- Date published:
8:41 am, July 24th, 2017 - 25 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, bill english, C&R, Economy, im/migration, local government, national/act government - Tags: auckland council, nzta
The announcement that National were granting infrastructure funds to develop housing projects in the far north and south of Auckland caused me some amusement. The Auckland council has wisely been resisting this particular boondongle that only benefits land bankers , speculators and their political party (National) for some time.
Essentially to make a housing development viable, you need to put in water, sewerage, power, telecommunications and roads first. The traditional way that this happened was that it was rorted out of the various councils and the transport bodies by intense lobbying by the developers and their mates in the National party. This is the primary reason that over the last 60 years that Auckland has tended to sprawl outwards.
The equivalents of the NZ Transport Authority in the past and present build motorways. The councils through the National surrogates like Citizens and Ratepayers get roads and services around those motorways. This is extorted from existing rate payer base either directly or in the form of loans they have to repay.
National gets the gratitude of some well heeled roading companies, property developers, companies selling cars and probably some of the voters living in very expensively tax and ratepayer subsided unsustainable urban sprawl. Eventually the ratepayers pay back the loans that the central National government forced them to take out, and can be milked for more.
To make this work, public transport must be constrained by tearing up the tramways as National did in the early 1950s, and then systematically underfunded by NZTA.
Unfortunately National lost the keys to this particular rort back in 2010 when they let National junior (Act) try to run Auckland. In the usual adolescent style Act went for broke and created a council that was too small and centralised to easily use divide and conquer tactics on. Despite separating the saleable bits into ‘council controlled organisations’ who appear to be accountable to no-one apart from central government who appoint much of their governing bodies, they caused the situation that the council members became responsible for much larger constituencies who’d just as soon get rid of them if they played those silly games. In particular, Aucklanders aren’t willing to pay for the infrastructure costs of new subdivisions. They want the infrastructure that they are currently paying for to work better instead.
This has meant that the Auckland local government has started to concentrate on Auckland issues, to the increasing frustration of National government ministers. They have refused to pay for extending their commitments beyond what they already have. Bearing in mind that currently the National government is parachuting about 40,000 people into Auckland each year from nett migration (from about 70,000 for NZ) without any consultation and dithering on paying for them, this is a quite understandable reaction.
From the perspective of the council and the ratepayers that they represent, putting in infrastructure more than 36 kilometres (Drury) or 28 km (Dairy Flat) from the city centre over already crowded transport infrastructure make absolutely no sense. It diverts needed funds away from the public transport and the crowded roads required for industry that is so desperately needed in the existing city.
Moreover the tiny trickle of housing from it – reported as being about 12 thousand over a number of years (which based on past National minister performances means that we’d be lucky to get 1200) doesn’t approach the level of central government forced inwards migration to Auckland.
Since central government is willing to put up the money for these private fiefdoms, I’d suggest that Auckland take advantage of it. Charge full market rates for these unwanted connections to the city systems. Put a substantial charge on sewerage and water connections, and toll the use of our rail and roads. Lets see if we can recover some of the costs of this governments reckless migration policies.