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The Unitary Plan: Rodney’s Dream

Written By: - Date published: 1:45 pm, August 7th, 2016 - 59 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, local government, national/act government, political alternatives, Politics - Tags: , , , ,

Rodney Hide must be sleeping well, because Auckland’s proposed Unitary Plan will deliver all he and his NACT patrons ever hoped for.

For decades, the Auckland Region has been a motley collection of badly led and bickering councils that have allowed strategy and development at local and regional level be dominated by greedy developers, incompetent or disempowered planners and borderline corrupt practices.

Hide’s reforms transformed this into one badly led and bickering council but changed little else. Meaningful new powers that addressed issues such as urban development powers, revenue shortfalls, speculation, land-banking and a lack of coherent strategy were absent.

In case of the unlikely event that unity and purpose should ever emerge in the Council, the core operations were structured into Council Controlled Organisations (CCO’s), out of reach of democratic control and accountability and run by independent technocrats (you’ll see a pattern emerge here).

However, a crucial power that remained with the elected Council was planning – effectively a veto given its lack of consensus. This defined the constraints that even the CCO’s must work within, thus constraining developers and land-bankers with public opinion (democracy) and red tape (quality), both of which hindered headlong intensification and sprawl (profit). NACT donors and supporters remained unimpressed!

Clearly something had to be done! Rather than risk the prominent factions, e.g. ‘millennial’, ‘boomer’,‘nimby’ or even the ‘homeless’ (ie. all voters) finding common ground (politics) in their desire for high quality intensification (via, say, a democratically accountable Urban Development Authority that could clarify a regional strategy and be self-funded by capturing the rise in value due to re-zoning), the solution must be deregulation, slashing red tape.

Over-regulation should not be confused with over-administration. Auckland has long been badly administered, but insufficient, poor quality and ‘light-handed’ regulation produced the stock of leaky buildings that remain largely unacknowledged as the key contributor to the current urgency of Auckland’s housing crisis. If the buildings were not leaky and the builders now focused on new building rather that repairs, many more dwellings would have been built over the last decade. Similarly, our dire development outcomes compared to other cities stem from under, not over, regulation, badly administered or not.

Nonetheless, for NACT the only solution was clear – the one so beloved by neoliberalism. Inefficient democracy should be supplanted by unaccountable ‘independent’ technocrats, best qualified to make the right decisions (if you think about it, There Is No Alternative). ‘Independent experts’ have been long used by council (planning decisions) and Government (Rebstock) to safely deliver predetermined outcomes.

Such a process avoided scrutiny of the Plan’s strategic assumptions and the National Government’s role therein (eg. tax, regional, population and migration policies, or lack thereof). It could also be guaranteed to turn the process into a zero-sum game, polarizing interest groups and co-opting some into supporting illogical positions (Gen Zero?). Those most affected by the housing crisis played no role at all.

Neither Nelson St’s low quality slums nor ad hoc infill of leafy suburbs are necessary components of high quality intensification. Clearly, many alternatives are available. All seem to agree with the intensification of transport hubs. Given appropriate Council powers, the shortage of housing can be addressed with some large, visionary but discrete projects. These do not require adopting the proposed plan and its philosophy in its entirety.

Ultimately, the effect of the ‘Independent Hearings Panel’ has been to magnify Auckland’s (and New Zealand’s) democratic deficit, exaggerate the sense of crisis and emphasise our lack of vision. It’s made some key players happy (developers, speculators, land bankers and Gen Zero), but offers little that hasn’t failed elsewhere or in Auckland previously.

The Panel’s findings can be distilled to one universal prescription – deregulation – which will further enrich NACT’s mates but is certainly not going to produce a liveable city for the 21st Century. Simply, deregulation got us into this mess in the first place and its further pursuit will be a disaster.

The Council should reject the Plan in its current form, cherrypick those aspects consistent with a democratic and liveable city and sheet home the responsibility for the lack of a coherent strategy to those that created the mess. Wake up, Rodney!

Concerned of Auckland

59 comments on “The Unitary Plan: Rodney’s Dream”

  1. AmaKiwi 1

    Excellent post.

    • rod 1.1

      Perhaps Rodney Hide was in charge of the so called independent panel. Who were all these people, does any one know? I think everyone should know thier names in the name of transparency. Anyone?

      • dukeofurl 1.1.1

        The were all appointed by the national government, not even a 50:50 mix of Auckland- Government but ALL

        • George Lane 1.1.1.1

          How could a panel appointed by the people who vote on the original plan, the revised plan and the final plan be independent lol?

      • George Lane 1.1.2

        Judge Kirkpatrick was the head of the panel.

        • rod 1.1.2.1

          @ GL. Judge Kirkpatrick wast he head of the panel.

          Well, that’s one, what are the names of the rest of them. I think Aucklanders are entitled to know who the authors of Auckland’s destiny are. Waiting. waiting.

  2. save nz 2

    Great post.

    Interesting to find out that the ‘independent’ commissioners were appointed by the National Government. You have to wonder how they can be independent when the government told them what to do and said they would take over if they didn’t.

    Like the Supercity all over again, but probably worse as has much worse ramifications for Aucklander’s.

    The whole unitary plan is a scam because it was all run through lobby groups anyway giving ‘evidence’ – nobody actually examines this ‘evidence’ and the ‘experts’ are all planners and lawyers paid for by rich lobby groups to get their way in the plan. The National government has already publicly decided the outcome.

    Many examples of this happening in Auckland and the fight is not to provide more housing, but make more money in most cases. People were eyeing up the unitary plan to weaken heritage for a long time.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11299361

    Europe has many systems in place to protect heritage and surprisingly places like the UK still manage to house millions of people, have extremely tight planning rules, while not wrecking their cities and destroying Heritage. Have not heard of leaky buildings hitting their city, surprise surprise.

    The other issues, is that the unitary plan is so difficult to understand for most people (and the council website is very unfriendly with very difficult user interfaces) is that is by it’s nature of complexity not democratic, let alone by dismissing homeowners who do disagree, as though that is an acceptable reason to disenfranchise people.

    Cities are about who want’s to live in them. It is a foolish to override how people want to live, demolish and lower standards to developers who have done a terrible job so far, for a theoretical model of maybe. If you don’t have a solution for a problem, (housing affordability, climate change and transport) then don’t make it worse by pandering to the worst offenders and pretending the market will fix it all.

    The market is designed to make a profit, not to create healthy societies or cities.

    • George Lane 2.1

      “Cities are about who want’s to live in them. It is a foolish to override how people want to live”

      Good thing the Unitary Plan allows me, who wants to live in Auckland, to live in an apartment building, really.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    This post will have the upper lips curling over amongst the hipsters at transportblog…

    • AmaKiwi 3.1

      They stole our city.

      It belongs to us. We want it back. ALL of it!

      • mosa 3.1.1

        And while they are at it our country too. Now would be good.

        • save nz 3.1.1.1

          They will put on their ripped hipster jeans and complain, loudly!

          The fact that affordability was taken out, does not seem to faze them, so sure that the market will provide affordability…

          Love how the Natz have completely sold that message of more houses somehow will provide cheaper houses… less property rights and deregulation will provide cheaper houses.. less heritage and less trees will deliver a hipster a house, etc

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1

            I’m pretty sure that you’ll find that property rights are being strengthened. This will lead to more poverty and higher profits for the 1%.

    • save nz 3.2

      There is also a very good post about another factor in our unitary plan, the demand side such as importing in so many migrants for ‘essential skills’.

      Surprise surprise Sky City needed 40 migrant chefs in 2014, but also surprise surprise wages have decreased in this job and all the other ‘essential skills shortages’.

      “If we compare the rates being paid chefs in 2007 and 2013 we see that there was a real wage decline for every category over those years. The rates paid in the surveys of April 2007 and April 2013. I then adjust the 2007 rate by the 16% inflation that occurred over those years and find the rate should have been significantly higher just to match price increases. Real wages had declined. The minimum wage increased 22% over the same period.”

      http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/08/07/must-read-migration-chefs-and-essential-skills/

      People need to link to low wages, unusual essential skills in the migrant category (like chefs) bought in to keep wages down and workers rights down and the shortages of housing and transport problems that are feeding through from artificial low wages, artificial house increases and the blow outs and in real terms cut backs in social spending like health and education.

      BTW, in no way am I blaming migrants for this, it is a clear government policy and neoliberal agenda to keep wages down and destroy social welfare. (I mean how do you afford social welfare if you are importing people in on wages lower than the cost of living and need government top ups).

    • Sacha 3.3

      heh. hipsters don’t wear cardigans.

    • Sookie 3.4

      I’m not a hipster, but I am curling my lip at this NIMBY hand wringing bollocks that seems to confuse leaky buildings (Building Act, structural integrity of buildings) with district planning (RMA, environmental effects of growth). The AUP is balanced and as readable as it can possibly be for the layperson (I like the two page fact sheets for each key issue). The AUP is not going to result in leaky buildings. Shame it doesnt have an affordable housing component but its hard to force that issue using the RMA.

      • Sacha 3.4.1

        This plan was never going to make up for all sorts of other bad govt-level policy decisions either. Only one part of the jigsaw.

      • save nz 3.4.2

        The link Sookie is National government intervention in the building industry to remove the tantalised timber rules on building so the developers could ‘save’ money and help their friends get their new cladding systems through BRANDZ as well as have private operators ‘approving’ things, who conveniently went bankrupt afterwards. Systems that proved impossible to keep water out for any length of time. Now the National government has ‘intervened’ to ‘help’ push through unitary plan rules in record timeframes with their special ‘independent commissioners’ to solve the ‘housing crisis’ with more deregulation of rules and further power to council officials who are not known for their competence in the building sector.

  4. George Lane 4

    Yes, the IHP was furiously undemocratic. It allowed submissions from anyone who cared enough to make one and then considered them on the merits of their argument. Obviously the IHP should have only considered arguments on the basis of their opposition to housing types that the author doesn’t approve of. Heaven forbid that people actually be allowed to build enough housing so that hard working Aucklanders be able to actually afford a house in the city they call home.

    • save nz 4.1

      How many Kiwis can afford $800,000 plus George Lane – on local wages?

      We all got to ‘consult’ on the super city too, and the 24 hour spying and TPP (or was that cancelled completely).

      Surprisingly most people do not think they were listened to and the process was a farce.

      • George Lane 4.1.1

        I know right. Housing will be so expensive if we don’t pass the unitary plan that it will become a privilege for the very wealthy!

        Luckily, even if we make the most conservative assumptions possible and ignore all of the housing that HNZ wants to develop and sell, almost half of all houses will still be under 800k, far cheaper than the average new home today. Plus, t is likely that houses will be even cheaper than the worst case scenario that the media has jumped on.

        http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/310075/$800k-homes-behind-the-headlines

        • save nz 4.1.1.1

          Actually George 2 years ago people could buy a 3 bedroom freehold place on 500m section for $350,000 in many parts of Auckland. Pray tell how now were are talking $800,000 and even cheaper with the Governments interventions in Auckland?

          We had cheap houses two years ago FFS! We had the old plan, more amenity and still had vastly cheaper houses?

          What went wrong?

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      It allowed submissions from anyone who cared enough to make one and then considered them on the merits of their argument.

      Yes, a completely undemocratic way of going about it. For it to be democratic we actually need everyone to participate and not just a few people out to steer the city in the way that will make them the most money.

      • George Lane 4.2.1

        Yeah, all of those people who submitted to enforce ridiculously restrictive zoning in order to keep the property bubble going could have really unfairly skewed the results.

        Luckily the IHP found those submissions to have no basis in reality and in fact be an attempted money grab by a property owning class at the expense of less well off New Zealanders. The IHP placed far more emphasis on the submissions of residents and charities who wanted affordable housing for all New Zealanders to make up for the unfortunate lack of those voices in the conversation.

        The tragic lack of participation in our democratic process is a great shame and I, for one, am glad that our democratic institutions are starting to account for this by reducing the weight given to the opinion of monied interests.

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    The problems caused by adherence to “market theory”, “Neoliberalism”, “the high trust model” – call it what you will – will only be solved by abandoning the theory.

    A lot is made of “market forces”, and yet we hear very little about the fact that government accounts for approximately 33% of the economy, and is therefore one of the strongest forces in the market.

    According to the theory, this is terrible.

    The theory is wrong.

    • srylands 5.1

      No the theory is correct. It is simply not practiced in New Zealand so has never been tested.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1

        It’s been practiced in Somalia, and for sixty thousand years of human history before that.

        It makes a great play of how things “would be” and pays no attention to actual conditions on Earth.

        Not to mention Augusto Pinochet and the crackhead, Rand.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2

        No it’s not. It’s based upon false assumptions and thus its conclusions are also false.

        What has been implemented across the world has inevitably brought about worse results. This is especially true in NZ.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.3

        PS: I note that you did not challenge my summation of the dogma.

      • Stuart Munro 5.1.4

        Your belief system has the Popperian flaw.

      • ropata 5.1.5

        You seem to have forgotten about a few minor glitches in the so-called “free market” in 1929, 1987, 2000, and 2008
        http://www.thebubblebubble.com/historic-crashes/

    • George Lane 5.2

      Desperately need the government to build homes in several cities, but especially Auckland.

      At least this plan allows the government to build a lot when they eventually get off their asses (or are replaces by a competent government).

  6. Keith 6

    Whether quite by reckless intent or design National have got to more or less bypass the Resource Management Act. We are mostly getting incredibly intense housing, wiped out heritage housing pre 1940 and got no say in this all because the National Party will not turn off the immigration tap and deal to investors/speculators.

    To quote Mike Treen courtesy of The Daily Blog, “In the 2014/15 year MBIE issued 170,814 temporary work visas as well as 84,856 student visas” and “There are at least 150,000 people here working on some sort of temporary visa at any one time”.

    Now to me and any basic logic National are firmly behind the whole cluster fuck. They could do something meaningful and direct to take the pressure off Auckland but bereft of any growth stratergy National throw Aucklanders and New Zealand under the debt bus and sell us off to the highest bidder.

    • George Lane 6.1

      “more or less bypass the Resource Management Act”

      By asking the council to wrote a document that they are required to write under the RMA which will be enforced through the RMA and was assessed against the RMA?

      “We are mostly getting incredibly intense housing,”

      The only way this is true is if you consider the MHS to be ‘incredibly intense’ but two storey houses with less than 50% coverage and large setbacks to adjoining property are anything but incredibly intense.

      “wiped out heritage housing pre 1940”

      a) the plan doesn’t wipe out houses, it allows demolition in some cases.
      b) Heritage houses are still protected, the recommended plan simply removes blanket protection from anything built before 1944 and applies protection only to heritage buildings.

      “got no say in this”

      There were two rounds of submissions, both times over 10,000 people submitted. Further to this submitters could go to the IHP and present their case in more detail and it is subject to appeal.

      “the National Party will not turn off the immigration tap and deal to investors/speculators”

      Hitting the nail on the head. National refuse to act, but the council are acting.

      • Anne 6.1.1

        National refuse to act, but the council are acting.

        Is that one of the reasons NAct have it in for the Auckland City Council?

        Thanks George Lane for sharing your bountiful knowledge.

        As a point of interest, I used to know Rodney Hide 20 plus years ago. I recall a heated conversation I had with him about Auckland and why we needed to preserve our heritage buildings. It came about because he was advocating that all pre-WW2 buildings/houses should be razed to the ground and replaced with modern buildings. This was the mid-1990s when the ‘leaky building’ craze was at the height of its popularity. It’s hard to imagine what a god-awful mess we would be in today if he had got his way. Fortunately it was 10 plus years before he acquired ministerial power and given carte blanche (by John Key) to ignore all the recommendations of the Housing Commission set up by the previous government and create this monstrosity called the Supercity.

        It’s an interesting historical portrayal of Rodney Hide’s hollow mindset that is so prevalent among the neoliberal set including John Key. They certainly seem lacking in some vital brain substance which would allow them to see beyond the end of their greedy noses.

        • George Lane 6.1.1.1

          It’s just a confused mess. NACT basically built the city because they thought that North Shore, Isthmus, and East Auckland rich white Aucklanders would shoo in their guy John Banks, forgetting that Auckland is a labour city (even when the usual labour supporters don’t vote). Now they are salty that their roadsfest dream for Auckland has been rejected by Aucklanders in two consecutive local elections.

          It’s funny that the current ACT MP and senior Labour MPs are so against the unitary plan when really it’s one of the few things they should both support. Reduction in ‘council red tape’ for act, far more housing built in a housing affordability crisis that is really badly affecting the people labour are supposed to care about.

          Labour are a confused mess at the moment, trying beat Key at Key’s game of responding solely to the polls. They jump the gun and take all the flak in the media then get no credit when the government eventually changes their mind. It’s a shame because there is a building anti-Key sentiment and his ministers are largely horrendous, all that Labour need to do is to appeal to the traditional base and get them out on election day, moderate and extreme righties will not go out to vote for National with the growing sentiment against him and swap to NZ First or Conservatives if they vote at all. Voila Labour Greens 2017.

          That’s my take anyway.

          • Sacha 6.1.1.1.1

            “there is a building anti-Key sentiment and his ministers are largely horrendous”

            Yet Labour in particular have largely focused only on the PM, not his incompetent underlings. For 8 years now. Geniuses.

          • Anne 6.1.1.1.2

            all that Labour need to do is to appeal to the traditional base and get them out on election day…

            Those of us on the inside of the tent are doing our best to encourage them and bit by bit they’re getting there – or to be more correct getting back to their roots. Not as fast as we would like but it is happening.

    • Lloyd 6.2

      Keith, your comment “we are getting incredibly intense housing, wiped out heritage housing pre 1940” is a massive blurring of reality. The density possible under the Unitary Plan is not much greater than the density under the existing plans, and in some places even less dense. Yes the pre-1940 heritage rules have been chucked out, but that doesn’t mean that all the pre-1940 houses in Auckland will be knocked down next year.
      No one seems to point out that rates are really cheap in Auckland, especially for business property.
      Increasing rates might reduce demand for speculative house buying.

      • save nz 6.2.1

        Yes but in many cases there is rules to allow 2.5m building to the boundary. That is the height of many of the one story houses in NZ. So people can put up a concrete wall/buildings all around their boundary and block all their poorer neighbours light and privacy. Good luck getting a solar panel working with the sun being cut off. While a neighbour dominating the boundary might be great for terrace housing etc in new development areas which are designed to be blocked on two sides, it becomes a train wreck of amenity applied next to most single story housing that makes up most of Auckland. A lot of the time it is not even to provide denser housing but bigger (read more expensive) houses. So someone gets a massive house and each neighbour gets their sun, light and privacy cut off. Already happening.

        That poor planning approach is what sunk the CBD for 20 years, when someone was allowed to build a sky scraper 2 cm next to another Sky caper blocking the existing sky scraper. Who wants to buy when you could have your apartment amenity wiped out?

        In the UK, there is no way you could get away with what planners do in NZ.

        By all means build apartments, but build them on main routes with transport or in new subdivisions – someone putting up a McMansion next to a villa and bungalows which is the main NZ stock in Auckland, starts looking pretty poxy, let alone future proofing for climate change and allowing for sunlight.

        Yep the rich person building is happy, but the two neighbours who don’t have the money to change their house is cast into the shade and into some sort of walled community.

  7. Wayne 7

    Concerned of Auckland (whoever you are)

    As soon as you described the Unitary Plan as the result of neo-liberalism, being the favorite insult of the left, your critique lost most of its force, at least for me.

    In fact you seem to have forgotten the single Council, including CCO’s comes from the Royal Commission. Rodney’s influence was not nearly as great as you imagine. I was on the relevant committees so I know how the debates evolved.

    Once we had a single city, a Unitary Plan would inevitably follow, and its creation has involved a huge amount of consultation. The process provided plenty of input from anyone interested.

    In fact the UP appears to be quite balanced with some intensification and some outward growth.

    Sure we can all find some fault. I am personally not that keen on 5 story apartments on Williamson Ave in Belmont, but I don’t think they will basically destroy the character of Belmont/Bayswater. So not a good enough reason to say “no” to the Unitary Plan and all its evil works.

    So for me too much hyperventilating in the article, not enough balance. No acknowledgment of the newer style of development such as Hobsonville, where the planners and developers have worked hard to get best practice, which are clear pointers to future large scale developments.

    The various groups and people supporting the UP are not stupid, neither are they dupes.

    So I hope the Council supports the UP, maybe with a few caveats such as minimum apartment size.

    • Sacha 7.1

      “Rodney’s influence was not nearly as great as you imagine.”

      Quite. Almost like John Carter did nothing.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2

      I missed the part where having essential services run by unaccountable partisan cronies is a fundamental aspect of good decision making. That said, an unaccountable partisan crony would hardly be expected to grasp that simple concept, eh, crony.

    • framu 7.3

      “In fact you seem to have forgotten the single Council, including CCO’s comes from the Royal Commission. ”

      wayne – ive heard that rodders then binned every single recommendation from the RC when he designed the super city. Yes or no?

      it sounds like your playing semantics – again

  8. Wayne 8

    framu,

    It is not as I recollect it. The broad thrust of the recommendations was accepted. Specifically a single Council, with an empowered mayor, with most of the power at the Council level, rather than Local Boards. But there were many changes in detail, some of which were significant, but many were not.

    As I recall the major changes were on the precise boundaries of the city, mostly to the south (not going all the way to the Waikato) and some changes on the CCO’s mostly being the process of the initial appointments. A key change was that the Councillors being geographically based rather than elected at large, which was a really unpopular recommendation of the Royal Commission.

    One issue we spent a lot of time on was establishment of the Maori Council, rather than 2 directly elected Maori Councillors. This was at Rodney’s insistence. Also it was agreed there should be less power for the Mayor and more power with the Councillors as a whole (the elected body).

    One of the major changes was the process for developing the Unitary Plan, with Independent Commissioners, with the Chair being a Environment Court Judge. The Independent Commissioners having the principal role rather than Councillors and Council officials. This was to ensure that the plan would be fresh, and not just a re-hashed combination of the seven preceding plans, though inevitably the Unitary Plan does reflect the precursor plans.

    For instance most of Bayswater seems to follow the old North Shore plan, except for much higher density around Belmont. As I noted I personally think 5 stories is too much (3 would be better), but the UP will achieve higher density on the main route, However, provided Lake Rd is upgraded it will work well enough, and provide a wider range of housing options. On average I would expect the apartments to be cheaper than townhouses or single dwellings.

    • framu 8.1

      “The broad thrust of the recommendations was accepted. – But there were many changes in detail, some of which were significant, but many were not.”

      yeah – and you know its the detail that matters

      like i said – i think your playing semantics

    • Sacha 8.2

      with most of the power at the Council level, rather than Local Boards

      That is one of the major departures from what the Royal Commission recommended. Their vision was a governing body dedicated to the needs of the region, alongside strong local governance focused on each place.

      Instead we got the same parochial plonkeurs at the top who regard their neighbourhood as a local fiefdom, with few genuine decisions or budgets delegated to local boards.

      • Wayne 8.2.1

        By and large this recommendation of the RC was accepted. The RC wanted a strong central council and this was accepted. But there were some changes around the detail of the Local Boards. They ended up with somewhat fewer powers than the RC recommended. But as I understand it the Council has devolved some powers to the Local Boards, so the current balance is probably quite close to what the RC envisaged.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2.1.1

          Let’s ask a less self-interested observer. Chapman Tripp summarised the discrepancies:

          Commission recommendations

          Government decisions

          23 Auckland Councillors

          – 10 elected at large- 10 elected through wards- 3 Māori representatives

          20 Auckland councillors

          – 8 elected at large- 12 elected through wards- No dedicated Māori seats

          Move to a four-year term

          Three-yearly term to be retained

          A Minister for Auckland

          No Minister for Auckland

          Permanent Cabinet Committee for Auckland

          Temporary Cabinet Committee for Auckland, led by Hide as Local Government Minister, to oversee the transition to the new structure

          6 local councils at the second tier

          20 to 30 community boards at the second tier, each of which will be named after its local community. The boards will comprise 125 to 150 members in total.

          3 community boards

          Significantly, the boards will not be able to raise their own revenue or hire staff. They will be able to develop operational policies for local issues e.g. dog control, liquor licensing and graffiti control.

          It would have been better to let the community boards oversee the transition and put Rodney Hide in charge of graffiti control. Until he proved himself manifestly incapable of that too.

        • Vice versa 8.2.1.2

          Didn’t the Royal Commission recommend four subcities?

  9. save nz 9

    Welcome to chaos. Remember this poor guy.. Duplex demolition dispute leads to plans to build new house

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/78903829/Duplex-demolition-dispute-leads-to-plans-to-build-new-house

    “After speaking to a lawyer, Alwahb said legal action to stop the demolition was likely to be unsuccessful.

    “You can do a [court] injunction but in the end of the day they might just get the go ahead and start anyway.”

    So the legal advice given to this guy is that this is all ok and he is nnow forced to re model his own house to fix up and fit in with his neighbours. That costs money that he has to find as well as increasing the overall cost of the housing stock in that area with the ‘improvements’ he is now forced to make and with the other house.

    Welcome to more of this bizarre situations and larger, more controversial and expensive housing with the new unitary plan changes.

    And don’t forget this lovely neighbour, and the Wellington planners that approved it sarc.

    Dispute over multi-million-dollar view blocking fence is off to the High Court

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/dispute-over-multi-million-dollar-view-blocking-fence-is-off-to-the-high-court-q14727

  10. Ad 10

    The proposed Unitary Plan is exactly what Auckland needed.

    Because it is fully consistent with the Auckland Plan (with its tens of thousands of public input), and has been developed over two electoral terms, it is one of the best mandated agreements New Zealand has ever had.

    This post just shows the author to have a really bad case of wanting everything to happen, but nothing to happen. Slagging it off by pointing to Nelson Street and leaky homes is flat dumb.

    The Unitary Plan is not going to cure poverty, Iraq, or cancer. But it has landed in the public remarkably well. In terms of politics, if Auckland Council pass it in the next few weeks, the IHP have staved off Council being fired by the government and having commissioners brought in. No one will be able to blame the IHP if the government still steps in.

    The Panel have done what the Council failed to do, and provide a plan that is good for public transport, good for greater density, good for housing growth, and good for democracy.

    That’s more than Auckland has ever had in its entire existence.

    • Vice versa 10.1

      When sausage flats first took off, they created unsatisfactory living conditions. People demanded controls to prevent their worst excesses. And planning aimed to provide liveable accommodation. Gen Zero has many good ideas about congestion. But I suspect they may prove to be wrong in thinking that the market will deliver reasonable quality affordable homes for families. We may get more dwellings. But there will be major social problems to address. Most people I know have felt alienated by the IHP process and the powerful lobbyists. They have lost confidence in the process and the likely outcomes. They are concerned that GZ has become one eyed about single issue and is ignoring a broad range of other important issues. Let’s hope they remain as vigorous in the next ten years to maintain quality building and amenity standards that meet the needs of families with young kids.

  11. Ad 11

    Auckland Council officials are proposing 14 or 15 major policy reversals in the Council papers for debate:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11689523

    They had better be incredibly, earth-shatteringly important to stop the smooth passage of the proposed plan.

    Minister Smith’s pen-holding hand will be quivering with excitement at any chance to crush them and send in the Commissioners.

  12. Wayne 12

    From the news report it seemed to be overall acceptance but with some caveats. One of them was the balance of up or out. That might lead to some pretty forthright negotiations. The others that were reported were what I would expect.

    • Sacha 12.1

      “One of them was the balance of up or out.”

      Explicitness of that, yes.

      “The others that were reported were what I would expect.”

      Same, so far.

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