determined that viewers are bored with the earnest, campaigning style of John Campbell and his team.  Campbell Live hasn't attracted enough viewers to keep it financially viable.  It needed to move with the times, get with the… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Auckland Transport May Board Meeting
    The AT board meet today and as I do every month, I’ve gone through the papers to pull out anything I’ve found new or interesting. First up the closed session which normally contains the most interesting papers and for which… ...
    23 hours ago
  • The eternal name suppression debate
    Name suppression cases are always a good conversation-starter in NZ. There are the (to me) very clear-cut cases where giving the accused name suppression is necessary to protect the identities of their victims – though some anti-suppression diehards don’t even… ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    23 hours ago
  • Collective Efforts
    In his recent post, Too quick to take the credit? Morgan Godfery argues that it was a “crass” move by the Māori Party to put out a statement taking credit for the $790 million hardship package included in this years… ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    23 hours ago
  • Supply-side – housing edition
    In recent months, National has been really very clear on the best solution to the crisis they deny is happening in Auckland housing. To them, the best solution is increased supply. There aren’t enough homes, so more should be built.… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    23 hours ago
  • Left behind
    Ireland voted for marriage equality over the weekend, becoming the first state to approve it by referendum. Its a sign of how the cultural tide has shifted in the former theocracy, but its also putting pressure on other countries to… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Left behind
    Ireland voted for marriage equality over the weekend, becoming the first state to approve it by referendum. Its a sign of how the cultural tide has shifted in the former theocracy, but its also putting pressure on other countries to… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Forget that $1000 Kiwisaver kickstart
    The Government has canned the $1000 KiwiSaver kickstart programme. Photo: 123RF The Government is being accused of stealing from future generations by scrapping the $1000 KiwiSaver kickstart payment. Legislation cancelling the payment was one of a number of… ...
    1 day ago
  • Training an army that doesn’t want to fight
    Last week the Iraqi city of Ramadi fell to ISIS. The reason? Iraqi forces fled rather than fighting:US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter has said the rout of Iraqi forces at the city of Ramadi showed they lacked the will to… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Making mountains out of scientific mole hills
    Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet speaking at the Global Health Metrics & Evaluation conference 2011. (Photo credit: Vimeo.) The controversial Lancet editor, Richard Horton, has produced an opinion piece which some are interpreting as an attack on medical science,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Introducing: October
    Emerging local musicians are given two minutes to introduce one of their songs and say whatever they like about themselves and their music.Your time ... starts ... Now!  Photo: Connor Hickey Name: October Age: 18 Hometown: Blenheim Sounds like: My… ...
    1 day ago
  • Keynes
    “We’re all Keynesians now” declared the most identifiable anti-Keynesian of the latter 20th century, Milton Friedman. National has - partly at least - adopted Keynes’ ideas in its fiscal policy, too. It wasn't afraid to run deficits during bad times,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • The Peer Review: Emily Mabin Sutton
    As well as being a maker and creator herself, Emily Mabin Sutton is helping other scientist make their ideas reality.  To say Emily Mabin Sutton has her fingers in many pies would be an understatement. The 23-year-old is a… ...
    1 day ago
  • Protect Your Signature!
    There’s always something comical about American corporations’ union-busting videos. They wouldn’t be out of place in between news clips on Starship Troopers. And if you’re looking for a conspiracy theory, there’s something eerily similar about all of them – with… ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 day ago
  • The cupboard is bare, says Dear Leader
    . . The latest on Budget 2015; Prime Minister John Key is lowering expectations about measures to combat child poverty in this week’s budget. Mr Key says there’ll be “some support” for those suffering material deprivation. “But you’d appreciate that… ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 day ago
  • Wanted: Health Minister who reads their own research
    Content note: discussions of transphobia and it's impacts, focussed on the recent political discussions about trans* healthcare. There's so much to find troubling about National calling life-saving healthcare for trans* people "nutty" and Labour leadership failing to stand behind regional… ...
    1 day ago
  • Auckland’s New Bus Shelter Design
    Around a year ago Auckland Transport launched a trial and consultation of three potential new bus shelters that they intend to eventually roll out across the region. The trial was held on Symonds St where the three different designs could be… ...
    1 day ago
  • Who is Charlie? And where are you going?
    I didn't say anything about the Charlie Hebdo killings at the time because some things are so bloody obvious they shouldn't need to be spelled out.  You don't kill people over drawings is one.  For the record, I'll spell it… ...
    1 day ago
  • Judd and Fox presenting at Māori Governance Hui
    Press Release – Maori Council New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd and Mori Party Co-leader Marama Fox are the latest to join an exciting line up of speakers and presenters attending this weekends Te Tatau Pounamu Maori Governance and Representation Conference… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • iPredict New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update
    Press Release – iPredict Budget Boosts National And Key, But PM Still Expected to Retire by End of 2017iPredict LTD New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update Monday 25 May 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE www.ipredict.co.nz Budget Boosts National And… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • How will people hold governments to account?
    Opinion – Citizen News Service Bobby Ramakant, Citizen News Service – CNS One of the major failures of current times is how democratic systems are being made ineffective so that people with a ‘power of one vote’ are not… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • NZ Publishers Call for Economic Evidence in TPP Discussions
    Press Release – Copyright Licensing Ltd Leaked documents suggest that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement may result in an extended copyright term. New Zealands current provision, as required as a minimum by the Berne Convention, is life of… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • TPP Ministerial Meeting cancelled
    Press Release – AFTINET Both Japan and Chile have said they will not finalise the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal until Fast Track legislation has passed both houses of the U.S. Congress, Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago

  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    19 hours ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    22 hours ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    3 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    4 days ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    4 days ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    4 days ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    4 days ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    4 days ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    4 days ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    4 days ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    4 days ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    4 days ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    4 days ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    5 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    5 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    5 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    6 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    7 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    7 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    7 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    7 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    7 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    1 week ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    1 week ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    1 week ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    1 week ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago

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