Nick Smith strikes out on housing land

Written By: - Date published: 8:56 am, June 12th, 2015 - 50 comments
Categories: housing, local government - Tags: , , , ,

The Nat’s grand plan to free up Auckland land is a complete shambles.

First it turned out that some of it is occupied by cemeteries, substations and the like.

Then it emerged that iwi had first right of refusal to the land, and the government would likely end up in court.

Now Nick Smith is touting land that the government doesn’t own at all – it belongs to Auckland Council!

Three strikes Nick – you’re out.

50 comments on “Nick Smith strikes out on housing land”

  1. saveNZ 1

    Never let the facts get in the way of Simpleton Smith.

    Ring a ding ding, I say again, there is a simple solution called immigration controls on property. Australia has it, China has it…..

    It’s not that hard.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      There’s no single silver bullet to the problem. We need several policy changes to address housing in Auckland:

      1. Ban on foreign ownership
      2. A CGT that applies to all housing
      3. Subdivisions around the CBDs of the city allowing for high density housing and minimum medium density out from there
      4. Encourage development in the outer CBDs (Henderson, Takapuna, Glen Eden, etc)
      5. Encourage regional development outside of Auckland

      And there’s probably a few more that I can’t think of ATM.

      • Naturesong 1.1.1

        With Glen Eden between 2 main centres already (New Lynn, Henderson), it should be returned to a village style centre.

        Ripping up half of the carpark so there is some actual public space would be a good start. As would making a feature of the stream that runs through there.

        Add medium density in the immediate vicinity (good quality 4 story terraces) would also be an improvement.

        Full disclosure; I live in Glen Eden.

        • Sabine

          ripping up a perfectly good carpark!
          Heresy I say.

          burn the witch!!!!

          sarcasm. no parking lots shall ever be disrupted in NZ. They are holy places of worship!

          • Tracey

            unless they are linked and for the sole purpose of a park and ride public transport system.

            • dukeofurl

              These is a large area of land at the Avondale railway station. Was used for a while as a works site during double tracking/electrification.
              Lately nothing. Its railways owned land as it was originally a shunting/goods yard.

              They did a good parking area by Sunnyvale station, why not Avondale

              • Sacha

                Park and ride only makes sense for the most outlying stations. Closer in, better off investing in frequent local bus feeders.

            • Macro

              Glen Eden car park is just across the road from Glen Eden Railway Stn. – but don’t want it jammed up with communters thank you – where can I go to park my car when I go to pick up my pie for lunch?
              ps Glen Eden had, when I lived in Titirangi, one of the best bakeries around.

              pps I guess I really should put the /sarc tab on 🙂

              • Anno1701

                try the banoffe pie from Pecks

                you will NOT regret it !

              • You really have to have your wits about you walking through there.
                The initial excitement of risking life and limb every time I pop down to get some milk or bread has long since faded.

                Now every time I’m there and have to dodge cars I just swear and curse the bastards that build Glen Mall in the 70’s
                Or just avoid the place despite it being a more convenient location for me.

                I’ve spoken to a few shop owners. There does seem to be a consensus that a proper public space that entices people in would encourage more foot traffic.

            • Sabine

              The amount of prime real estate in Auckland that is used to warehouse cars, in from of malls and the likes is just astonishing. Imagine the Appartment blocks that could be build there.

              As for rail/cycle lanes. Oh my, NZ would have to go back to the forties and fifities for that one, cause clearly they ain’t gonna do it in the 21st century.
              No, thou shallt prey my car keys from my cold dead fingers or sum such thing 🙂

              • Macro

                You should see the car parks of Toronto! Or maybe not. Peak travel starts at 7am and ends at 11 am to start again at 2pm and finish after 7pm – lovely City.

        • Macro

          I like Glen Eden – it has a bloody good car park!

      • dv 1.1.2

        AND this Draco
        Differential interest rates for difficult housing areas for new loans.

      • Tracey 1.1.3

        In Barbados if you are a non-resident you have to pay 10% on top of the purchase price to the Government by way of tax.

        6. sort out public transport… buses, ferries, trains so that a reasonable commute from the outskirts is no more than an hour including all stops. Forget profit motive, break even is a win in running public transport, and I would rather subsidise this than many of the other things we do.

  2. Tracey 2

    My partner’s comment to the news item on this was “someone in his department let him down”. My response was that I suspect that is where the blame will go BUT it suggests the haste with which they took LP policy and announced it prior to the budget in response to Farrar’s latest polling for the PM and so put NO THOUGHT INTO IT (cos it was not their policy).

    • Brendon Harre 2.1

      I agree Tracey. National has no strategy or leadership on housing. It is all desperate last minute stuff in response to polling. Because of that it is not well thought out or consistent with other initiatives in transport, local government reform or industrial/economic policy.

      As have said before National are the Emperor with no clothes. They act like their ideas are of the finest quality but if you actually look closely they amount to nothing.

  3. AB 3

    6. Stop domestic ‘investors’ speculating in houses – not just CGT , but direct taxes on residential rental income
    7. Culture change so that housing is seen as a human right not a ‘market’. The role of the housing minister is to ensure the entire citizenry is well housed as that’s a precondition of participation in society and making a contribution. It’s not his role to run a bent market where his supporters and funders can make a killing..
    8. Raise wages at the bottom end substantially
    9. Raise taxes at the top end substantially. Inequality causes bubbles – all the extra money sloshing round at the top end has to go somewhere. In NZ its houses
    10. Government builds houses and sells at cost – developer profit-taking is jus a dead weight on the system
    11. Look at the Fletcher/Carters duopoly. Break them up if necessary.
    12. One that Bryan Gould has talked about – private banks creating endless credit with a few keystrokes. This is just pure inflation as well as a way of turning the population into indentured servants of foreign capital.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      I agree with almost everything you say there except this:

      10. Government builds houses and sells at cost – developer profit-taking is jus a dead weight on the system

      Why sell the houses when the government could rent them out for significantly less than what a mortgage costs while also covering all maintenance? Make them transferable lifetime leases to prevent National coming along and selling them from out under the occupants (although, I also think we need a law that prevents sales of state assets anyway).

  4. repateet 4

    The sad thing is that Smith hasn’t struck out. The notion created is that he has found 500 hectares of lovely unused land in Auckland that will shortly have houses on it and Auckland’s housing problems will be over.

    He is not about solving the problems, that is beyond him, he is about creating impressions and illusions.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1


      National never solves problems. In fact, they seem to purposefully work to make them worse because there’s so much more profit in crisis than there is in stability.

      • saveNZ 4.1.1

        +1 Draco

        Especially when you control the media message as well.

        Keep people downtrodden and blame the poor and everyone else for it. Bizarrely it works up to a point. Even better when you persuade your main political rival to copy your policies and ideologies but in a ‘lighter’ version.

  5. upnorth 5

    Saw a job advertisement the other day for a new MBIE call centre – in Auckland.

    Under Helen Clark, I recall a “whole of Government” approach to practically everything.

    Under this lot you have a regional economic and jobs crisis and a serious housing issue in Auckland (but not in most provincial centres).

    Why does a call centre need to be in Auckland?

    This government really has no clue when it comes to strategic management.

    • Yep! I was thinking that very thing myself yesterday when I was in a provincial city and drove past a public service department’s national archive. That was good to see, no need for it to be in Welly or Ak. Functions like that and call centres can easily be operated in the provinces and I hope both the Greens and Labour make that part of their policy platforms in future.

      • Michael 5.1.1

        I believe that was/is a Labour policy.

        “Look for opportunities to locate government operations in the regions where practical and cost-effective,”

        It is certainly common sense and should be done. If the state is employing people, why not do it in areas where there are few jobs?

        • Kevin

          Was good enough for KiwiBank to move their call centre to Hastings, so why not utilise the cheaper rent and a willing workforce in the provinces? It is a win for EVERYONE that way. But then again that would not work when divide and rule is prime motivation.

      • Heck, for archives there’d be plenty of practical reasons not to be based in (volcanic) Auckland or (earthquakey) Wellington.

    • dukeofurl 5.2

      Well you have to laugh when MBIE says their mission is:

      “MBIE’s purpose is to Grow New Zealand for All.”

      from their website. Im not making this up!

    • William 5.3

      I’m in Wellington. I was recently summoned for Jury Service. All the communication backward and forward has been to an address in Auckland! Sheesh, that sort of back office activity could be handled from anywhere. It’s not as if the Min of Justice doesn’t have other sites around the country.

      Another example. Before Peter Dunne removed the amount and time restriction on gifting money to Family Trusts, all the gifting was processed at the IRD office in Greymouth. A good example of providing jobs in the regions.

      In 2011 IRD “disestablished” 156 jobs in regional offices.
      The media release said;
      “Currently Inland Revenue offices not only work with customers in their local community, but also manage work for customers around New Zealand. In future, work not requiring face-to-face contact will be grouped in larger centres, allowing regional sites to increase their focus on education and advisory services for their communities.”

      So they intentionally moved jobs away from the regions to large centres. Stupidity.

  6. Sacha 6

    Rob Salmond invites Nick Smith to do the right thing:

  7. Charles 7

    It’s not unusual for Nick Smith to […insert bizarre expression of incompetency…] during the winter.

    I say we use his sentiment toward the symptoms of poor government and just let him fade away. It’s not like he’ll catch pneumonia or anything.

  8. Old Mickey 8

    As an aside, why has Auckland Council not developed this land earlier ? Did they actually know they owned it ? Or, is the embarrassing state of watercare delays causing more issues than Len would have us know.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      As an aside, why can’t you live up to the personal responsibility you pay lip service to and stop blaming Labour for your daily displays of incompetence?

      • OMBE 8.1.1

        You are funny. You make me laugh. Keep going.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          I’m serious: the centre-right goes on and on about “personal responsibility”, and then the moment you get caught trying to sell land you don’t own, you’re all “but but but Llllaaabbbooouuurrr!” Same with McCully offering bribes.

          Lame, and utterly devoid of personal responsibility.

          • Old Mickey

            My comment was about the land not being made available earlier by the owner – in this case ACC. I raised no question about Liebour or Personal responsibility – I get you enjoy trying to bait and sling labels on everyone except yourself – must make you feel good about yourself, but come try and be relevant.
            Re McCUlly and the Saudi sheep, I only commented on what I know and what I heard first hand from a number of people, and people directly involved. I suggest that Greg ask Phil Goff about conversation with Simon Mudoch to verify.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              That you have some hearsay about some hearsay to support your assertion that Goff forced McCully to offer a bribe is really quite underwhelming.

              Perhaps you know some better wingnuts?

  9. linda 9

    Where smith goes disaster follows

  10. Debsh 10

    My biggest worry is that while we pour more and more people and resources into Auckland, we risk a huge economical disaster if (God forbid) Auckland was struck by a natural disaster in the future. Kinda like putting all of our eggs in one basket. Surely putting a bit of focus on developing the regions and enticing foreign business into the regions would mitigate this risk and ease the housing and traffic issues in Auckland.

  11. Tracey 11

    Here is an example of a combine residnetial/commercial project in Auckland. I live near here.

    What’s interesting is they have had approval for over 12 months and nothing has changed at the site (other than Big Save temporarily flogging their stuff from the old warehouse building).

    I know things take time, but nothing has been done… they would be having their consent done through the commercial fast-tracking council service…

    • Sacha 11.1

      Delay could be financing or negotiating construction contracts when that industry has been stretched by the Chch focus. Consenting was a while ago, as you say.

    • Brendon Harre 11.2

      It is impossible to comment on individual cases but I think there is evidence of land banking of developable land across the board. Switching rates to land value taxes would discourage this sort of behaviour. This is one of many ‘solutions discussed in the excellent book “Generation Rent”. I finished reading the book last night and would recommend it. It cost $15 including postage.

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