Humans of Remuera revolt against the Unitary Plan

Written By: - Date published: 9:43 am, February 26th, 2016 - 123 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, local government, Politics - Tags: , , , ,

Humans of Remuera

This week the Auckland Council debated proposed changes to the unitary plan. Residents of the leafy Eastern Suburbs were up in arms at the prospect that more people were going to live there and their homes were going to be surrounded by huge apartment buildings full of immigrants.

Stirred on by their locally elected representatives and National Party stalwarts Desley Simpson and Cameron Brewer they decided to march on City Hall singing Kumbayah while they prepared to chain themselves to City Hall. They were going to refuse to leave until Auckland Council agreed to keep their suburbs exactly the way they are now.

They have a gripe. Sort of. Although some boorish treatment of young people who also spoke at the meeting made the Humans of Remuera look like dicks.

Obviously Auckland Council seriously undercooked its analysis. The draft Unitary Plan was not going to fit in as many houses as everyone agreed it should. But inner city intensification has been talked about for years from the Auckland Plan to the draft Unitary Plan. Fitting more people into a sparsely populated area should be a no brainer unless they want all the new arrivals to live in Henderson or Otahuhu. Maybe this is their desire. Intensification yes but not in my back yard.

It was a tough issue for the liberal councillors. Proper notice of the plan change should have been given but the compact city proposal is well advanced. Three story houses are hardly the end of civilisation as we know it.

The right block were loud and indignant. The left bloc were critical. The only councillors who voted to maintain the evidence were the Mayor and his remaining supporters and the Deputy Mayor and her remaining supporters.

Stephanie Rodgers calls the landowners position hypocritical.

She explains it more fully in this post.

The angry-making thing about the Epsom Paradox is it’s not hypocrisy. It’s pure cynicism. It’s the logical end behaviour of an ideology which believes the rich and powerful are inherently more deserving, more equal, more important than those people who live in “welfare suburbs”. The belief is not, “deregulation is good”; it’s “deregulation is good when it’s good for me.”

So when I want to build a set of leaky apartment buildings, sell them to unsuspecting people and then pull out of the shell company that holds all the liability, deregulation should let me do that. The market, after all, will somehow find a way to correct for massive issues which only become apparent years after I’ve made my profits and retired to a tropical island.

But when my next-door neighbour wants to put up a couple of townhouses on the back of their section, blocking MY view and meaning other people might be able to see into MY yard, well, that’s a travesty! An infringement on my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness! Don’t you know some of those people might be not rich?

The Government must be secretly pleased it has someone else to blame for Auckland’s housing woes.  They are not worried where future housing supply comes from and are just as happy if it comes from urban sprawl or intensification. As long as the polls suggest that most people think the housing crisis is Auckland Council’s fault there is no problem.

They must have been in a really evil mood when they decided to schedule the final vote on the Unitary Plan in September this year, a month before election day. The Council is meant to receive absorb and vote on the plan within 20 working days. Based on this week’s experience the hysteria levels are going to be extreme. The prospects of politicking wrecking Auckland’s future blueprint must be really high.

 

123 comments on “Humans of Remuera revolt against the Unitary Plan”

  1. Sabine 1

    well this is the response to the residents of the lovely leavy suburbs with the nice houses to the younger genreation,

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-02-24/pulling-up-the-property-ladder-to-keep-the-young-off?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=56ce30ddaed9290012517a9f&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

    well i guess some people are just more equal then others, and some people have no decided to not pretend anymore. All from me and nothing for thee, and besides you can move out of akl if ya can’t afford it.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “So when I want to build a set of leaky apartment buildings, sell them to unsuspecting people and then pull out of the shell company that holds all the liability, deregulation should let me do that. The market, after all, will somehow find a way to correct for massive issues which only become apparent years after I’ve made my profits and retired to a tropical island.”

    Well actually a fully de-regulated marketplace would mean that a company facade would be unable to protect an individual from their dodgy dealings. It’s the regulations around companies that allow this sort of behaviour at the moment.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Well actually a fully de-regulated marketplace would mean that a company facade would be unable to protect an individual from their dodgy dealings.

      How so?

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        Anyone would be free to sue anyone for any action. At the moment, limited liability companies protect the directors from being sued.

        Take away all regulation, and there’s effectively no such thing as a limited liability company any more.

        I’m hardly suggesting this is a desirable state of affairs, more pointing out that government regulations have consequences. One of the consequences of limited liability companies is that arseholes can use them to rip other people off.

        • Macro 2.1.1.1

          Ahh see where you are coming from. But then the problem is the cost of law suits.

          • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.1

            Sure, there are many problems that arise when there is no regulation.

            But Stephanie’s argument is backwards: she’s saying a deregulated marketplace would let people build leaky houses and hide behind a company veil to get away with it. Actually a truly deregulated marketplace would have no company veil to hide behind and people WOULD (assuming the case can be proven, and there are sufficient funds to mount the court case) be held more accountable for these sorts of scams than they are at the moment.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Is there a way to operate this without the lawyers and litigation teams being the major winners. For starters penalties for frivalous suits must be up there.

            • Psycho Milt 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Her argument is that these people are enthusiasts for regulation as long as it protects their interests. So, regulation that prevents you putting up shoddily-built real estate developments is bureaucratic red tape that must be done away with, but regulation that allows you to escape liability for putting up shoddily-built real estate developments is a vital protection of property rights and individual liberty.

              • Lanthanide

                Right, that makes sense, but is not actually what Stephanie said.

              • yabby

                If THAT is her argument it is spurious. Where’s the proof that it is Remuera residents who build Leaky Apartments more than residents in other areas? Remuera has, rightly or wrongly, a reputation of snobbishness and by extension NIMBYISM.

                Remuera is one of the oldest and largest suburbs in Auckland and probably NZ. It pretty well epitomises inner city suburbia and has been intensified to a degree under many district plans. It has more than it’s fair proportion of apartments, units, smaller dwellings, largely due to it’s proximity to the City itself. Other less salubrious suburbs have not been subject to such disruption, so let’s be having a go at them then.

                Heaven only knows that when dear old Grey Lynn residents are assaulted by the presence of a Mitre 10 in the main road, the liberal left did their scones.

                Some balance please, the representatives of this pleasant and leafy suburb are quite as entitled to chain themselves to their well-clipped hedges and may well scuff their Manolo Blahniks as they do so.

                Surely it’s not just the left who can rage against the machine!

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  In fact, Stephanie used leaky buildings as an example, not an allegation. Her argument is perfectly sound.

                  When Remuera residents stop voting for a party that wants to gut the RMA – and has almost certainly taken money from donors on the promise to do so – they’ll have a leg to stand on.

            • mickysavage 2.1.1.1.1.3

              But her point is that this will not happen because the right keep the rules that help and rail against the rules that do not help.

              • yabby

                I get what she is saying. The ACC is centre-left dominated and surely that dominance must serve to counter rampant Remuera-ites from blighting other lesser suburbs with shoddy buildings to line their pockets while insisting their own sections remain at a manicured 1/4 acre.

                Reality is that residents of very many suburbs are affected by council’s often arbitrary zoning decisions. The job of ward councillors is to advance the interests of their electorates. If other areas feel they’re getting the raw end if the proverbial then we have a looming election and they can make their feelings known at the ballot box.

                • Molly

                  “Reality is that residents of very many suburbs are affected by council’s often arbitrary zoning decisions. “
                  Intensification and mixed housing around upgraded transport hubs and close to industry and employment and already existing infrastructure is not arbitrary.

                  ” The job of ward councillors is to advance the interests of their electorates.”
                  The interests of those electorates are not necessarily the same actions that the electorate want. Councillors have the responsibility to make long-term planning decisions, but unfortunately they often make votes that improve their chances of getting re-elected.

                  ” If other areas feel they’re getting the raw end if the proverbial then we have a looming election and they can make their feelings known at the ballot box.”
                  Many of those who are disenfranchised and who, as Richard Burton from 2040 referred to on Tuesday as from “lower quality” suburbs, know that their votes mean little when the candidates are often more of the same. Independent candidates are up against well-financed “teams” with high profiles. Local government voting is often a case of “I recognise that name, she/he did that thing… ” Tick.

                  I have come across this singular attachment to my property, my community, etc. in a few workshops. Many references to the squeaky wheel getting the grease – and many times this has been shown.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    The interests of those electorates are not necessarily the same actions that the electorate want. Councillors have the responsibility to make long-term planning decisions, but unfortunately they often make votes that improve their chances of getting re-elected.

                    Well said. We employ our representatives to govern, not to slavishly follow party lines, and especially not to respond to hard decisions with populist lies.

                    • yabby

                      If any elected official at local government level solely reflects a party’s line rather than those of their constituents, they do get dealt to. Thank goodness we don’t have the cursed MMP at local government level with the party faithful given jobs for favors rendered. Contrary to your assertion I do not want to be “governed” in my community, au contraire I want my voice to be heard, to be represented and the specific needs of my immediate community recognized and met.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I want my voice to be heard, to be represented and the specific needs of my immediate community recognized and met.

                      That’s just it. Under our present system the majority of people aren’t heard – only the rich and thus the rich rule.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Contrary to your assertion I do not want to be “governed”

                      Of course you don’t: you want to decide on resource management issues all on your own. You want to design and build bridges according to your reckons, educate children, likewise, and let’s face it, universal healthcare is unpopular among real people.

                      No wait: this just in: you’re quite happy to benefit from governance, you just don’t want to take any responsibility for it.

                • mickysavage

                  Yabby

                  “I get what she is saying. The ACC is centre-left dominated and surely that dominance must serve to counter rampant Remuera-ites from blighting other lesser suburbs with shoddy buildings to line their pockets while insisting their own sections remain at a manicured 1/4 acre.”

                  Oh no it aint. Progressives probably total 7 on a good day.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2

          See where you’re coming from. In fact it reminds me off what I read in David Graeber’s Debt: The first 5000 years.

          In that he mentioned that the people’s of the Middle East were the original traders and that in the Quran(sp?), IIRC, it’s mentioned that no laws should regulate trade as people who are ripped off can bring redress. Of course, this is why Sinbad has numerous body guards and isn’t too bad with the sword himself. Nobody’s going to seek redress under such circumstances and we could probably point to such practices as the beginnings of the Mafia and other types of organised crime.

          The same applies today in the courts – the majority simply can’t afford to seek redress for the wrongs committed against them.

    • Murray Simmonds 2.2

      So whats to stop this, in a market that is/is not deregulated?

      The dodgy dealer, regardless of whether his company is limited liability or not, sells his company to an offshore buyer, knowing that the houses he/she has built will start leaking like a sieve in a couple of years’ time.

      I think there’s a hole in your argument, Lanth.

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        No Murray, in a truly deregulation environment (eg, 0 regulations), anyone is free to sue anyone else for any reason at all.

        In this case, the people who bought the leaky buildings, would sue the original builder. They might also try to sue the offshore buyer.

        Compare that to the current situation, where once the company is run out of money, that is it, and you can’t even CHOOSE to sue the previous company director.

        • Molly 2.2.1.1

          Firstly, what a waste of material resources to build inhabitable homes.

          Such disregard for our finite planet.
          “…anyone is free to sue anyone else for any reason at all.”
          It is not free to sue. It costs people financially, emotionally, in many cases (especially in regards to personal homes) in terms of relationships, and lives held in limbo for undetermined amounts of time.

          Ask some Christchurch residents how leaving it up to an institution has served them.

        • Gristle 2.2.1.2

          In a truly deregulated market there are no rules. Might rules. Courts and the Justice system is a set of regulations. You will have to read your Hayak and Rawls a bit more carefully. A pre-history is envisaged that people “contracted” away some rights. This, they make clear, is purely a hypothetical status. But Hobbes summed up pre-history as being nasty, short and brutish.

          You are just choosing which set of regulations you want enacted. You are not deregulating a market you are tipping the risk reward balance more in favour of those with money and power.

        • Instauration 2.2.1.3

          Litigation is a backstop for failed legislation !
          Get it right at the lead edge – we expect our legislators to deliver this reality to us, (yep – “us” uncapitalised )
          The legislatively delivered outcomes must satisfy the communities of interest who are engaged or affected.

        • the pigman 2.2.1.4

          Good luck having courts if you can’t have “regulations”, whatever it is you think you mean by that, that somehow prohibits companies yet maintains a functioning court system.

        • Murray Simmonds 2.2.1.5

          OK Lanth, thanks for the clarification. Now I can see your point. I guess I was thinking along these lines:

          (a) The previous round of leaky homes took ages to resolve (if indeed it was ever satisfactorily resolved at all).

          (b) Yes there is the option to sue the offshore owner as you say. But if that offshore owner happens to be a non-English-speaking Outer Mongolian or whatever, it might take longer than the estimated life-span of the building to achieve a resolution, and

          (c) No matter whether we live in a regulated or a deregulated environment, there will always be ways for cheats and fraudsters to get around whatever laws are in place. This is especially so when one adds in the added complication of offshore ownership.

          (Yes, I’m shifting the goal-posts here, but in the end, it seems to me, that what we REALLY need is morality and ethics in business decisions. Regulation or deregulation, in the end, doesn’t make much difference if there are fraudsters out there who are determined to cheat).

  3. weka 3

    Someone on National radio yesterday managed to get out that perhaps the problem with Auckland is the increasing population and perhaps it might be a good idea to do something about that. They couldn’t conceive of how to take that argument further, but infill housing is a temporary solution. If you keep increasing the population on a given land base then in x years/decades you’re just back to where we are now.

    I get the hypocrisy. I just think the solution is in protecting all land (not just rich people’s land) rather than making all land up for grabs. Let’s not forget that buying beaches via crowd funding is part of the same culture that thinks poor people should live in crowds and rich people get to visit the country when they want a break from town. Yes, liberals are hypocrites too.

    Btw, I’ve seen infill housing wreck lower socioeconomic suburbs. The poorer people move to the cheaper, more run down places, make then attractive (because their culture is cooler) and then eventually the middle classes who are sick of where they live decide to colonise the hipper, less trendy places. This then increase land prices and then everyone starts subdividing and infilling because of demand.

    Our attitudes towards land and space and people needs to move to being sustainable, and that included protecting space that isn’t built on.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      “Btw, I’ve seen infill housing wreck lower socioeconomic suburbs. The poorer people move to the cheaper, more run down places, make then attractive (because their culture is cooler) and then eventually the middle classes who are sick of where they live decide to colonise the hipper, less trendy places. This then increase land prices and then everyone starts subdividing and infilling because of demand.”

      Isn’t this just gentrification?

      • weka 3.1.1

        What do you mean by ‘just’?

        • Lanthanide 3.1.1.1

          You could have said:

          “Btw, I’ve seen infill housing wreck lower socioeconomic suburbs due to gentrification”.

          I’m trying to ascertain if your long-winded explanation is because what you’re describing is something different than gentrification.

          • weka 3.1.1.1.1

            I wanted the issues (some of them) to be overt rather than implied. The point I was making is that we should be protecting communities and land across all suburbs. Infill kills some communities and makes it harder for some people to afford housing.

            • Lanthanide 3.1.1.1.1.1

              No, I don’t think it’s infill that is killing the communities or making it harder to afford housing.

              It’s the gentrification process, of which infill is a consequence.

              • weka

                hmm, maybe. If there were regulations to prevent infilling would gentrification still be as much of a problem? But you do get that I wasn’t naming gentrification in my example, I was naming infilling, and that the idea that infilling is a good solution to housing shortages is problematic.

                • Lanthanide

                  I guess the question is whether infilling can accelerate gentrification. i guess infill is the ‘end-game’ of gentrification, but even without it, the original inhabitants of the area are still going to be priced out of it / pushed out by the new occupants. So in some ways, having in-fill in location X would mean that location Y and Z are under less pressure of new occupants, because there is more housing supply in location X.

                  This is using the assumption that gentrification is a bad thing, or for the purposes of this discussion it is.

                  And yes, I can see the specific angle you’re getting at. I agree that the assumption that infill is always the best solution is wrong.

                  • weka

                    If it weren’t possible to infill, then the main financial pressure on existing residents would be rates increase if the property prices were increasing or improvements were being made. But if infilling were regulated, wouldn’t that slow the increase in property prices?

                    “So in some ways, having in-fill in location X would mean that location Y and Z are under less pressure of new occupants, because there is more housing supply in location X.”

                    Only if people are moving around but still a stable population. If you have an increasing population, then locations Y and Z will just become the next suburbs to be infillied and/or gentrified and then the residents will move on.

                    I guess I’m arguing for a steady state economy and suggesting that infilling works against that and is just another part of the problem of capitalism.

                    The other issue is that some people like being crowded and others don’t. And in this case the people who don’t like being crowded are missing from the debate as having legitimate concerns because of the class politics.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Gentrification of a neighborhood is only a problem for the current occupants of that neighborhood, *if* they are renting. Because then the rent goes up and eventually they have to move out.

                      If they’re owner-occupiers, they can keep living there. Ok yes the rates might go up and that may be difficult for them to pay, but that reflects an increase in value. They can sell their houses, cash up, and move somewhere else. It’s not ideal if you wanted to keep living in your neighborhood of course, but owner-occupiers aren’t nearly as much of a loser in a gentrified neighborhood (in fact many such owner-occupiers would probably welcome gentrification and the benefits it brings) as renters are.

                    • You are of course assuming Lanth, that the gentrification process doesn’t also price them out of local goods and services. That’s a problem for people who own their properties outright too, as now to stay in their gentrified suburb they may need to travel a lot more to access affordable goods and services, or pay for the more to use the local businesses.

                      But yes, gentrification disproportionately affects renters. Of course, you’re also more likely to be a renter if you have less disposable income, so…

    • Anno1701 3.2

      “The poorer people move to the cheaper, more run down places, make then attractive (because their culture is cooler)”

      Just like the Hipsters

      Middle class brats who have appropriated working class appearance/culture ( workmens shirts, no socks and merchant marine tattoos )

      dont get me started on “food trucks”…..

    • Instauration 3.3

      The Auckland population will not increase apropos those absurd 700K speculations.
      If there are no affordable houses and there are no jobs they will not come.
      Don’t build it – and they won’t come.
      Can’t see the jobs ever materialising to match the speculated population increases – so nothing to see here ! – unless you anticipate a “Calais Jungle” outcome

      • weka 3.3.1

        But the population is increasing despite there not being enough adequate housing available.

        • Instauration 3.3.1.1

          But this increase is not sustainable unless there are jobs to support it.
          And the FTE job growth is just not there.
          Else those Delta residents will be Jungle dwellers.
          And that is sad.

          • weka 3.3.1.1.1

            Quite. Which is why I don’t think infill is a sustainable solution. Even with jobs it won’t be sustainable if the population keeps growing.

            I don’t understand your jungle references.

            • Instauration 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Sorry Weka – yep the “Jungle” context is not evident.
              I see a risk of new “residents” in Auckland being here in an Anticipatory context – (hope for a job – hope for PR).
              Calais has/had a Jungle of “residents” who Anticipate and hope a UK solution.
              They may count as “residents” – and we love them – but the outcome will not be good.
              Auckland population growth must be sustainable and economically beneficial.
              People here on hope – without jobs – do not contribute to this outcome.
              Auckland needs growth in FTE jobs to be credible when asserting the need for substantial infrastructure investment.

        • Instauration 3.3.1.2

          People who I love are resident with us in Auckland – and they have been anticipate of employment and PR – I wonder how they equate in the “population is increasing” statistics ?
          Should I expel them to the Jungle ?

        • Instauration 3.3.1.3

          A thought
          Maybe this AK population growth is accountable to “students” ?
          We know CBD campus registrations have been buoyant on Indian and Chinese influx. The CBD resident expansion to 40K (? – Tui) has been substantive by student occupancy.
          These students reside in the CBD, matriculate and graduate in the CBD, party and dine in the CBD – don’t really need to leave the CBD.
          These numbers are unlikely to be sustainable as the wealth of the Chinese “middle class” evaporates in the next few months.

  4. alwyn 4

    Can someone please explain to me just what is the difference between this situation and the one on Titirangi where that “hero” Johno Smith sat in a tree to prevent development taking place on a block of land?
    Why is it that when “we” do it it is a wonderful thing stopping those evil developers destroying our sacred enjoyment of second growth bush but when “they”, the residents of Epsom, do it they are nasty evil people preventing the young from living anywhere they want to build a property.
    Precisely what do you think is the difference?

    • You_Fool 4.1

      Titirangi = protecting Kauri tree that had stood for generations

      Epson = protecting white peoples privilege to not have brown neighnours

      • weka 4.1.1

        “Epson = protecting white peoples privilege to not have brown neighnours”

        The problem with that argument is that it ignores the people who don’t want infill for other, valid reasons.

        • They wanted to allow three-story houses. You really think that’s an inappropriate change? Because we already have several three-story buildings that I can think of in Wellington.

          • weka 4.1.1.1.1

            No idea. The post doesn’t explain what the issues are at that level. I’ve been arguing principle, whether existing communities get to have a say on development where they live*. As such, I can think of places where 3 story buildings are inappropriate, and the fact that they exist in other places doesn’t mean they are ok everywhere, so again, I have no idea about this particular situation.

            *I still believe that communities are actual things and should be protected and that increasing density shouldn’t automatically be considered a good thing. Also, such protection should take precedence over property market concerns. Yes, I’m aware of the irony of saying that in this thread.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1.1.1

              That’s all well and good in theory. In practice, cro-magnon wingnuts have stymied all attempts to build public transport and other infrastructure that would (perhaps) render Auckland’s sprawl more manageable.

              Why shouldn’t they become Remuera refugees as a result?

              • weka

                Because reverse gentrification just spreads the problem around and the rest of us don’t want them either?

          • Lloyd 4.1.1.1.2

            There are lots of three story houses in Auckland’s leafy suburbs too! No-one seems to be upset because they are there.
            In fact no-one notices them and when the Council re-emphasises the ability to build such structures a band of headless chooks gets upset about the minuscule increase in their right to develop their property without the draconian hand of the COUNCIL’S PLANNERS STOPPING THEM. jUST WEIRD.
            If I was a Liberal I be jumping up and down demanding that the deadening influence of the Council’s planners didn’t affect me until I had built to at least 8 storeys.

      • Ad 4.1.2

        It’s not quite as stark as that.

    • Ad 4.2

      There’s no equity in Kauri trees.

      • Andre 4.2.1

        Ironically, in terms of maximising the financial return from those sections, someone interested in buying into the area would probably pay a lot more with those trees still there and sensitively designed and built around, than for just another cleared section with a big box on it.

        • Ad 4.2.1.1

          Nah, most don’t live in Titirangi for quick equity increases of any kind.
          Most accept it’s really, really hard to subdivide following the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Act legislation that was absorbed into Auckland’s acts in 2009.

          Secondly, few want to sell in any one year, so there is a very slow and small market for Titirangi.

          We like it that way.

          • Andre 4.2.1.1.1

            Agree with all of that. But these were previously undeveloped sections (subdivided at the same time as the rest of 1 to 56 Paturoa Rd a long time ago) completely bush-covered. The developer wants to build two new houses, probably to flick on for a quick buck. They already own another huge mansion elsewhere in Titirangi on a huge section, so it’s hard to imagine it’s for themselves to live in.

    • Macro 4.3

      Actually if you can’t see the difference any explaination is a waste of breathe.

      • alwyn 4.3.1

        That sort of response usually means that the person making it can’t think of any reply that wouldn’t make them a laughing stock.
        Apart from Epsom = “people who don’t vote Labour” and Titirangi = “people who might vote Labour” I suppose? many on the left seem to think that is a sufficient reason.

        • joe90 4.3.1.1

          Titirangi, on the city fringe beset by infill housing on smaller and smaller sections and narrow crowded ways where if you’re lucky no one has boxed in your drive way, where some people made an effort to protect a bush suburb’s special character, a tree.

          Remuera, smack dab in the middle of the nations largest city with no infill housing, leafy avenues and more off street parking than they know what to do with, where some special people want to protect a central city a suburb’s special character, fucking great big sections with swimming pools and shit and no poors.
          //

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 4.3.1.1.1

            Remuera, smack dab in the middle of the nations largest city with no infill housing…

            Got a link for that?

          • maui 4.3.1.1.2

            Remuera where your 3-4 storey high rise “bungalow” McMansion went straight through Council planners and takes up 80% of your section, and any other structures would ruin the special character of your building.

            • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 4.3.1.1.2.1

              There is a shitload of infill in Remuera. Makes sense when you consider the economics.

              • joe90

                Yeah, perhaps so but the density ain’t nothing like the 200m² – 300m² gross site area you see out through the south west.

                • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                  Much of Remuera is in the 6a zone which provides for one residential unit per 375 square metres or 5 which is 500 square metres. Papakura res 2 is 350 and res 3 is 400.

                  • Molly

                    Subdivisions of greenfields allow for the site’s average to be calculated as the “minimum”. (ie. this will have more impact on places like Papakura and outer suburbs than infill housing development on one Remuera or inner suburb site.

                    eg. A 73 site development in Franklin needs only the average of site sizes to come in at a minimum. That means a couple of large sites that take up unbuildable platforms eg. at 2500m2, can produce in other parts of the subdivision titles of 250m2.

                    The process is flawed, and creates – once again – incentives for development of greenfield to a lesser quality of built form in those areas.

        • Anno1701 4.3.1.2

          “Titirangi = “people who might vote Labour””

          when was the last time you went to Titirangi ?

          its basically ponsonby/grey lynn with more trees these days

          • Ad 4.3.1.2.1

            And the Deprivation Index is 10.
            And it’s pretty much one of New Zealand’s whitest suburbs.
            Not much changes in Titirangi.

            • Anno1701 4.3.1.2.1.1

              my family have been living in Titirangi for 4 generations , It used to be 3 types of people lived here

              Artists , Outlaws & Eccentrics

              now its Yoga mums, Tradies and property developers

              A good example is the recent art gallery development , how many people in the surrounding area are ever going to use that space, its purely to assuage the snobism of the local board members

              • Ad

                You are one of the rare ones – but then, people who stay in one suburb in Auckland are pretty rare all over.

                I like the art gallery and use it
                I like the music festival
                I like the primary school
                I like its active networks
                I like the people
                I even did folk dancing with the Folk Club last weekend.

                • Anno1701

                  Ive left Titirangi ( Laingholm to be more specific ) a number of times, once to live abroad for 15 years

                  but for reasons im sure you will appreciate I always find myself drawn back there

                  The final time was to show my wife and children what i consider to be the best “quality of life” Auckland has to offer as we moved back to NZ from Europe

                  gentrification has yet to reach our little part of the Waitakeres in any major way, but it will come no doubt as the middle classes are squeezed outof the centre of Auckland by morbidly obese property prices

                  In the past the only “money” out my neck of the woods came from drugs/crime and no-one wanted to be flashing that around really

                • weka

                  “but then, people who stay in one suburb in Auckland are pretty rare all over.”

                  More so than other big cities?

            • alwyn 4.3.1.2.1.2

              “And the Deprivation Index is 10.”
              And just where did you get that number from? You almost had me believing you.
              According to the deprivation map for the electorate it is 1 or 2 in Titirangi.. You haven’t been listening to the stories told about it by the MP have you? Wasn’t he the fellow who described his own $2.5 million dollar mansion as just a doer-upper? I guess he would regard anything as deprived.
              http://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-nz/DBHOH_Lib_EP_New%20Lynn_TOC_1/4ff160a10ae2057609d374431a089ad78e366efb
              The map is on page 16.
              As far as Anno1701 goes I have to admit I’m not sure if I have ever been to Titirangi. I had to look it up on the map when it was in the news last year. I am a proud Wellingtonian who pays only a little attention to the lesser regions of the country.

        • Macro 4.3.1.3

          I know precisely what the difference is – and have lived in both Titirangi and in Parnell. But still I’m not going to bother to explain it, as it would be a waste of breathe.
          Ahhh I see Andre has alluded to some of the difference already.s

    • Andre 4.4

      alwyn, I live about 200m from the trees in Titirangi you’re referring to. So first, a quick update: as of this morning the foliage in the kauri, rimu and other ringbarked trees all look similar to nearby unmolested trees. I didn’t see any extra brown-off, foliage glossiness looked similar. Compared to a month ago, it appears the sap bleeding from the wounds has stopped, with very little sap actually having bled out.

      On the level of local residents wishing to retain the character of the neighbourhood they have chosen to make their homes in, and committed a huge proportion of their lifetime earnings to, I agree the Titirangi and Epsom arguments are similar. The big difference is Remuera is about future changes to what’s allowable, whereas Titirangi is about developers going way beyond what’s allowed under existing rules.

      In Titirangi, trees as large as that kauri and rimu are locally significant native vegetation that should be considered in the consent process, and every reasonable effort made to retain and protect them, according to current rules. The current rules also specify a maximum of 150 sq m per section (for sections as small as those) allowed to be cleared, by eye the developers apparently intend to clear about 450 sq m per section.

      The rationale for the bush protection rules is to allow an area where people can live surrounded by native bush, and the wildlife that goes with it. Excessive development drives out any remaining wildlife. On the Titirangi sections in question, the bush that was there was part of a continuous corridor of bush along the coast, which has now almost been cut. Which contributes to the local anger about the excessive extent of the clearing by the developers.

      I haven’t looked closely enough at the rule changes proposed for Epsom etc to form a sensible opinion, so I’ll refrain from comment on that topic.

      • weka 4.4.1

        Great news about the trees! Your updates are appreciated Andre.

      • Anno1701 4.4.2

        the scary thing about that development is it is supposed to be for a show home to prove the developers can build on those forested Titirangi sections & that the council is compliant to their wishes

        so it is meant to just be the first , the developers know that area is a gold mine as the continuing gentrification of Titirangi attracts more & more wealthy refugees from the less and less leafy inner city burbs

      • Ad 4.4.3

        Great hopeful stuff.
        We’re going to keep fighting that one.
        Astonishing cock-up by Council.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.5

      Can someone please explain to me just what is the difference between this situation and the one on Titirangi where that “hero” Johno Smith sat in a tree to prevent development taking place on a block of land?

      It didn’t stop development taking place, only a specific type of development that would have destroyed the trees.

  5. Ad 5

    Stephanie skewers them cold. Top work.

    Some real weaklings on that Council.

  6. Atiawa 6

    I wonder which labour hire company this mob was contracted by to march on city hall?

  7. The Chairman 7

    The issue is well covered here:

    https://youtu.be/J_F1AjhTiJM

  8. vto 8

    Well done and most exceptionally highlighted Stephanie.

    The hypocrisy is screaming

  9. saveNZ 9

    After watching the Waatea Estate debate, I would never vote Penny Hulse!

    Penny’s smug demeanour and silver tongued words totally unwilling to listen to any other way forward reminds me of John Key! Auckland council has been working with the government and productivity council to have it all happen hip hip hooray sarc!

    As for the salvation army they have bought into the government and development dogma – push zoning through, don’t consult and ride rough shod over Auckland residents by pretending they support the ‘brown’ poor in South Auckland. Maybe the brown poor should be allowed to have a say in a democratic way just as those in central Auckland! Not have white old, Penny and Alan be their spokesperson.

    A lot was said about the 208,000 people too poor to live in Auckland, but Auckland council and the government is completely happy to push them out with 60,000 migrants coming in. No one asks the poor if that is fair, but Penny and Alan loved talking about the poor brown people of whom they are using to get through their own flawed ideology.

    As for the young not being able to afford Auckland, apparently a chinese migrant was gifted $200,000 as a wedding present to invest in property – so clearly some youth are able to afford Auckland – just not the current residents. It is a complicated issue that Penny and Alan don’t want to think about because they a flogging a personal opinion.

    If the left want more houses they need to identify what is causing the boom and housing shortage and they look stupid and divisive by blaming baby boomers and nimbys, just what the government wants. Scare homeowners against the left and Labour and Greens by the left leading the charge to run roughshod over their neighbourhood and destroy it’s character! Under Penny’s vote, to cut down the ancient tree so the developer could develop the land in Titirangi, you have to wonder how this fits in with the Greens views. There is complete hypocrisy all around.

    Homeowners pay the rates and should have a right to say how they are used. It used to be called democracy. There is plenty of government land to build social housing and provide public transport instead of roads and selling off state houses and they should lead the charge there is it is such an ‘important’ issue for them. Nobody mentioned that in the debate!

    This was not a good debate because minorities and home owners were not represented and a range of opinions and options were never laid out! The government is letting 60,000 new people settle here and now Kiwi homeowners need to pay for it.

    I think if you did get a Pacific Islander there, you might find that under zero hour contracts, the lack of affordable transport, the price of power, water and insurance and the general cost of living, the idea of buying an affordable house is a fantasy. Try building one that person can even afford to rent at todays building prices.

    It is not just John Key who like using the poor to get their agenda through.

    One of the key things that helped National win the election was the beat up on homeowners against renters (via capital gains taxes). Herald was putting out all the hard luck stories about renters and the left fell for it and went hard against home owners and ‘crashing’ property. The election results speak for themselves.

    Is the left falling for the same tactics! Yep!

    • The Chairman 9.1

      Nailed it. Good post.

    • Molly 9.2

      Penny Hulse was actually one of the few councillors that seemed prepared to listen to alternatives during consultation.

      The Unitary Plan process has been hijacked at top level by the way the Supercity was set up, the changes to the Local Government Act by National, and National’s threat not to ratify the Unitary Plan if Auckland didn’t allow SHA’s.

      It was at this point that Len Brown could have drawn a line in the sand and said “No” – as this went against all the feedback from Aucklanders up to that point. But he didn’t. I think after many years of surrounding himself with the power movers and shakers of Auckland – he suffers from group think, and doesn’t have any residual connection to speaking up for the unheard anymore. (I am often embarrassed for him when listening to him speak now.)

      The housing issue is also not helped by the sale of state housing, and the failure to restrict residential sales to NZers. Tax and national policy almost encourages speculative housing as a means to get ahead. These issues are outside of the influence of Auckland Council planning.

      Thanks to Rodney Hide, the connection between Auckland Council and Auckland Transport was severed. So we have two independent institutions that consider in silos how people live, and how people move. A ridiculous situation when you need a 30 yr plan.

      The failures are often laid at the feet of Auckland Council – and while I think they are actually not being innovative or brave enough within their influence, they are not the sole authors of this housing and zoning problem.

      • Macro 9.2.1

        Very perceptive comment Molly
        Yes it does go back to the abomination of the Super city and the hotchpotch of differing plans and aspirations forced by Hide. Fueled by the lack of planning and commitment to the people of NZ by Govt and the now open slather of foreign purchase of residential housing. etc.
        It’s more than just NIMBY, although there is a fair amount of that as well.

  10. saveNZ 10

    The rich are changing the RMA and unitary plan to make themselves more money by putting in high value mansions and apartments and future slums, with intensification. There is no decent affordable housing being built in the city – it is a rout to get the left and the poor to endorse a way to make the city more unaffordable and with less standards by pretending it will somehow help them.

    In Europe and the UK planning is very strict and they have enviable character in their developments. Care is applied to make new developments blend in, not take over the privacy of neighbours and so forth. They have transport links so that people do not need cars. The poor can afford to live in the city in flats. Try to do any sort of flat conversion like a granny flat in Auckland and the council are onto you like a on of bricks. Put up a yurt on a lifestyle block and you will face legal action. However a bunnings or a development over height everywhere, stealing the public harbour and the council will approve it and take it to environment court at rate payer cost.

    Auckland planners and developers want to throw out regulation so that developers can develop as cheap and characterless as possible without preserving the natural environment or character of the area and avoid regulation of height and boundary.

    This has mean Nelson ST apartments – leaky buildings – ports of Auckland, Titrangi ancient trees destruction and massive costs for rate payers.

    Before the ‘left’ fight for this so called ‘intensification’ and join the developers, actually grow a brain and notice that the Auckland councils planning is meaning a lack of standards, cutting down of ancient trees, exploration of mining off the cost of Muriwai and zero public transport being included and massive hight to boundary infringements and more inequality due to litigation.

    Even before this goes through the Auckland council are making sure that 99.5% of resource consents goes through. There is literally zero standards and developers can do whatever they want.

    Bob jones had a funny piss take in the herald the other day highlighting what is going on. This involved asking for a massive Gareth Morgan statue over 75m of height to boundary and just sending it directly to the powers that be at the council, (to get their rubber stamp) this came with a environmental assessment report prepared by himself about the economic benefits. This is the current reality of the piss poor current regualation and the unitary plan which is being rushed through by the government with strict deadlines to councils. Submissions being put in by rich people’s lawyers to make money, while concerned residents are being denigrated as nimby’s.

    If you think intensification is working in Auckland then you are deluded and if your think the unitary plan pushed through by Auckland council and the government is for the poor and will help standards you need a lobotomy. It was full of lawyers lobbying on behalf of their clients to relax zoning and conditions (even further if that is possible).

    Migration is the key driver behind the lack of housing supply and that has not been addressed.

    It takes about hours to drive out of Thailand, between the mansions and the slums and the high rises, and that is the vision for Auckland by the unitary plan. More people, more cars, less trees, zero standards.

    There used to be affordable high rise housing in the CBD, but Kiwis did not want to live there. It is just not how kiwis want to live. Now due to migration, you can’t actually afford to buy in the CBD anymore.

  11. saveNZ 11

    In fact it is probably only a matter of time before someone from Labour or the Greens rush into a public debate, telling homeowners they need to intensify, have apartments next to them and stop being selfish.

    That soundbite will then be played repeatedly on national TV and radio.

    The Natz are forcing thorough the unitary plan but are Labour smart enough to avoid the blame and the Natz to claim Labour wants it too?

    • I think we can have more apartments or simply taller houses with smaller land footprints in ways that are done tastefully and don’t detract from the overall character of their neighborhoods. Assuming, of course, that the character you want isn’t “only privileged people, please,” which is not something you have a right to demand.

      I think also we have to be careful that if intensification is touted as a partial solution to housing prices, that said rules only allow for taller houses or apartment buildings if said buildings are actually affordable housing. None of this splitting a $1million section into two $800,000 houses BS.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 11.1.1

        How will we determine the price? Get Muldoon back and he can legislate the price?

    • The Chairman 11.2

      You’re on a roll. Good post. (saveNZ 3;54pm)

    • Lloyd 11.3

      The left just needs to keep asking the questions

      “If deregulation is good, why are right wing politicians arguing for greater regulation on the number of floors ma and pa investors can build on their modest property? ”

      And

      “Aren’t the people arguing for lower development levels Stalinists?”

  12. Penny Bright 12

    I support the ‘Rule of Law’ regarding the communities of Auckland (including those from the ‘leafy suburbs’ ) being consulted with and involved in a proper way, and decisions being made by the Auckland Council Governing Body (not the small Auckland Unitary Plan Committee).

    (Try checking out the, in my view, underpinning legislation – the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009, sections 80 and 15).

    In my view – anyone who thinks that the underpinning purpose of the ‘out of scope’ rezoning changes in the ‘leafy suburbs’ was to enable property developers to make affordable housing for poorer people – needs to come back to Planet Earth?

    Pronto?

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • Lloyd 12.1

      Penny, if you build enough houses the price will come down.
      Its called market forces.

      • saveNZ 12.1.1

        @Lloyd – actually if you keep adding in more people by migration the price goes up. Its called market forces.

  13. TopHat 13

    Humans Of Remuera appropriate acronym, HOR. 😉

  14. dave 14

    the older generation are screwing up the future good and proper the next government need seriously look at claw backs on the boomer’s you cant have the masses locked out of housing for the sake of an elite group i honestly think if tppa got 300000 a housing protest would get more we have become debt slaves tenants in our own land the cities population is growing the needs to some intergeneration justice it is totally unacceptable to be told to suck it up internalize the housing problem

  15. Penny Bright 15

    I find it interesting how much Generation Zero and the NZ Property Council appear to be, in my opinion, ‘on the same page’ – in their support for the lack of lawful due process, regarding the ‘out of scope’ rezoning changes, which were revoked at the Special Governing Body of Auckland Council on 24 February 2016.

    How many people know that Auckland Council is a member of the NZ Property Council?

    (I’m awaiting an extensive LGOIMA reply from Auckland Council on this matter – which in my opinion, is a significant ‘conflict of interest’.)

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  16. ropata 16

    Posted these comments 2 days ago… should have submitted a guest post

    Today’s examples of wealthy NZers fucking over the rest of us

    Privileged rich white folk get what they want at everyone else’s expense. Never saw that coming. #UnitaryPlan https://t.co/TiTwtkl9PG— Rhys Jones (@rg_jones) February 24, 2016

    Council leaves HNZ one of key submitters on UP. Here’s intensification they want vs council as told by CR Alf today pic.twitter.com/GfjOKNQV4t— TransportBlog (@TransportBlog) February 24, 2016

    Auckland Council backing down on housing intensification plan. @RadioLIVENZ Drive #now #breaking #reallyimportantstuff #greedybabyboomers— Duncan Garner (@DuncanGarnerNZ) February 24, 2016

    A snapshot of the diversity at work in Auckland’s democracy #UnitaryPlan pic.twitter.com/XkB7NnQ9V8— Aaron Hawkins (@CrAaronHawkins) February 24, 2016

    South Auckland homes get demolished to build a highway to subsidise the trucking lobby… AT to demolish 59 homes and 0.15ha of bush for new $300m eastern bypass

    But Remuera residents spend $100 000 on lawyers and lobbying to stop development of their exclusive little fiefdom… Residents unite to rescue a Remuera character home from removal

    Of course that’s nothing compared to what Cantabrians are STILL going through.

    Arohanui Christchurch https://t.co/8rWp3aIufJ via @instapaper— James Macbeth Dann (@edmuzik) February 23, 2016

  17. Lloyd 17

    Interesting that North Shore councillors voted against the changes which overall would have lowered development potential in the North Shore.

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2016/02/26/locking-up-the-isthmus-a-catastrophic-strategy/

  18. millsy 18

    I would love someone to link to where the council plans to seize all the houses in Remuera, boot the occupants out, flatten them, and build 70’s style Brutalist tower blocks in their place to shift poor people into.

    I am pretty sure I missed something here..?

  19. Incognito 19

    This has been bugging me most of the day; the name of that FB group Humans of Remuera strikes me as rather odd. I mean, we’re not dealing with quadrupeds or lizards, are we? It just seems so unimaginative or am I missing something?

    • the pigman 19.1

      It’s a riff/parody of a long-standing facebook group that does kind of street photography of real people in New York City who tell essprayshunyll stories about their lives/assorted tedium. The whole thing is very much sick-making.

  20. RedBaronCV 20

    While I certainly don’t agree with the eastern suburbs reasoning and the way they went about anything – would building intensification actually mean anymore housing for actual Auckland residents?
    Or would there be three story buildings, boundary to boundary with a flat on each floor. And the owners from overseas who rarely used them.?
    I was under the impression -possibly quite wrongly that parts of London are owned by overseas owners and they are deserted for much of the year.
    Would this happen here?

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