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Auckland housing: Brown vs Smith

Written By: - Date published: 10:54 am, March 7th, 2013 - 53 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, capitalism, climate change, democracy under attack, Environment, housing, infrastructure, public services, public transport, sustainability, transport - Tags: ,

Nick Smith, freshly rejuvenated after is fall from grace, is now challenging Auckland council’s plan for compact housing.

Nick Smith Hypocrisy Smith wants to increase the urban sprawl to deliver more land to private developers. This will do nothing to create more affordable housing or to defuse the housing bubble.  It will add to Auckland’s transport problems.  Those that can afford to will buy or rent near the main transport routes.  The less well-off will be increasingly marginalised in the outer areas, adding costs and time to their journeys to work or to seek work, to services, and leisure activities.  For some such  things will become increasingly inaccessible. Smith’s plans for urban sprawl an the weakening of the Resource Management Act will put extra pressures on the environment and transport, doing nothing to counter the impacts of climate change.

NickSmith forked tongue

Simon Collins and Anne Gibson report in this morning’s NZ Herald online:

New Housing Minister Nick Smith is vowing to break the “stranglehold” of  Auckland Council’s policy of containing urban sprawl – a policy he says is “killing the dreams of Aucklanders” by driving up house prices. In his first major interview on how he plans to tackle the housing affordability issue handed to him in January’s Cabinet reshuffle, he said his focus would be on opening up land supply because land prices were the biggest factor putting home ownership out of reach of many Aucklanders. “There’s no question in my mind that we have to break through the stranglehold that the existing legal metropolitan urban limit has on land supply,” he said. But Auckland Mayor Len Brown hit back last night, saying Dr Smith was advocating a flawed Los Angeles model of “suburban sprawl and unbridled land availability”. “I’m pretty disappointed in the minister’s positioning, and I am disappointed because it reflects a philosophy or view of city development, and particularly development of our city, that goes back to the forties and fifties,” he said.

The excellent Auckland Transport Blog has often made the case for a more compact Auckland, as in this post on a recent report which was,

paid for by the government and Auckland into the economic competitiveness of the NZ economy. … The report has been put together by Hong Kong-based Professor Michael Enright and another expert, Michael Porter.

The post quotes Enright thus:

Professor Enright said Auckland’s first priority should be a mass transit system, including the city rail loop, followed by revitalising the CBD – calling the $45 million upgraded Aotea Square a “concrete jungle” – and an end to urban sprawl in favour of an “overall denser Auckland”.

mickysavage, responded to the RNZ report on Smith’s plans with this excellent comment:

And so Nick Smith wants to “smash” Auckland’s metropolitan urban limit even though it is shortly to be replaced by the “rural urban boundary” which he seems ok with. And the difference between the two? The MUL is slightly stronger and permits less development outside it’s boundary whereas the RUB will be slightly more permissive. But they are both designed to change Auckland into a compact urban form. The repercussions of not having a MUL are clear through experience throughout the world, more sprawl, more need to rely on a car for transport, a less economically viable city and destruction of fertile land as the city expands. Development becomes more expensive and environmental damage increases. Smith is using violent language to try and deflect criticism of the Government for not doing anything about housing affordability. Now they can blame Auckland Council. It was good for Len Brown to stand up to Smith this morning. But stand by as National gets ready to undermine environmental protection and Auckland’s right to design a unitary plan so that Auckland grows the way that locals want it to.

Smith’s plan will do nothing for housing affordability, is undemocratic, and is looking to over-ride the plans of the council, done in consultation with Aucklanders.  It aims to enable a further land grab by developers.


53 comments on “Auckland housing: Brown vs Smith”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Smith’s plan will do nothing for housing affordability, is undemocratic, and is looking to over-ride the plans of the council, done in consultation with Aucklanders.

    What Smith’s and Nationals plan will do is increase the cost of living in Auckland as all the extra infrastructure needed needs to be paid for as well as all the extra transport. Of course, they’re probably thinking of that and so see extra possibilities in clipping the ticket to make themselves and their rich mates richer.

    • Tom Gould 1.1

      Crystal clear. Have the ratepayer stump up for the infrastructure, the taxpayers for the roads, all built by Nick’s mates, then charge ‘what the market can stand’ for the sections, pocketing the gouged profits. Nick’s mates all win. The ratepayers and taxpayers pick up the tab. That’s how National Capitalism works. Break out the champagne.

    • UpandComer 1.2

      I think it’s been pointed out that Auckland’s density in people per square Kilometre is actually very light by international standards.

      I don’t know what you are complaining about. Whether or not you want faster private development, or a billion free houses for no money, you are going to have to increase the density values in Auckland and free up land regardless.

  2. geoff 2

    [deleted] Nick Smith’s forked tongue.

    [karol: agree with DTB below]

  3. vto 3

    This is all complete and utter bullshit and politics. making a big shit stink and diversions in order to mash up the legs being made on affordable housing by the greens and labour.

    Makes me sick.

    Opening up such a tiny supply of land will make diddly squat difference. Sure, it is one factor, but every single other component is in fact more of a contribution to high housing costs. These include;

    1. GST being raised put housing and land up by 2.5%.
    2. Councils recently raised development contributions by a similar amount.
    3. Monopolies and duopolies in the construction sectror e.g. cement (not concrete) is entirely held by just 2 outfits, Fletchers and Holcim.
    4. on it goes.

    So buckle up you pollies and get in the stock car as you have plenty of laps to do with Smith in the old valiant beside you. Best get yourself out of the corolla and into a hummer, or you gonna get mashed.

    btw, here is an example of local authority abuse of monopoly power – dumping a potato at the dump costs more than planting, growing, harvesting, distributing and selling it. 40c per kilo to dump a potato when you can in places buy them for less thank 40c per kilo. This an example that highlights the problem. Then apply this to the entire building situation. No wonder there is such an affordability problem – we are simply being ripped off.

  4. muzza 4

    Is this is genuine challenge?

    If yes, what is the intended outcome?

    If no, what is point of the exercise?

  5. jbc 5

    Smith demonstrates a total lack of intelligence and critical thinking.

    If land prices are the critical factor then the obvious solution would be to make more efficient use of land, surely. That’s what makes cities cities. Population density and the efficiencies of scale that come with that.

    Smith is totally missing the point of why people move to, or settle in, Auckland. It is not so that they can be 30km away from the city on a fringe subdivision. They may as well be in Hamilton. He also misses the point of why people want to be *outside* Auckland.

    Smiths answer is basically to extend the city to enclose the people that want to live in it. Why not just rename the North Island to Auckland. Job done!

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      If land prices are the critical factor then the obvious solution would be to make more efficient use of land, surely. That’s what makes cities cities. Population density and the efficiencies of scale that come with that.

      QFT, there’s a reason why the high priced land in at the city centre.

      National are just reaching back to the times when Labour built state houses to house people and it was popular. This paradigm no longer applies as the costs of sprawl far outweigh the slight lessening of the houses built on the freed up land. National’s land banking mates will make a bomb though.

      • Wayne 5.1.1

        Does living in a 3 bedroom home on a 450 to 500 metre section in West Aukland really cost more than the total cost of living in say Avondale?

        Low cost houses in the West could be done for less than $400,000 (land and building), and that is for a 120 meter house, landscaped, with a garage. For a lot of people, a house on a section is a more attractive alternative than an apartment or very high density housing on say 250 meters. But you do need sections, out in the area of Swanson, and out to Kumeu. All the land on the cityside of the Hobsonville motorway should be able to turned into housing land.

        A lot of people work within 10 to 15 k of where they live and they travel by car. The difference in travel compared to a closer in suburb might be 10 k to 15 k per day, and for a car that would be an extra $30 per week (mostly fuel) – and pretty much everyone in Auckland has a car. More expensive houses closer in cost at least $500,000, so with the cost difference of $100,000 it is an interest cost of $5,500 per year. So living further out should be cheaper.

        By the way the cost of additional roads, sewerage, water, power, parks, etc is all covered by the development levies of Council, which are of course part the section cost.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Does living in a 3 bedroom home on a 450 to 500 metre section in West Aukland really cost more than the total cost of living in say Avondale?

          Yes, several thousand dollars per year more as there’s far more travel involved.

          Then there’s the roads – lots of roads out west here that aren’t used anywhere near as much as the ones closer to the CBD. Those roads are needed though and so the rates go up.

          And that applies to pretty much everything. More travel, more roads, more electricity and power reticulation, more, more, more

          More expensive houses closer in cost at least $500,000

          Houses, yeah, they would be as they’re massively inefficient use of land. Apartments on the other hand can be much, much, cheaper.

          The difference in travel compared to a closer in suburb might be 10 k to 15 k per day, and for a car that would be an extra $30 per week (mostly fuel) – and pretty much everyone in Auckland has a car.

          I think you’ll find that your estimates of the Costs of running a car are out. Never mind the inefficiency of having a vehicle to go to work and then park it all day doing nothing.

          By the way the cost of additional roads, sewerage, water, power, parks, etc is all covered by the development levies of Council, which are of course part the section cost.

          1.) Do those costs actually cover the full costs involved?
          2.) What about the ongoing costs? I bet you haven’t even figured out that the costs associated with maintaining a city increases exponentially as it sprawls. That, IMO, is why rates in NZ keep going up at rates far in excess of inflation.

        • geoff

          What DTB said. Also, most people in big cities around the world do not own cars. It’s a quaint, parochial vision for the city that you’ve got there, Wayne, and it’s complete bullshit.

          • Wayne

            But they do own cars in places actually comparable to NZ, such as Australia, Canada and the US. By that I mean we have newish cities typically 100 to 200 years old. We are not going to replicate European cities any time soon.
            This idea we can’t grow outward at all is rather odd – we are simply talking about being the same size as Brisbane, hardly a place that is hell on earth. People there seem to be able live much the same as we do.

            • Draco T Bastard

              We are not going to replicate European cities any time soon.

              Yes we will, we’ll have no choice due to economics. The delusion is over, no more cheap energy, no more of having everything you desire simply because we can’t afford it. What we can afford is still a hell of a lot more than what was true 100 years ago when Auckland was being built exactly the same way that the European cities were being built but we won’t have personal cars, we won’t have aircraft and imports will be almost non-existent.

              That’s the future that we have to look forward to. It’s going to be good in many ways but it’s not going to just be more of what we have because what we have has come to its end.

              • Wayne

                “We won’t have personal cars, we won’t have aircraft and imports will be almost non existent”.

                Seriously that is not going to happen. Hydrocarbons have a 100 years of reserves, taking into account deep sea oil, tight gas, shale and in fact normal oil fields. There is of course the still vast reserves of the Middle East.

                Doesn’t the fact that the US still produces a huge amount of oil and gas 150 years after first commercial use indicate that there is still plenty out there, even in the US.

                Sure cars will be electric, or ultra fuel efficient (20km/l), but oil, gas methane are not going to run out in the next 100 years – might be expensive though. But at forecast levels of efficiency, a litre could cost $10 and it will still be barely more expensive (in actual total quantity used by each person) than at present.

                Boeing and Airbus are making more efficient aircraft, and orders are booming. Air travel is cheaper real terms that ever before. Prices would have to more than double before they got back to the levels of the 1980’s in real terms. In my entire adult life (since the early 1970’s) an economy class ticket to the UK has never been more than around $2,200, and in recent years has often been less. But wages have increased tenfold in nominal terms since the 1970’s, as have house prices. In fact in Auckland more like twentyfold!

                And ocean fright is extraordinarily more efficient than is generally realized. As a proportion of the cost of most imports it is only a very small proportion.

                Now I know about global warming, and that will moderate the use of fossil fuels, but it is mostly going to mean reduced coal use, which is already occurring – hence the problems of Solid Energy.

                • Colonial Viper


                  Declining vehicle passenger kms all through the western world.

                  In the USA real wages have been stagnant or falling since the mid 1980’s: except for the very elite of course.

                  • Wayne

                    I agree on real wages, but I was referring to nominal wages.

                    For instance in 1975 a secondary teacher at the top of the scale got around $6,000, but today the top of the scale is around $70,000. I wonder if teachers then were better off in real terms than today.

                    Not easy to compare individuals since most people get promotions through a career, but I imagine there could be a 70 year old teacher still teaching in the classroom who was at the top of the scale 40 years ago and never chose to go up the career ladder. They would know if their living standards have improved. I imagine “yes” since in the last 40 years there has been some real growth, and it did not all go to the top 10%.

                    But the nominal cost of airfares has remained the same and I imagine for “grab a seat” are way less than they were 40 years ago.

                    • Wayne

                      On the declining passenger miles (including NZ) it shows that a fair bit of car travel is actually quite discretionary. You can plan to do several things on a trip, you can car pool, you can work closer to home, catch the ferry rather than drive to the city (which I do more now than I used to) you can do more entertaining at home, see videos rather than go to the movies, etc, etc. But people still find their car is pretty important.

                      For instance 60% of people on the Shore work on the Shore compared to 50% twenty years ago.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Nominal wages lol

                      Notice how packs of salt and vinegar chips are not just more expensive than 10 years ago, but contain fewer grams of chips.

                      That’s inflation AND deflation attacking the nominal wage at the same time

                      I’ll put it another way, if you were earning $25,000 pa in 1970 you were amongst the wealthiest people in NZ and could buy a lovely house outright in just one year.

                      Today you’re a pauper. Nominal wages lol

                    • Colonial Viper

                      People are dumping their cars as they aren’t economic. This trend will accelerate.

                      Good luck with your cornucopian energy scenarios mate.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Hydrocarbons have a 100 years of reserves,

                  That may be so, doesn’t mean that we’re going to get any.

                  Doesn’t the fact that the US still produces a huge amount of oil and gas 150 years after first commercial use indicate that there is still plenty out there, even in the US.


                  And you should probably read this.

                  Now I know about global warming, and that will moderate the use of fossil fuels, but it is mostly going to mean reduced coal use, which is already occurring – hence the problems of Solid Energy.


        • karol

          Wayne, you have NFI of the areas you are talking about.

          Transport: In the last couple of years I moved from the New Lynn area to Henderson & then back to New Lynn. Last moVe I was looking at Swanson, Ranui, kumeu etc.

          I travel more by public transport into the city than by car. The train fare from Henderson is more than from new Lynn, plus the added time makes the longer journey a bit tiresome. Many low income people could be struggling to get to jobs etc. The public transport to and from Kumeu is very poor. The North Western motorway can be very slow during peak times, and it’s just not good for the environment.

          Housing: I am told by people in the know, that the new apartments in New Lynn(in a block of 6 or more storeys), have been selling very well. The ones with a balcony have been very popular, the ones without not so much, They are right beside the train station and bus interchange, have green spaces within walking distance, are right beside the mall and new medical centre.

  6. bad12 6

    ‘The song’ will remain the same in Auckland as far as house price inflation goes until ‘The State’ gets real and builds 30,000 rental units within the current boundaries of Auckland City,

    The current crisis is simply one of supply and demand, when the demand for property from the would be landlords is killed off prices for housing for those wishing to by a home will at the least stabilize,

    Someone highlighted the removal of 17 HousingNZ homes from the States protfolio in the Auckland suburb of Sandringham in today’s ‘Open Mike’,

    2 of those properties were sold at auction last week for 2 million dollars, here’s the plans of one of the buyers,

    This couple,both professionals already ‘own’ another property, presumably with a mortgage, they plan to build ‘their home’ on the back of the HousingNZ property they have just bought at auction, subdividing the section and leaving the ex-State house on its present site,

    They will then live in the home built at the rear of the HousingNZ section and rent out the other 2 properties,

    And therein lies Aucklands ‘housing crisis’ 1000’s of such people who see their future as being landlords to others becoming the ‘owners’ of multiple properties, and thus pushing demand and prices ever higher,

    Note: Such ownership is in fact ‘unreal’ as these people are taking on multi-million dollar debts they are simply the ticket clippers for the US Banking Cartels and might upon their retirement actually ‘own’ such properties by the time they attain retirement age,

    Sadly to be 70 something and an actual multi-millionaire is simply ludicrous in terms of what they expect to be able ‘to do’ with such wealth at such an age if they are of course that ‘lucky’ as a 2% rise in interests rates any time in the next 10-15 years will wipe most of these ‘landlords’ out financially…

    • KAB 6.1

      What about the other land Housing NZ is off loading in the same street as well. The land had resource consent for 42 units but HNZ says on its web site that it is too costly to build them so it is putting land on open market for other developers. Makes a mockery of Smith saying that the land needs to be available on the fringe to push land costs down. The issue is more complex and simplistic responses by the government do not address Auckland ( and NZ’s ) housing problems. Housing NZ is one of the few agencies that could deliver affordable housing given its existing landholdings. In Auckland where it is clear that intensification will be delivered through the Unitary Plan it should be holding on to the land, not selling it. Fragmented ownership will stop the ability to aggregate enough land to deliver intensification. Government should not make the Auckland Regions’ long standing compact city policy accountable for its failures.

      • Treetop 6.1.1

        A good example of the government being a real estate agent with no social responsibility. I now know why the housing stock is falling, it is too expensive for the government to build housing on land they own.

  7. Treetop 7

    I am against dense housing due to the social problems which arise.

    1. Banging car doors.
    2. Banging front or back doors.
    3. TV/stereo/radio heard through the wall.
    4. Neighbours who do not like children playing outside.
    5. Arguments being heard.
    6. Rows of rubbish and recycling bins.
    7. Dumped furniture/white ware/car parts.
    8. Cats which come into your home (crap in your garden, then walk over your kitchen bench or hang from your curtains).
    9. Sometimes a business may be run from the premise or the person is a big Trade Me seller/buyer
    10.All of a sudden a person cannot manage the stairs due to a stroke/broken hip.

    A lot of the above can be reduced by using good quality building materials e.g, hush glass and gib solutions.

    A combination of urban sprawl and strictly limited condensed housing is the way to go. People have different needs.

    I really like the way that Housing NZ used to serve the community, before the shortage of housing occurred. My one criticism would be that there was always a shortage of housing for single people and couples.

    Healthy housing is the priority. Auckland has been sprawling for years; efficent public transport is finally catching up. The Wellington rail system has served many outer areas for decades (some daily train trips are 45 minutes or more per journey), this is why Wellington does not have the housing problem that Auckland has.

    How much condensed housing gets bulldozed compared to single or double level housing and why?

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      I am against dense housing due to the social problems which arise.

      And yet if we have a look around the world where they have such housing and they’ve planned for it they don’t have any of those problems.

      • Treetop 7.1.1

        What is it that can be learnt from the rest of the world, re dense housing to avoid social problems?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Well, they have high density housing and none of the problems that you listed. This leads me to believe that there are solutions. Certainly, numerous studies have indicated that problems that did occur in high density areas were more to do with socio-economic conditions than with the high density itself.

          Here, a PDF and another PDF.

          • Treetop

            So as long as the poor do not live in dense housing, social problems will be minimal because the wealthy have money to be entertained away from home, go on long or short trips.

            Those on a low income already live in dense housing (over crowding) in suburbs close to the city. Auckland will have over crowding in dense high rise apartments or the poor will be expected to live in the outer suburbs, which many already do.

            Either way the poor are stuffed.

            • Draco T Bastard

              No, they’re not unless the government, both local and central, keeps stuffing up by following policies that enrich a few and impoverish everyone else.

              <a href="http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10861959New Lynn units start at just $246k

              Cheaper than a house on its own patch of dirt, more convenient as well and a hell of a lot better in many ways.

            • Draco T Bastard

              BTW, I get really sick of the people who whinge but think of the poor waaaaah. The solution there isn’t cheap housing but changing the system so that there are no poor.

              • Treetop

                “… but think of the poor waaaaah.” There are too many policies which enrich a few and impoverish everyone else. Those who have the least struggle the most, I do not consider this to be whinging.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Yes there are. Change the policies and we no longer have the poor. Cheaper housing isn’t really going to cut it simply because there’s really no such thing. Apartments are cheaper to build, cheaper to maintain and tend to be closer to work and play but not so significantly cheaper that suddenly every poor person will be able to go out and buy.

                  • Treetop

                    My biggest concern is that changing policies anytime soon is not going to happen (so no closing the gap) and that the price of housing or the cost of rental is due to failed policy for at least the last decade. To a point WFFs bridged the gap in some households for purchasing a home or occupying a rental. The accommodation supplement benefits the owner or the bank and the AS is too low now for most areas.

                    No matter where housing is, it needs to be of a high standard and to be affordable.

        • Coronial Typer

          Manila is dense. Melbourne is dense. They’re different. One is more attractive, more resilient, more amenable to human flourishing than the other.
          But why?

          • mickysavage

            Open spaces, walking areas. good public transport, public art, preservation of heritage, lots of social infrastructure like galleries, sports stadia and communal places, investment in the arts, keeping cars out of areas, guess where …

            • tc

              Yes but struggling and becoming gridlocked as it hasn’t spent enough in the last 10years on it’s transport/roads whilst piling people into CBD/inner urban.

              Still an awesome city but let itself slide by not maintaining the spend whereas has had AKL spent SFA in the last 30 years in total.

              • Aye TC although not in relation to cars.

                The really great cities have a great train system, and the best ones have electric light rail.

                Auckland’s problem is that it killed its tram system to make way for cars. Trams are way better in that they are communal, affordable, quieter and people can relax as they travel to work. Cars are their own personal bubble where they can turn the radio on and listen to dipstick DJs and talk back hosts and burn petroleum and then require much of the inner city to be car parks so they have somewhere to store their cars. And carparks are the most ugly, destructive buildings in the inner city.

                In 1999 Auckland’s train system was ready to have the oxygen removed and put to sleep it was in such a bad way. Passenger trips were about 1 million a year.

                Then something happened. Local Government grew a pair and made some big decisions.

                Christine Fletcher and her Council (yes ex Nat MP) decided to invest huge amounts of money in Britomart. Banks then was elected but was unable to wreck what had been started. The other Councils around Auckland had elected to join with Auckland to buy the rail system off NZRail and improve it. This was really brave forward looking stuff.

                Banks had his evil way though. The Councils had agreed to light rail throughout the region including down Symonds Street where the student market would make sure that numbers were high enough to make the system viable. Banks removed Symonds Street from the planned network and this destroyed the business case for light rail. Of all his sins as a politician this particularly evil decision should have him crucified in 20 years time when people realise.

                The rest of the region stayed staunch and then Cullen decided to step in and renegotiate the deal. He also put significant money into the project.

                Since then passenger numbers have increased to 12 million. The growth should continue, especially after electric trains are introduced. If/when peak oil hits there will be a stampede and people will be thinking what were those stupid politicians doing not planning for this.

                The CRL is absolutely vital. At the same time the Council should trash some parking buildings and make car travel really uneconomic.

                Sorry bit of a rant … but Auckland could be wonderful if it can just tame its cars.

  8. xtasy 8

    Smith is a National MP and minister at heart (much more blue than “green”), and National is serving interests primarily of the various business lobbies, which includes anyone from real estate agents, land owners/dealers, developers, builders, larger construction companies, materials wholesalers, contractors, insurers, transport operators, retailers, speculators, home owners, landlords, tourism operators, service delivers and to whosoever else comes to mind.

    So naturally they continue to dream of “endless economic growth” ensuring earnings and profits for their most important supporters, paymasters and lobbyists. Workers and residents that are struggling to afford housing are not their real priority.

    They want to create “growth” by plastering land between Whanagarei and Hamilton, to create the South Pacific’s mega city of a size like Sydney or bigger. Highways will interconnect wide spread “suburbs”, and only some trains will cart the have littles to work. The cross Tasman competitive mindset comes to help. So a mega city – bigger than Sydney or Melbourne – will house more hundreds of thousands or millions of additional migrants they want to allow in over coming decades. It will to them be an “achievement”. “We will be noted with a truly mega city”, they may think.

    It is the easiest way to “create” growth, by simply increasing populations and markets, and to look at resource costs later. But as profits of the owning and investing business and landlord classes are crucial to National, they do not care, whether it is short term “gain” and longer term “pain”, as they never think of the future of the kids of their kids. Me first is the highest motto and mantra.

    Irresponsibility and stupidity combined, I can only say to all this.

    • muzza 8.1

      Auckland is , in no way a city fit for 2m+ people.

      All this talk about use space more efficiently, sure yes, but the closer together the plebs have to live, the more social problems we are going to have.

      Growth by population increase, is only a medium near term outcome. Medium to long term the consequences are going to be killer!

  9. prism 9

    From the NZ Herald
    ” Developers picked to net $28m from Crown land selloff
    8:50AM Thursday Mar 07, 2013 By Alanah Eriksen

    A block of state housing land for sale in Sandringham is ripe for a townhouse development that could net a developer $28 million, a property expert … More”

  10. ad 10

    Auckland is now New Zealand’s second government: where Auckland goes, New Zealand now follows in almost every respect. Economy. Society. Culture. Infrastrucutre. It’s very close to 40% of everything now except New Zealand’s land mass and energy production.

    This is the grand contest we face not only in the Local Government elections this year, but also in 2014’s central elections:

    Do we have another moment like 1949 in which Labour sought to build a progressive and coherent Auckland, built around public transport, and squadloads of affordable hosues with price-regulated state and Council flats, or does National get in again and reinforce a wasteful, unproductive motorway-based future yet again?

    The answer depends on how well Labour has a plan, has ideals to stand for, and has a campaign that wins – both in the central and local elections. Will Labour’s hierarchy enable strong ideals and a compelling capmaign to realign Auckland Council’s politics and, finally, win in 2014 to make the great alignment?

    Because unless it does, and wins, unless Auckland government and central government are aligned, New Zealand will jsut get sucked faster and faster into Auckland to no productive effect and to the great damage of the nation. Forever.

  11. prism 11

    There is a container in Christchurch on TradeMe for $2000. Someone from Auckland should snap this up and use it to start a container park for housing there. Simple streamlined and low cost living. No leaks? as found in expensive homes still being built. Put two side by side for family togetherness, and very low rental.

    This could be done actually, and set up to provide better living conditions at affordable prices than those many now are enduring. Someone from a Housing Association or Trust desiring to serve the people’s needs for adequate lot-cost housing should do this. Not of course Housing NZ. They lost their integrity of service to the people and mojo years ago.

  12. dw 12

    I wonder, has anyone dug into the financial backgrounds of the cheerleaders for greater urban sprawl? I seem to remember the Productivity Commission (or was it Property Council) coming out recently saying that availability of land was the biggest factor in high house prices in Auckland, then surprise surprise, they recommended removing all urban limits. I wouldn’t mind betting if you looked into it, that these neo-lib fossils have a web of companies that own the landbanks on the urban fringe. Typical National crony-capitalism.

  13. prism 13

    I remember hearing someone saying that he would be happy to see housing expand from Auckland to Hamilton. I couldn’t remember the name, and couldn’t find on Radionz the particular reference so may be it was this Commission.

    This country is constantly turning over its verities, like don’t build on land which could be farmland, it’s our biggest asset, and then someone looks under the stone and finds fools gold there. And another building block for a stable society with ongoing enterprise and reasonable prosperity

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  • A charge on plastic bags – debunking some myths
    The launch of my Members’ Bill last week, which would introduce a 15 cent charge on single-use plastic bags at the check-out, has generated a lot of comment on mainstream and social media. From The Paul Henry Show at the ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    22 hours ago
  • National’s $1trillion property sandcastle
    The National government's failure to fix the housing crisis has seen the ballooning and unsustainable property market touch the $1 trillion mark, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. "Labour wants an economy that creates high wage work that is based ...
    23 hours ago
  • Government failure on housing crisis drives Reserve Bank to add tools
    If the Government was delivering a comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis, it is unlikely that the Reserve Bank would be continuing to pursue debt to income limits for lending for housing, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 days ago
  • International embarrassment for NZ likely over National’s failure to protect Maui dolphin
    New Zealanders who care about Maui dolphin should prepare to feel embarrassed: the Government is about to be put to shame on the international stage for its lack of action to protect Maui’s dolphin. The International Whaling Commissions’ 66th Biennial ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    4 days ago
  • Why don’t we spend $1b to keep people out of jail, rather than spending it on keeping them in?
    Earlier this week, Corrections Minister Judith Collins announced the government’s ‘solution’ to our burgeoning prison population. It seems that most, if not all, of Bill English’s hard-won surplus is going to disappear into another round of prison-building.  That must be ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    6 days ago
  • PKE Ship Sent Packing – Not Too Soon
    It is appropriate that the palm kernel expeller (PKE) ship off Tauranga has been sent packing. For weeks I have been saying this ship needed to be sent away, but it seems as if MPI has been trying to find ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    6 days ago
  • Do you #LoveSnow?
    I was a lucky kid. When I was about five or six my mum and auntie took me up to Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu and taught me to ski. As a young kid I thought there was no bigger ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    6 days ago
  • Awa Kairangi/Hutt River – Swimmable?
    On Thursday night I hosted a great swimmable rivers meeting organised by the local Greens in Heretaunga (Hutt Valley). It was great to see about 70 people attend and engage in the topic. We were welcomed by Te Atiawa representative ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    6 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    6 days ago
  • Barry Coates on his first weeks in Parliament
    Week one in Parliament has been quite an occasion. I would like to share the experience. I had given up on the prospect of getting into Parliament before the election and had been enjoying the diverse work I was doing ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    6 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    7 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    1 week ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    1 week ago
  • Vote Sooty Shearwater/Tītī for Bird of the Year
    Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) are amazing and deserve your vote in Forest and Bird’s Bird of the Year competition.  They make one of the longest known bird migrations, flying an annual round trip of 64,000 kms across the entire Pacific ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    1 week ago
  • Energy use going in the wrong direction
    New data out this week from Statistics NZ paints a concerning picture of energy use across the economy under this National Government. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is some seriously worrying information here about how dirty our ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    1 week ago
  • Junior Doctors go on Strike
    Thousands of junior doctors took strike action for 24 hours this week for better working conditions and safer working hours.  The Green Party supports their cause, and particularly their claims to reduce the number of days worked from up to ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    1 week ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    1 week ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening our relationship with the Rātana movement
    It was a privilege to visit Rātana Pā last week with fellow Greens’ Co-leader James Shaw, our Māori Caucus and senior staff to meet with the leaders of te iwi mōrehu, to strengthen the ties between the Green Party and ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    1 week ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    1 week ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disconnected thinking dirties the water
    Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Report back from Hands Off Our Tamariki hui
    This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke.  They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago