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Housing Issues Hotting Up

Housing issues in Auckland have become a fairly constant news piece in recent years and the affordability issue has become louder and louder. And it’s not just people wanting to buy a house either but also for renters as rental prices rise too, something that is particularly tough for those on low incomes.

We know that one of the key tools to helping unlock development in Auckland is of course the Unitary Plan – depending on what final form it takes. It reached a new milestone last Friday as the Independent Hearings Panel held its final hearing on it. The amount of work the panel has undertaken has been significant. There were 9443 submissions and 3951 further submissions. The hearings began in September 2014 and there have been 242 days of hearings and there were more than 10,000 pieces of evidence.

Between now and July they’ll be working on their final recommendations to the plan which will be voted on by the council. With elections coming up it’s anyone’s guess as to which way councillors will vote. One thing that does seem clear though is that pressure is increasing on them from the government, in particular Housing Minister Nick Smith.

On the weekend he told by both TVNZ’s Q&A and Newshub’s The Nation that he will be imminently releasing a National Policy Statement (NPS) under the RMA which will put pressure on the growing councils like Auckland to open up land.

“Next month I will be producing a national policy directive under the [Resource Management Act] that will put far tougher requirements on growing councils to ensure they are freeing up long-term the land that is required so that we don’t get into the sort of juggernaut that has been at the core of the unaffordable housing problems in Auckland.”

At first blush that sounds similar to the “throw open the gates” type statements he made when he was made housing minister however since that time he seems to have moderated some of his comments and gained a better understanding of some of the finer issues such as density restrictions that prevent intensification. As such I am hopeful that the NPS he’s developing will also address these constraints too.

I also hope the government consider the impacts on infrastructure as part of any policy. Just throwing open the land might sound like the immediate solution but that land also needs infrastructure to support it and that isn’t cheap. The Council, Auckland Transport and NZTA have been working on the Transport for Future Urban Growth which is planning for about 110,000 dwellings on greenfield land and just the major infrastructure is likely to cost around $8 billion.

Yesterday Smith also became a bit more personal calling Councillor Mike Lee a NIMBY, a hypocrite and part of the problem for opposing intensification in Herne Bay.

“Mike Lee is guilty of Nimbyism,” said Dr Smith.

The Government has designated the site of the old Gables pub a “special housing area”. That allows for fast-tracked development, with between four to seven of the apartments “affordable housing”. It’s about getting more housing into inner-Auckland’s “urban intensification”.

But neighbours don’t like it, and, local councillor Mr Lee is on their side. Mr Lee wrote earlier this year, saying the development was “overriding the civil rights of neighbouring property owners”.

Dr Smith responded, saying he found Mr Lee’s position “ironic”, “odd” and “part of the problem”.

“We cannot have that sort of Nimbyism. That’s at the core of where Auckland has gone wrong. That’s why I’ve politely written back to Mr Lee and said ‘actually, you are being a hypocrite’.”

Nick Smith on Housing

Unfortunately, in many ways Nick Smith is right, over the last few years Mike Lee has fairly consistently voted against rules that would enable more housing, especially in the in inner suburbs.

John Key is also threatening the council and at his weekly press conference yesterday said:

The Prime Minister also warned that the Government would not be able to “sit back” if Auckland councillors did not deliver enough houses in the city.

Asked to elaborate, Mr Key said ministers would make announcements in this area soon.

Could the government ultimately force the Unitary Plan through if the councillors don’t approve it or worse could they install commissioners?

While I don’t agree with everything they’ve said, one positive is that the government have made some better noises around some housing issues. In saying that they also remain very quick to blame the council for the current issues when they need to take a share of the blame too. The reality is the Unitary Plan process is one the government created and more so, some of the ideas like an NPS could have been pushed years ago. Other tools that they’ve implemented such as the Special Housing Areas have resulted in at least some developers using it as a tool for to increase the value of their land-banking.

The bad news is that even if the government and council’s all do their bits well, our housing issues are something that could take decades to resolve. We’ll now have to await with interest to see what comes out of the budget and out of the NPS the government are preparing.

79 comments to Housing Issues Hotting Up

  • Matthew W

    “The bad news is that even if the government and council’s all do their bits well, our housing issues are something that could take decades to resolve”

    In terms of people literally without a house to live in, or living in overcrowded conditions, you are right, this will take time to resolve. In terms of house prices though: Like monetary policy, I think it is at least in part about expectations. If the government and council can credibly commit to liberalising development this, in and of itself, will moderate house price inflation. It will also encourage development and discourage land banking leading to a virtuous circle of expectations and action.

  • SDW

    No surprises with Lee. He also has excuses to oppose intensifying in non “character” areas around the city centre …. Like Not enough parking! http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11229769

    • Matthew

      That “article” is hilarious! Are those people really complaining about seven carparks? Quite beside the point that being car free in the city fringe is a more than plausible option. But then Parnell people are a little strange in general one supposes.

      • Frank McRae

        That’s on former industrial land too not near any “leafy” homes. There really is nowhere that City Vision think apartments are appropriate.

        • Bryan

          I can see quite a few leafy trees and homes in the streetview image of Farnham St. fwiw at least one of the photographed residents walks to his business in a nearby heritage industrial building (and restored the old signal box off the Strand).

          • Frank McRae

            Well I don’t think the presence of rich people’s “leafy” homes is a good reason to oppose development in the first place. My point was that even when development is not on a heritage street these people will oppose it. They just don’t want it to happen anywhere.

          • Sounds like a great place to have some more homes, then. Leafy, walkable…

          • Matthew W

            Yeah its not hard to find leafy trees in Auckland. It would be hard to find suburbs that dont count as leafy. The middle of Penrose maybe?

          • James B

            Did someone agent orange the outer suburbs or something?

      • SDW

        @Frank – bang on. rather than having any justifiable opposition, they just frame their arguments based on what they perceive will cause most disruption/ risk to a development. In the example from the article above, the development Mike Lee and Chris Dempsey successfully managed to double on-site parking provision – hardly champions of PT, Walking & Cycling they often claim to be.

    • Of course the article comes with that photo of Very Indignant Local Residents. Don’t people feel at least a little bit of embarrassment when they show up in the newspaper like that?

    • Damiand

      The Herald photo is quite hilarious…the word ‘Luddite’ springs to mind…

  • While Smith is using Lee’s terrible pro-NIMBY stance as an opportunity to shift blame from his government’s consistent inaction on both demand and supply it does highlight that Lee is beyond wrong here, as he is so often on urban form. This is not a heritage building, or otherwise of any value, it is not a good land use, or even a good pub! It is on a main uncongested road with a good frequent bus service [Outer Link], is close to schools, shops, parks, and even beaches. It’s actually within walking distance of the City Centre, or an easy ride. It is, in short, a perfect site to add as many dwellings as is geometrically possible.

    So some locals fear change, that is always the case, if Lee was really a leader for Auckland, as you would hope given his decades of occupying public office, he would not be boosting these neighbours.

    The man is a baffling contradiction; he wants to bring expensive high capacity Light Rail to this route, yet he opposes exactly the kind of increase in activity that would go towards justifying it. Does he not grasp the relationship between land use and Transit? Or is it that he just likes to be photographed pretending to be a tram driver in 1910…? He is perhaps just a nostalgist.

    I used to live along from this site, my kids went to the local schools; if any part of Auckland could do with a little bit more vitality it’s Jervois Rd; so much amenity, such proximity, yet fewer people there than there were even just a few decades ago when those big villas were divided into four flats. Also I really object to the subtext that because it’s ‘nice’ or ‘leafy’ that means it shouldn’t have development or ‘different sorts of people’. Bollocks I say to that dog-whistle nastiness.

  • John B

    If Lee votes against intensification along the transit routes then I wont vote for him come October despite voting for him for many many years.

    • harrymc56

      I’m precisely the same as you Johnb.

      • Well so this is the interesting point. Lee is falling back on his political intuition, this has clearly served him well over the years, he has found a rich seem of voters who respond to his railing against growth and change and romanticising various symbols of the past.

        The question is is this still going to work? There’s a good chance that this meme has run its course for many, its contradictions and dated oversimplifications may no longer work. This idea relies on a tale of honest toilers in old shacks versus greedy developers proposing towers chiming with people’s view of the issues. I’m certain this has not been an accurate description of the situation since the 80s or 90s, but do enough people still buy it? Have a enough of these old warriors cashed up and left for Hawkes Bay? Or have they all done so well in the property market that they’ve joined him on Waiheke and still imagine themselves poor kiwi battlers like Lee? The insider who sees himself outside the system?

        • Matt P

          Isn’t Mike a ‘leftie’ ,a ‘greenie’? Maybe in superficial name only. He seems to have long taken stands in terms of land use and growth planning that run against things like housing affordability and public transport.

  • Anthony

    The government will be insisting on councils (Auckland) developing more than just a unitary plan or similar. The councils need to plan and cost out all associated infrastructure to support the increasing populations. This includes transport, water, wastewater, stormwater.
    The gables pub location would be a great place for 70 apartments, similarly the Orakei station site.
    The council should have a plan in place for the infrastructure required for these sites being redeveloped.

    • Missing Link

      You’re thinking logically, stop it. As a transport engineer, I am banging my head against the wall with this unitary plan. I go to SHA meetings and the CCO’s (AT and Watercare in particular) continue to ask developers to fund infrastructure beyond the development site boundaries (and I’m talking MHU and MHS zoned sites here not greenfields FU zones) to mitigate the effects of intensification that Council has enabled through the plan. And for the ‘nice’ developers who cough up the cost of this external infrastructure just to get going, all they do is then divide this additional cost by the number of lots they’re selling and add it on to the sale price. Hello, high land prices.

      • jezza

        Land prices are dictated by supply and demand, not the developers costs. The developers costs merely dictate whether a development goes ahead depending on the expected land price.

        • Missing Link

          Totally agree, just saying the disjointed Council and CCO response doesn’t help enable the growth everyone is seeking ie they are stalling supply and adding to the cost of the finished product.

      • SDW

        I don’t understand what your issue is – Are you trying to claim that these developments have no impact outside the site boundaries? If a development is going to generate wider adverse effects on infrastructure (wastewater, PT, streets, cycling etc) then the developer should be paying to mitigate or remedy these – it is at the heart of the RMA.

        • Missing Link

          If a development is in accordance with PAUP zoning, no I don’t think developers should have to upgrade an intersection 200m down the road for example. They should just be able to get on and build.

  • RHarris

    Interesting how the government is forcing blame back on to the council when most the councillors that are holding back intensification a right wing leaning. How does that work?

    The toughest issue I see is how do you get developers to build townhouses, apartments and terraced housing. It almost needs to be incentivised which seems crazy. Land parcels just seem to be passed around and few developers are building. Most developers seem inept in building things other than houses.

    • Frank McRae

      Its not just right wing councillors holding back intensification. The two council wards where intensification makes most sense are Waitemata and Albert-Eden. These are both represented by supposed left wingers Mike lee and Cathy Casey who have consistently opposed intensification at every opportunity.

      Sure the right people have been bad too but their areas are not quite as important for intensification and they don’t claim to be doing anything other than representing wealthy homeowners so they hypocrisy is not as bad.

    • kelvin

      The reason why developers inadpt to build apartments and terrance house has many causes.

      The preceived market value of terrance house and apartment is always lower than house – Due to historical poor quality, over-charged bodycorp fees and outlook of low capital growth.

      Coupled with high construction cost and compliance cost for apartment and terrance house, it is more profitable to build house.

      Council should streamline the RMA process for high density development to reduce cost and risk for high density development.

      Furthermore building cost should be reduced by allowing direct import from oversea materials and building system, bypassing the monopoly local distributors. To do that nz building code should recognise other OEDC building code standard, so higher selections of high quality international construction materials and systems can be used without recertification process.

      Finally bobycorp rules should be reformed to improves value for money, and improves the rights of unit owners – such as bring pets, and freedom to customize their living space.

      • RHarris

        Yes all good points. Better than the landbankers on the outskirts of Auckland arguments that’s its just land that is the issue.

        • Angus Robertson

          The rentier class all agree with you greedily, as they raise the rent some more, that their monopoly on land must be enforced forever.

      • Terraced housing doesn’t need body corporates.

        The problem with terraced housing is that it’s not allowed in Auckland. You need smaller and more narrow sections. And obviously you need to be allowed to build up to the property line on the sides of your section.

      • Different countries have different building codes and approved products for a reason, they are subject to different conditions. Accepting others codes is likely to lead to another round of leaky homes. We need long term solutions, not quick fixes that lead to bigger problems down the track.

  • Angus Robertson

    “The Council, Auckland Transport and NZTA have been working on the Transport for Future Urban Growth which is planning for about 110,000 dwellings on greenfield land and just the major infrastructure is likely to cost around $8 billion.”

    To put this perspective an Auckland land unit is currently trading $300,000 higher than Melbourne or Brisbane and we are planning to add 250,000 buildings internal to the city. our restricting land supply has created a $75 billion cost against urban development and is the major reason why apartment builds are so slow in Auckland.

    • jezza

      Geez, didn’t see that comment coming.

      • Angus Robertson

        Perhaps I might surprise you with a comment. This realisation shocked me right out of a consistent “we need more land” mantra.

        We don’t need more land to sprawl, we need land in the right places.

        We have a plan for 70:30 (up : out) development and yet the PAUP provides sprawl sufficient to allow 110,000 homes. Under the 70:30 ratio we’d only need 80,000. The PAUP is a plan that creates additional unneeded sprawl. By blocking sprawl where people want to live (Auckland) and subsidising sprawl where people don’t want to live (the exurbs) – the PAUP creates high costs on development in Auckland City. The result is more sprawl than we’d ever have needed otherwise.

        Give us more land around Auckland City and we will create less sprawl.

  • Glenn Pearce

    Are the plans for the site actually public anywhere? It’s going to have 98 carparks.

    • They have been trying to build apartments on the Gables Site for over 10 Years !!!!! – from 2006 –
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10382003
      “The pub has been bought by a group of developers, including Chris Cook, who demolished a 100-year-old house in March at Marine Parade in Herne Bay to build two homes. A house wrecker convinced an Auckland City Council heritage adviser that it was built after 1950 and demolition did not require resource consent.

      The developers plan to demolish the Gables and redevelop the 2345 sq m business-zoned site with 15 upmarket residential units, offices and two retail shops on Jervois Rd. A new, smaller restaurant and bar will be built on the corner of Jervois Rd and Kelmarna Ave. One of the developers, Bastiaan Struyck, said the plans were to replace the Gables with a family gastro-style pub and keep features such as the quiz and jazz nights.”

      • Glenn Pearce

        Pretty sure Mansons are the developers for the SHA, they have good reputation for their Green Commercial buildings, not sure if they have done much residential?

        • John Polkinghorne

          Mansons are better known for the many office buildings they’ve developed, but they have done a number of apartment buildings – The Regency, The Silo, Mon Desir. They’re almost finished building The Boutique above the Victoria Park Market carpark, and they’ve started on a small project in Orakei, plus they have a few other Special Housing Areas to come.

          So we’ll probably be hearing a lot more from them in the residential space.

          • Brutus Iscariot

            What’s the Orakei project?

          • John Polkinghorne

            29-35 Coates Avenue – it’s a small SHA, only around 12-14 apartments. Not sure if they have started building per se, but I went past it a couple of months ago and they had demolished the existing buildings and cleared the site, so I imagine it is starting soon.

    • Yes, I’d like to see the plans too. This needs to be a showcase for density done well.

      Also I don’t understand the rationale for designating four to seven of the apartments as “affordable”. What’s the point? Won’t that just mean the developer increases the price of the other apartments? How do you decide who gets to buy the “affordable” apartments? A lottery? How many years will the purchaser have to wait before they sell the property on for market value? The whole idea seems well-intentioned but ultimately flawed.

      • Matthew W

        Yes having specific “affordable” properties is a silly policy we seem to have imported from overseas. It is probably coutner productive as it is another cost (in terms of opportunity cost) developers need to allow for when deciding if a project is feasible.

        • Yes I personally have more faith in the market to supply enough volume, if unleashed from current restrictions sufficiently, to render this sort of thing pointless. Anyway these apartments will be more affordable than the surrounding huge detatched houses simply by being much smaller. This in itself adds variety and choice to the local market. Great for local downsizing households, great for local businesses looking for staff, great for people on their way up the housing ladder. In short they will be more affordable considering the location. And that folks, is how affordablity gets added. In a much cheaper (ie more distant) place the development is less likely to happen because of its own financial logic. We can not afford to lock up desirable places. Especially highly proximate ones! Perfect site for dwelling development.

      • Glenn Pearce

        I believe Hobsonville Point did have some sort of “lottery” system for the affordable dwellings.

        • jezza

          That implies that demand must exceed supply, which suggests that the lucky winner would be able to flick them on for a profit, or are there restrictions on selling them?

        • I’d be interested if anyone tracks how long it takes people to sell, from a quick look at that website they only have to commit to 2 years.

      • The word “affordable” shouldn’t really be used at all. The “affordable housing” development next door to me plans to sell each home for between $450k and $625k. That’s not even remotely “affordable” when so many other parts of the country have new homes for sale for $250k, and existing homes below $100k.

        • Ben W

          Affordability isn’t just about the sticker price though; it’s how that price compares to incomes in the area. There are indeed many places in New Zealand with low prices, but these tend to be places which simply don’t have the same employment prospects in Auckland. A $250k house is pretty unaffordable without a job to pay off the mortgage!

          It is sad, though, that our definition of ‘affordable’ in Auckland has shifted to be upwards of half a million dollars. That’s an enormous sum of money by anyone’s standard.

          • Bryan

            It’s all relative – 450m-500m sections in other subdivisions around Ranui/Swanson are selling for $500k+ (including my street), with stand alone homes selling at $1m+. I couldn’t afford to buy one… 🙁

  • kelvin

    A vehicle to promote intensification is Special land tax – if the value of land is significantly more than the value of building, an extra rate is collected to build statehouse in the same suburb.

    That means the people who owns a small house on a large piece of prime land will need to redevelop, otherwise statehouses will start to pop up nearby.

  • Brendon Harre

    I hope that everyone when considering what to do about housing in Auckland listens to the voices of the poor and struggling because it is them that really need an affordable city. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dA7KJZ2t1U

    Recently when debating the NZCID report -with its scary infrastructure costs to fix congestion. I did a calculation on an even scarier number -how much has Auckland house prices increased in total dollar terms since 2008 – $150 billion. This being based on the increase in median house ($450,000 to $820,000) prices (obtained from Interest.co.nz tools/charts section) multiplied by the number of houses (400,000). So a rough figure but I think reasonably accurate.

    Who has benefited from this $150billion -the incumbent class -those who already owned property. Who doesn’t -the new comer class, the working poor, the young, the struggling…..

    When we start to care about the new comer class then we will be able to fix the housing crisis.

    • Angus Robertson

      We have a political party dedicated to the ideal of helping this newcomer class – they are called the Labour Party. We just have to hope that at some point the Labour Party stops being so stunningly, mind-blowingly incompetent.

      Imagine what the Labour Party could achieve if they actually started helping people. For the past 3 election cycles Labour have lost and then lost by more and then amazingly lost by even more. They did this by being incompetent in the things that they could do. In the governance of Auckland they make sure the rent goes up all the time, a housing shortage becomes a structural housing shortage and property owners become rich. Labour council rewards National supporters and demotivates its own potential support. Auckland council under Len Brown has done wonders in ensuring the re-election and re-election of PM John Key.

    • jezza

      Brendon, the $150 billion isn’t real money, as for that to be the case it would require all of Auckland’s houses to have been bought by someone on 2008 and sold by them in 2016, which obviously isn’t the case. Most of this is just a paper gain which hasn’t been cashed in yet and could easily disappear in a market correction.

      • Brendon Harre

        I wish the market would correct but it seems the powers that be will not let it. Bringing in reforms that sort out housing markets seem to be beyond the current bunch of administrators.

  • Matt P

    Word on the street is that the Unitary Plan Hearings Panel will probably come back with density along the lines of what Council promoted then withdrew a couple of months back, or possibly slightly denser.
    What chance the Council will approve something like that? Even though the rhetoric behind the withdrawal was discomfort with process – which may kind of go away when they make the call on the recommendation – I suspect for many of our wise leaders they just don’t like the density needed.
    So is the ‘right decision’ sitting as a 50/50 possibility? I for one am not confident the Council will make the right decision’, nor the one the government wants.
    I think we will see government intervention.
    I could be wrong. As I say I reckon it’s 50/50. I’m sure the Councillors are well aware of the ramifications of the wrong decision.
    I for one place very little faith in their ability to make the right decision.

    • You know AKL has grown at 75/25 up/out over the last 15 years; 50/50 would be a massive sprawling!

      • Angus Robertson

        Patrick,

        The Auckland is likely to hit 1:1 sprawl under the PAUP.

        The PAUP includes enough sprawl land for 60:40 based on highest of population growth rate projections. With the restrictions placed on Auckland City and rising rents & land costs – the population growth of Auckland is slowing. Also under today’s ideal economic conditions of low cost debt and a worldwide construction boom apartment growth in Auckland is retarded, when a slump occurs it will be severely retarded. Auckland is headed for 40:40 growth.

        Unprecedented, massive sprawl.

  • Matt P

    I mean a 50/50 possibility the councillors will vote ‘yes’ to the IHP’s recommendation

    • Ah. Well there will be quite a bit more pressure on the Councillors this time. That last vote was meaningless playing to the gallery. This is an actual come-to-daddy moment. There will be proper grown up consequences this time. Government can’t ignore it; it’s their process, with actual legal responsibilities now.

  • Waspman

    Awesome Nick Smith, it’s not the open floodgates immigration policy, it’s certainly not the speculators, it’s not selling off state houses, it’s not the fiddling whist Rome burns, it’s not the useless Nick Smith or his equally culpable government, it’s Mike Lee.

    With fools like Smith this crisis will only get worse!

    • Sailor Boy

      It’s all of those things. Fortunately kiwis want to come home and settle hence massive effective immigration.

    • mfwic

      Every time they put Nick Smith in charge of ACC he increased the premiums and claimed there was some sort of crisis.

  • Jeff T

    I think Nick Smith’s picking on people with asian sounding names like Lee. Worse than Labour!

  • Mike Lee is doing his job of representing the people who vote for him. Politicians who push unpopular measures upon citizens because they arrogantly think they know what is best for them, are the ones who out of line. The vast majority of Aucklanders do not want large scale intensification, and Mike is one of the few who actually respect what the people want.

    The NIMBY term is often bandied about by people who eye up other people’s property and declare “let’s do this or that with their property”, as if the owners are somehow irrelevant. Funny, you never see these people going out to a greenfields site to build their apartments. They always want land that is already occupied.

    • Matthew W

      Reference please re your vast majority assertion.

      The only people eyeing up other people’s property and telling them what to do are the bloody NIMBYs!!!

      • Around 80-90% of UP public meeting attendees were against.

        • Matthew W

          Reference? And what on earth makes you think that UP meeting attendees are proportionally representative of Auckland residents?

          • Ricardo

            Mathew W – And what makes you think they’re not representative? Geoff Blackmore is correct. The use of the word NIMBY is a juvenile attempt to bring people down, no more than that. People who use such words usually have little else of value to say, other than attacking people with opinions different to theirs. Thankfully it doesn’t work..

          • Because only 7% of Aucklanders are white Pakehas over the age of 65,

    • His job is to represent the entire city and make decisions based on the best outcome for the city. That includes taking into consideration those that aren’t time rich enough to lobby him directly. If he thinks the majority don’t want it then why did he agree to the Auckland Plan which set the Unitary Plan in motion. Why did has he not attended a single meeting on the Unitary Plan workshop this term to understand what’s happening before voting.

      No one is is forcing people to develop property Geoff.

      • Matt P

        Thanks for showing that table. That is just appalling that Mike Lee has not attended a SINGLE UP workshop. Appalling.

      • Matt P

        What does Mike Lee believe in? Just some notion of giving people – some but not all – what they want?
        Politics as a popularity gameshow?
        Or something more than that? Such as:
        – Better housing affordability
        – An urban form that supports PT
        – An urban form that minimises urban sprawl

        One would have thought, as a so called ‘left leaning’ politician, he might actually embrace some of these things…

    • Matt P

      the vast majority of people would also rather pay lower taxes. But most of us just accept what we need to pay because for the most part (save for some obvious wastage and some questionable spending) the revenue is necessary to pay for things like education, healthcare, roads, PT, police etc etc.

      Likewise, Auckland needs to respond to growth. It’s just one of those inevitabilities, like death and taxes. It’s not going to go away, and brings many benefits (As well as some costs). It can be via focusing mainly on intensification, or more on greenfield. So Geoff, as you don’t favour intensification, would you prefer more greenfield? That’s fine if you do, either model has it’s pros and cons and I respect peoples’ views on that.

      You might say we need to stop growth. I would say we certainly need to slow growth, immigration settings are too high, but I think it is totally naive and unrealistic to talk of stopping growth. I don’t accept or respect that view.

      Clearly, and rightly, the government sees major economic risks with Auckland’s bubble. Such bubbles have brought many an economy crashing down, with all sorts of severe social consequences . The bubble is in large part the result of incompetent political leadership at the local/regional level since 2000, in not providing the planning framework to respond to demand. Lee has been in that milieu all that time. He of course is not anywhere near solely to blame, but he has very much been part of the regime that has set Auckland up to end up in the mess it is at present. What does one expect when the ARC introduces the ‘compact city’ model in circa 2000 and hardly any upzoning occurs in the years since?

      • Angus Robertson

        It can be via focusing mainly on intensification, or more on greenfield.

        No, it is not an either/or choice. Neither of them works by itself.

        If you focus on greenfield and restrict the intensification, this creates a massive subsidy from existing ratepayers to finance the destruction of their own value. Nevertheless if you want to go read a bunch of deluded halfwits in favour of solely this approach go read anything from Demographica.

        If you focus on intensification and restrict the greenfield, this creates a massive subsidy from tenants to existing rentiers and drives tenants out of the market. Nevertheless – yada yada yada – you won’t have to go far.

    • Matt P

      ‘The NIMBY term is often bandied about by people who eye up other people’s property and declare “let’s do this or that with their property”, as if the owners are somehow irrelevant.’

      That is a totally illogical and nonsensical assertion. No one is forcing ANYONE to do ANYTHING with their property that they don’t want to do! The Council is not promoting compulsory acquisition and redevelopment or anything Orwellian like that!

      • Frank McRae

        Exactly. Its the NIMBYs who are trying to control other people’s properties and liberalised planning rules don’t compel anyone to do anything. This point is too often missed.

  • Eyeswideshut

    Does anyone knows anyone who actually purchased an affordable house, and what was the price?
    Why so much hysteria around Auckland while there is an obvious opportunity to invest in growth in other parts of NZ, which would take heath away from Auckland.
    Is the rest of NZ populated by NIMBY’s who are so fixated with Auckland?