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Nonsense Auckland Council PR

Written By: - Date published: 12:34 pm, June 30th, 2022 - 19 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, Environment, local government, supercity, sustainability, transport, uncategorized - Tags:

Sometimes the egregious spin gets too much.

The ratepayer-funded issue of Our Auckland is devoted to climate change.

It states on p.13, quote:

  • New Zealand now has the 3rd highest per capita registered vehicles in the world
  • Aucklanders drive more than 10 billion km each year. That’s the equivalent to driving around the planet 250,000 times
  • Without making any changes to the way we live, Auckland’s net greenhouse gas emissions are expected to rise by 19% by 2050
  • 50% of all our car trips taken are under 6km
  • Ditching short car trips twice a week could save New Zealand 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year – which is roughly the average amount of carbon dioxide stored annually by 4,800 ha of pine trees; the equivalent to two Rangitoto Islands.”

What is particularly loathsome in this egregious guilt-peddling is the non-accountability of the people writing it or the people representing us who sign it off. There is not a single line in the publication about whether Auckland Council and its entities have delivered.

Auckland Council has had a Labour-aligned mayor since inception in 2008 and Labour-Green majorities for most electoral terms.

So this political accountability is on them.

Auckland’s public transport attendance is plummeting and it has taken central government to prop it up temporarily, even though it is Auckland Council’s job with AT to deliver the goods.

It took Auckland Council a decade to enact a fairly weak Unitary Plan, and even then the Council, its entities and its regulatory staff didn’t fight for it.

Episode after episode through the last decade, Council and its Councillors have simply folded like origami when it came up against opposition.

Auckland Council has done nothing except find more and more carveouts to the bipartisan legislation promoting the neighbourhood density that Auckland Council’s spin department proposes.

It has taken until 2022 – 12 years since it began – for Auckland Council to generate alignment between central and local government on how to enable higher density and good neighbourhoods.

Auckland Council has been warned that they would need to actually fight to get the city they wanted.

In fact warned by everyone from Vision Zero to Greater Auckland to Cycle Action to myriad coalitions of housing providers has been telling them to gear up and fight.

Instead Auckland Council has ensured that Auckland has continued to sprawl and sprawl. Not sure if anyone can remember the MUL, but without it we’ve loosened a bit here, loosened a bit there, and suddenly found our trousers fell down.

Nor is it the Usual Suspects in the advocacy community that are complaining about the seminal weakness of Auckland Council encouraging us to do everything to pollute more, use the car more, and generally wreck our own planet. Mark Todd of Ockham Developments spells it out and doesn’t hold back:

“We tell ourselves this is inevitable – that this is the price of progress. We endure ever-worsening congestion – more lanes, more cars – and arrive late and frazzled, ‘Bloody Auckland traffic’ our stock greeting shared with rolled eyes and a rueful smile.

….

We fudge or rationalise or simply ignore the cost of our urban sprawl – the billions of dollars for our roads and motorways, the billions of hours wasted at the wheel, the billions of tonnes of carbon emitted. And then there are the 50,000 hectares of nature that have been sliced and diced into subdivisions. Like the apocryphal frog in the pot, we keep adjusting to the new normal, not realising what we’ve lost until it’s gone forever.

It is a development model replicated in car-centric countries all over the world, one driven by a frontier mentality and underpinned by the folly that our horizons are unlimited, and we can just grow ourselves out of trouble. It’s never been less true than now.”

Even the developers are telling Auckland Council that they aren’t working.

It is egregious to be guilted with a whole edition of Council propaganda reminding us that energy use is really really hard but individual citizens ought to do more about it. Particularly sick in an election year.

Auckland Council is a Labour-Green majority but consistently lazy Council that has had plenty of time to deliver through its legislated structures a city that is good for its people, its country and its planet.

Auckland Council’s PR bullshit machine reflects on the whole of this Council.

19 comments on “Nonsense Auckland Council PR ”

  1. Poission 1

    It has taken until 2022 – 12 years since it began – for Auckland Council to generate alignment between central and local government on how to enable higher density and good neighbourhoods.

    Auckland has the highest construction costs in NZ,and NZ construction costs are 16% higher then Australia,and twice the OECD average.

    Higher infill housing will not decrease housing affordability,they will be more expensive to maintain and heat/cool.The unaffordable housing that exists (around 66% above sustainable levels) are becoming harder to sell or rent,with Ak rental demand falling 13% yr on yr,and supply increasing 16% yr on yr.

    The blowout in the city rail project ,will way on the capital repayments for AK,for a long time adding to the higher interest rates on the existing 10.8b$ debt.Ak cannot afford increased capital expenditure and needs to move to an enhanced depreciation regime of fiscal responsibility.

    • Ad 1.1

      Council doesn't control construction costs for supply timing, materials, or labour.

      CRL isn't the only line item to increase, it's just the most noticeable.

      Agree on depreciation policy.

      • Poission 1.1.1

        CRL has more zeros after the first number.

        Not saying council controls construction costs,but in an environment of high cost,you do not increase demand.The weighting on the cpi for shelter is too high,all you do is increase your debt repayments and interest servicing charges.

        Demand destruction for building costs will occur as they have in the US,with delays and deferment in large .In a well informed economy like the US ,the market responded quickly ( lumber and steel falling 50% and 30% over 3 months)

        • Ad 1.1.1.1

          I think you're in couldawouldashoulda land there.

          CRL was set in motion early 2015. Government signed up Oct 2016.

          Pre COVID central and local government were gearing Downtown up for AC36 (contracted Feb 2018) and APEC.

          COVID and Russia greatly accelerated costs and this could not be foreseen.

          • Poission 1.1.1.1.1

            Sure the problems with CRL were unforeseen,the increasing debt risk however is very visible,but not accounted for in either the Treasury update or the ACC plan.The cost increases will be published after the election.

            Interest rate increases to crush inflation will remove around 3 billion from the Auckland economy over the next 2 years,priced in inflation for WIP will ensure that it is a sustained cost,unless shovel ready projects,(untendered) are idled to allow supply chains to decrease to more sustainable levels.

            Sharper pencils and higher productivity tend to occur with lessening demand,

    • Visubversa 1.2

      New housing built to modern standards is mush easier and cheaper to heat and cool. Modern insulation for both temperature and noise attenuation provides a much better living environment than the drafty villas of the past – not to mention the housing chucked up for the post war baby boom. Intensification provides housing choice, not everyone wants a garden, or a garage. Gone are the days when students competed with families for rented suburban homes, these days city apartments provide them with better access to study and part time employment with no long commutes and no lawns to mow.

      • Poission 1.2.1

        Large common areas such as halls,or stairwells,entrance ways into multi story units are very energy inefficient,ie heat sinks,and light dependent.Three story boundary blockers remove both light and heat from adjacent buildings and become wind funnelers.

        Intensification does not make housing cheaper,of more efficient,the increase in compliance certificates is a decrease in the net electrical connection points with around 75 new connections per 100 compliance certificates (rbnz housing update)

        The larger housing being built now, is around twice the size of the 1950& 1960,s and energy efficiency is lost on increased space (which increases cubically) the increase in electricity usage is in residential housing,not industry.

        • pat 1.2.1.1

          Speaking of energy and housing, the following link may interest you. (Australian market)

          https://digitalfinanceanalytics.com/blog/how-energy-cartels-will-smash-the-housing-market/

          • Poission 1.2.1.1.1

            I will have a look t/morow, (had a quick glance)(export levy would be acceptable to consumers only hurting traders,and international energy companies that pay little tax in OZ.)

            Here is a quicktake from what I already know.

            1 Australia will spend 12b this year on upgrades to their transmission system,this will allow better transfers from the snowy Hydro and Tas.

            However Snowy system is limited (they also have a pumped hydro) by too much water in the downstream reservoir (which is also the sydney potable supply) and releasing water will cause downstream flooding.

            2 2022-2050 Australia will spend 320b$ upgrading the transmission system to carry increased load interstate and some smarting of the distribution systems for local generation.

            3 This is without any generation type change such as increased wind etc.

            4 Price increase of around 11% start tomorrow in OZ,and estimates are for around 10% for the next 5 years.(excluding increased transmission costs)

            Here our costs for the next (central north island upgrades) are around 350 million,Talking about increased inter island transmission,and further SI upgrades of 1.5b.

            At this time our spot prices are around 200 mwh vs 450 in oz.

            • Christopher Randal 1.2.1.1.1.1

              So instead of perpetuating the disaster that is Transpower, why not use that upgrade money to supply every house under (say) 10 years old with a solar system including storage?

      • Belladonna 1.2.2

        Certainly agree about good quality builds – although retro-insulated and effectively rebuilt villas – as the majority of the swanky heritage suburbs are, are also warm, dry and cheap to heat.

        I agree that apartment life is often what students want – but this intensification is intended to be a living solution for families as well.

        I think that the 2 areas which give Aucklanders pause for thought over high-density housing are:

        A) The leaky building crisis affecting apartment buildings, with the associated cost and misery of remediation (this is still ongoing, with relatively new buildings – less than 5 years old – developing 'moisture' issues). Older people, (and empty nesters are a big target group for apartment style living) are very, very wary of buying into a 'problem' – which will cost more than they can afford to fix.

        B) Covid – with the vivid memories of being stuck inside an apartment – with no outdoor space/exercise possibilities – especially if you had kids. I know several families who lived in apartments pre-lockdown (mix of rental and owned – all on the larger size – not the shoebox student ones) – not one of them is still in an apartment now. They'd rather deal with a commute (and/or leverage the job market shortage to deal themselves a work from home pass) – than go through that again. And while it's unlikely (please God) that we'll ever have a full-court-press lockdown again – the individualized ones for cases and family contacts of Covid seem to be never-ending.

        The NIMBY thing is real – and I do think that the developers and Auckland Council need to take some responsibility for this – on the design side. What is being built – and what Aucklanders *see* being built are hideous monolithic blocks – as close as possible to the boundaries – and the neighbours are seeing real quality of life effects (reduced sunlight, parking issues, increased traffic, increased noise, etc.). Some of them – at the lower end of the build quality/desirability – are already turning into slums.

        [I do give Ockham a fair pass on this – the developments of theirs that I've seen, have been good quality and make a fair attempt to consider the needs of the existing community – but some of the others are shocking]

        In order to remedy, or at least address these, I'd like to see the government require the developer/builder to take out insurance on all new builds. Such insurance to cover building defects for at least 20 years (possibly longer). Which gets around all of the developers who set up a company to do a build, then wind it up, so there's no comeback. I believe that Switzerland does this now (or at least that's the outcome of a conversation I've had with someone from that country). Dodgy developers are quickly out of business – and Insurance companies have long memories….

        And, I'd like to see some really strong design guidance/limits for apartments/townhouses – something which maximizes liveability both for the community and the apartment dwellers – rather than shoehorns the greatest number of boxes into the smallest amount of space. The piecemeal approach is giving us the worst of all worlds…..

  2. roblogic 2

    OTOH the council structure was set up by Rodney Hide with a view to turning Auckland's utilies into cash cows to be bled dry then sold off to the business elites.

    Auckland Council has repeatedly been sabotaged by Central Government, (still) not allowing it to take on (incredibly cheap) debt for much needed infrastructure spending.

    And about 20 years of mismanaged immigration policy that has resulted in a shocking population increase in Auckland, that has exceeded every projection.

    Agree about the council folding like a wet paper bag at the smallest opposition to their ideas, like pedestrianising Queen St, or the North Shore cycleway, or housing developments in leafy suburbs.

    The main thing we can do about it is vote for Efeso Collins in the upcoming election, and follow the voting guide that will (presumably) be published by the good folk at https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz

  3. In Vino 3

    Ad – I think you have somehow missed the real problem.

    Too many cars are being put onto our roads compared to those coming off.

    Not even National's dumb 'build more roads' policy can beat this conundrum: our current 'keep importing max cars poss and let the market rule' policy is in fact sheer lunacy, with guaranteed future gridlock on our roads.

    Solution?

  4. The Fairy Godmother 4

    I do take issue with your claim that Auckland council is controlled by Labour and greens. The following councillors are Labour aligned Richard Hills (North Shore Ward), Efeso Collins, Alf Filiapaina (Manukau Ward) Shane Henderson (Waitakere Ward), Josephine Bartley (Maungakiekie ward). The following are from the progressive City Vision ticket Cathy Casey (Albert Eden Puketapapa Ward) and Pippa Coon (Waitemata). Chris Darby from North Shore ward tends to be progressive. That is 8 councillors out of 20.

    Christine Fletcher(Puketapapa) Desly Simpson (Orakei) Bill Cashmore (Franklin) National party members. John Watson, Wayne Walker(Albany Ward), Sharon Steward, Paul Young (Howick Ward) Angela Dalton, Daniel Newman (Manurewa Ward) Linda Cooper (Waitakere Ward) Tracey Mulholland( Whau C and R) and Greg Sayers (Rodney Ward) are not aligned with Labour or Greens. That's 12 councillors.

    Phil Goff had to do deals with Moderate Nats Cashmore who he made deputy Mayor and Simpsom who was chair of the powerful Finance and Performance committee.

    To have a progressive council we need to take more seats for the left. Possibilities are Labour taking the Manurewa Ward. The action team which has controlled it for the last 15 years has had a major split. Also Labour's Kerrin Leoni needs to wrest Whau off former Kabour member now turned C and R Tracy Mullholland. Labour needs to retain Josephine Bartley in Maungakiekie. It would be great if City Vision could take both Albert Eden Puketapapa Ward seats and oust Fletcher.

    If that were to happen then we would forvthe first time have a progressive Auckland Council and yes the Greens and Labour could take responsibility.

    • The Fairy Godmother 4.1

      Just a correction. The claim was council has had a Labour aligned Mayor that is correct. However the Labour aligned Mayor was not backed up by a Labour aligned council that needs to change.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 4.2

      "That is 8 councillors out of 20".

      Hi, well you certainly seem to have more knowledge than…some !

      And I thought I remembered one of the Nat names….

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desley_Simpson

      And hey….Progressive Auckland sounds..Awesome !

    • Ad 4.3

      Once you strip away the codes of "Independents", the 2016 and 2019 elections had Labour-Green allied majorities. Even 2013 had 10.

      We have got to hold the feet of these people to the fire and make them improve.

      • The Fairy Godmother 4.3.1

        Hills and Darby are definitely progressive independents and I definitely counted them but would be interested to know who the other progressive independents are. If they aren't aligned with Labour or Greens those parties can't be held accountable for them.

        • Ad 4.3.1.1

          Those parties can most certainly be held accountable. And it is well overdue that we got a lot more of those who are in Auckland local government. How easy it would have been for this current mayor to better align align with current government policy.

          There is of course an internecine web of Labour- and Green- proximate identifications and subgroups to ensure slippery simultaneous deniability+loyalty but:

          From the 2016 lot

          Labour aligned Clow, Hills, Collins, Filipaina, Goff, Lee, Darby, and Hulse despite her protestations to independence

          Green aligned Watson, Walker, Casey

          Of the 2019 lot

          Labour aligned: Goff, Hills, Darby, Henderson, Bartley, Collins, Filipaina

          Green aligned: Watson, Walker, Casey, Coom

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