On issues normally of interest to this blog, transport and urban development, it seems that the government and the council are miles apart so it is pleasing to see them working together on at least the second of those issues. In an announcement today, they are forming a redevelopment company to focus the Tamaki area which includes Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure. Here are parts of the press release:

The Government and the Auckland Council signed a Heads of Agreement today to jointly form New Zealand’s first urban redevelopment company to transform Tâmaki (including Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure) in Auckland over the next 15-25 years.

Housing Minister Phil Heatley says that the jointly-owned Tâmaki Redevelopment Company (TRC) will bring together the right pubc and private partners, the right level of resource, authority and mandate to get results in Tâmaki. Similar companies have been successful internationally.

“The people of the Tâmaki community have td us they are keen to see the Tâmaki Transformation Programme vision that has been developed by the local community, together with central and local government partners during the foundation period, brought to fruition as quickly as possible. The new company will make that happen,” he said.

Work has been going on to examine how to transform Tâmaki into a thriving, prosperous, attractive and self-reant community.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown welcomes the partnership with Government and says the work in Tâmaki reflects what the council is working to achieve across Auckland through the recently-launched Auckland Plan.

“It is only through initiatives ke the transformation of Tâmaki that Auckland can become the world’s most veable city,” says the Mayor. “The people of Tâmaki have been waiting for this for a long time and this is a great project for the new Auckland to be getting on with. Many thanks are due to those who have contributed to the Tamaki Transformation project over several years.”

Mr Heatley says that, if successful, this redevelopment programme could be a blueprint for urban renewal elsewhere in the country.

“Successful transformation programmes overseas have brought together the local community, government, business, education, social agencies, developers and financiers in claboration to achieve a common vision.

“Tâmaki is a key growth area for Auckland and its future prosperity will have a flow-on effect for the rest of the country.  The new company will ensure a co-ordinated approach to create measurable improvement across four key components over time.”

A social component will support Tâmaki residents and their famies in getting the skills, knowledge and employment opportunities they need. An economic component will strengthen the local economy, creating new jobs and business opportunities.

A housing component will optimise land use and existing housing stock, including progressing private housing development and devering better social housing options in Tâmaki.

Meanwhile, a spatial component will create safe and connected neighbourhoods and spaces that support the social and economic development of Tâmaki and its community.

The first task for the new company will be to bring all the current and future initiatives and projects together into a single strategic framework. This will include catalyst projects to improve education, employment, health, environment, and safety. The Crown and the Council will approve the over-arching plan and business cases before full transformation projects start.

The TRC will lead the transformation, undertaking some projects itself, procuring devery of other projects, and influencing the direction of others.

The jointly owned company is a new structure for the Government and the Council. Res and responsibities have been defined in the Heads of Agreement signed today.

The new company will have a board of up to seven directors to allow for a wide range of skills.  A comprehensive appointment process for the full board is under way.

The Chief Executive Officer-designate of the new company is Debra Lawson, who will take up the position on 3 September. She has over 20 years’ experience as a chief executive in organisations devering affordable homes and social infrastructure in the United Kingdom.

She has worked at the leading edge of pubc private partnership initiatives, devering large-scale and complex urban regeneration programmes within the diverse communities of South London, with a strong focus on accountabity to local people.

The TRC will be based in offices in the Glen Innes area.

For further information: www.tamakitransformation.co.nz

This is a positive step, not just for government/council relations but also for Auckland. Many of these areas don’t have the best reputation and are run down with the houses well past use by date as a lot of the houses were build quickly and cheaply in the boom years of the 50’s and 60’s. There is also a huge amount of land that is currently wasted on that could be put to much better use as you can see in the image below. 

 There is I imagine a lot of work to go on before we start seeing any final plans but there is such a huge opportunity here for for the council to develop and showcase its plans for high quality, less car dependant, more dense and more liveable city. I also hope that there is a wider focus than just housing, I’m sure there are a number of ways that transport linkages could be vastly improved. Further with large parts of the area fairly flat it could perhaps be an ideal opportunity to develop some best practice cycling infrastructure to link into the nearby town centres and train stations.

Also here is a video from Interest.co.nz talking to Phil Heatley about the plan.

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  1. Put another 50,000 people in there, watch the roads have a meltdown because there’s no motorway nearby, then watch the government ram through the eastern motorway to solve it.

    Ideally, they would leave the quarter acre sections, and put vege gardens on all the state owned properties. Lower the grocery spend for the tenants, give them healthy food, and lower transport requirements, all in one hit!

    1. You don’t think the 1.2 billion to be spent on AMETI will provide enough roads? That includes a brand new limited access arterial from Glen Innes to the motorway, which is only 4km away.

  2. Poorly built homes? Not as bad as so many homes built in the 90’s that are now leaky. Time to move the poor out and make GI another ponsnobby. Hopefully they don’t just build a bunch of badly made slum apartments and improve the town centre. At least they have fairly decent access to rail.

  3. Geoff – first of all you don’t need a quarter acre section to have a vege garden. Many of these sites are big enough to fit three houses and vege gardens on. The other thing is even if they were given a vege garden there is no guarantee it would be looked after and used. This isn’t something against the residents that live there but I suspect it would be the same for most places in the city.

    Ari and Mark – Redeveloping this area isn’t about pushing the poor out as I believe the intention is to actually see an overall increase the number of state houses in the area. They are also talking about a lot more privately owned houses and personally I think it is good to have a mix. Getting better land use out of an area like Tamaki is good for all of us.

    Auckland has been talking a lot about having a more compact city so to me this is a perfect chance for the council to come up with some ways of doing it in an attractive manner. What they learn from doing this will be useful in other parts of the city and I have mentioned before that that the council could develop some ‘pre approved’ designs that other developers can use.

    Large amounts of building on this scale will most likely use a lot of common elements. That will help to set up more efficient production lines for key parts but other developers may also be able to also take advantage of that which could help bring down construction costs in other parts of the city. This is important as construction costs have been identified as one of the key issues that needs to be addressed.

  4. Intensification is an absolute MUST, or the poor WILL be pushed out, ever further to the edge (literally) of the city. It’s the sprawling villa monstrosities – where maybe 2-3 people live in – that are the real unsustainable land uses.

  5. I think you’ll get a similar result to as what is there now, i.e. cheap and quickly built housing, allbeit with dwellings closer together. This government is yet to tackle the state housing problem, and like just about every other government area just want it to cost them as little as possible. Heatley talks about subdividing and bringing in private developers, thats how they’re going to pay for the new state houses. The only way quality housing will get built is if the the Council have a good urban plan in place, not holding my breath though. This is the last thing National would think about.

  6. 1/4 acre for a vege patch Geoff? I grow my veges and fruit trees fine on 532m2 and others have working fruit and vege gardens in even smaller sections or even apartments – its called POTS!

    I agree with Matt here, and further say I am watching this project in Tamaki with this Urban Redevelopment Company with high interest. Because if this works then the model can be used else where including my area of Papakura – home of a bucket load of upcoming Greenfield development. Also I am sure Planning Champions Ludo-Campbell Reid and Councillor Cameron Brewer will make sure the urban design is high – especially as that area forms part of his Ward and is also the Tamaki electorate held by Nat and friend Simon O’Conner 😉

    As for the Eastern Highway…. hehehe what you want me to say to that? 😉

  7. There are some advantages in working in poorer areas
    – fewer NIMBY’s
    – it’s easier to buy up existing houses, and many of them may already be owned by the State as public housing
    – the poor stand to gain far more by walkable neighbourhoods than the middle class, because car expenses are a greater proportion of their income
    – those in State housing tend not to look after garden areas, so why provide it when it increases community transport costs ?
    – construction costs of high-density developments should come down through large-scale development
    – some State public housing designed for families could be sold to build larger multiple occupancy buildings designed for 1-2 person households

    Half Hong Kong’s housing stock is State-owned housing, and at that market share there is probably little social stigma attached to it. In Melbourne the Housing Commission blocks built in the 1970’s in inner suburbs don’t seem to have socially blighted the areas. These are still desirable suburbs despite the presence of poorer people. These 20-storey blocks create virtually no extra traffic because minimal parking is provided. Instead the tenants use the dense network of public transport. This is a much better social outcome than pushing them into outer areas where with a tight budget the cars they could afford to run would be barely roadworthy. There is more chance of them obtaining work close to the city, and the inner city needs the low-paid to do certain jobs such as cleaning. In inner Melbourne some of the public housing residents are newly arrived asylum seekers who have no car, no licence and no job, but there may be a requirement to attend language training. The inner city is a far better place to start life in a new country than in car-dependent outer suburbs.

    1. “In Melbourne the Housing Commission blocks built in the 1970′s in inner suburbs don’t seem to have socially blighted the areas.” I’m really not sure if the Comission Flats are a good example here.

      They did initially, for sure, but in general the suburbs recovered to their natural desirable state in time in spite of them. Properties directly adjacent to the commission flats are still majorly affected however and big social blight definitely exists around them.
      As for the virtually no extra traffic, I’d disagree with that. See Atherton Gardens in Fiztroy as an example: https://maps.google.co.nz/?ll=-37.804639,144.979459&spn=0.007536,0.016512&t=h&z=17 The second large carparking area to the south is a three story structure by the way.

      As for finding a job, none of the residents have jobs or in reality would ever find one. The flats are so oversubscribed no working person would ever come close to living there. Even just being unemployed isn’t enough to get on the waiting list, you need to be unemployed and majorly at risk, i.e. with chronic health problems, a non-English speaking refugee etc. It sounds nasty, but the reality is those towers hold the worst of the worst of Melbournes most vulnerable individuals.

      The issue there is the zillions of dollars worth of land those sites occupy. IMHO they should renovate the towers, develop more towers and low rises on the sites and sell and rent them at market rates to whoever, keeping say 30% for social housing stock. That would result in a lot more cash to provide a lot more social housing in other areas where the land isn’t so valuable. You might be able to triple the number of social housing units that way, and ease back on the social blight aspect.

  8. CEO designate Debra Lawson was a disaster in Queenstown Lakes where she proved to be completely out of her depth and have a very limited understanding of development issues. As CEO she sunk without trace, and left town under cover of darkness, electing to make no comment publicly about her term or her departure. A lightweight. This is evidently a board that wants a malleable CEO – that I can understand. However, surely they also want a competent operator. Ms Lawson gave no such confidence in QLDC.

  9. Fast track to gentrification. Mad Ave (now called Mt Taylor Dve) all over again. The urban design argument is just another excuse for a quick buck (and to get poor people as far away from east auckland as possible).

  10. NIMBY’s or, private land owners (incl. me), will be an issue, as the state owns only 50% of residences, and fewer than 50% of properties (as there are already blocks of units on individual lots). A mix of 25:75, state:private residences would be better. With double the residences this means roughly the same number of state houses/units.

    I’m not opposed to density per se, but it needs to be done better than it has ever been done before in NZ (and better than in most other countries) – what some are proposing is pretty revolutionary:


    The puzzle will be the following: how can you develop the area without gentrifying it, increasing rents and land values, which forces lower socio-economic groups to the West and South, but won’t change the aggregate welfare of Auckland? But how can you incentivise PPPs if the private sector can’t claim a market return?

    It would be good to base the development on the following hierarchy 1. Walking and cycling 2. Public transport 3. Cars. The land is very flat from GI to Panmure, there are no main roads or industry on the sea side of Apirana and Pilkington roads, and there are already abundant reserves and generous road corridors. It’s a perfect area to create a new, urban bicycle-based town (think Pauanui but without the spooky Twin Peaks music in your head)

    For this to work we need to bring back Tamaki train station as part of the Camp Bunn development so people can be funnelled into the station – the development of Boundary Reserve in the Jasmax report above seems to propose this.

    With regards to the comment on inferior houses in the area – this is often bandied around, especially by the govt. But even the houses they are moving from north GI are being sold whole as they are still in good condition.

    There’s a lot of Austrian pre-cuts in the area, which are actually really good (I’ve got one). They were designed in a factory process as CKDs (complete knock-downs, an early form of kit-set house) to bring the unit cost down. Some framing was shipped in whole from Europe. They were built by an English company using Austrian labour in the 1950s, using Nordic pine, and a simple but very weather-proof design – NZ labour and wood both being in short supply at the time. The originals were 2-bedroom workers cottages, but a lot have had extensions put on over time. The problem has been poor maintenance by landlords (mostly the state). When they have been maintained well by private owners they are still going strong. My building surveyor said mine is in a better state of repair than most villas, which makes sense as CKDs are 20 years younger.

    We should think about this approach now: If we procured 10,000 units at NZ design and quality standards what price could we get on the int’l market per unit? (welcome to bring in your own labour and materials, Austrians still welcome)

  11. The carrot for the private sector can be seen just over the hill at the Stonefields. Yes the first developer could make it work and the second one has had to change the mix and timing of rollout but in the end it was constructed because the risk out weighed the potential for profit. Land values in the GI and Panmure areas have already increased. Value uplift from the proposed stage one of the redevelopment is already adding to that. The State owned land has been paid off several times over during the past 60 years so there should be the flexibility to produce an agreement where the risk is shared and the private sector could be suitable motivated. However there seems to be very little consideration given to the long established existing community, that have networks and activity patterns which will be totally destroyed once they are moved out of the area. It takes a long time for communities to mend and grow after this magnititude of change is imposed on them with very little say about the outcomes. This is a long way off wanting people to “walk” and “cycle” around when they feel increasingly alienated from what was once their neighbourhood.

  12. I definitely agree with the concept however the government seems to being going about this the wrong way, and thus giving the project a bad reputation ,and this will lose support amongst those who would normally support the project.
    See this article today – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/property/news/article.cfm?c_id=8&objectid=10821960
    Looks suspicious that people are being kicked out of their houses in Silverton Ave, which has great coastal views, and could easily be called Glendowie this increasing value substantially. I don’t think the state should be kicking people out of houses that they have lived in their whole life, but rather concentrate redevelopment on houses that become free, and provide incentives for those who leave if their property if it is in a strategic location.

  13. 1. Also consider what would happen if the redevelopment didn’t go ahead. The Govt owns a huge number of the houses which are now 50 years old with little maintenance. If nothing was done this would be slum city for sure.
    2. I’m not a red neck but I find it sad that those who have very generously been provided a state house for 40 years have the cheek to speak to the newspaper and basically say they have the right to live there forever as though they owned their house. Unfortunately human nature is what it is and people quickly take for granted the charity they have been living off for so long.

  14. I think that when Phil Heatley said “making decisions” look at the leaders that have gone ahead with those decisions,I asked myself “who made the decisions on behalf of the community of Glen Innes”. Definitely not the heart of the people that is for sure; only a group of specific high class people that once began with a house that was owned by housing New Zealand. I was there at Tamaki College when these big kahunas came to meet and they would not allow the people to speak, that is why voices were heard outside pressing the concerns of parents that have families moved because of such individualistic decisions, they only allowed two people into this meeting but were told to sit in and listen. Listen to what! That is the reason for all this protesting and people marching because our human rights have been overlooked, none of these leaders want too hear what we have to say and that is the truth. “money talks and people walk” Housing NZ or these leaders did not have the audacity to communicate with the community of Glen Innes, as far as I have seen only a couple of houses have been renewed for those families that have little ones, how about the elderly people, people that are working but the income is not substantial enough to buy a house, with those millions that are being funded why not renew the houses in Glen Innes instead of uprooting them renew the streets instead of making the neighbourhoods look like a wasteland and pushing those families that are in need away.

    Everyone has major needs and people need to be more careful how they go about using words, people of Glen Innes deserve to be heard we are not an individualistic culture we are a communal a community that believes what is fair, just and right. We need to take care of our elderly people, look out for our families, support our youths through these hardships and hard times….it is not easy at all Phil Heatley; I saw that last night in the protest when the house from Torrington Crescent was being moved up Apirana Ave people were marching,holding banners signs declaring to the house movers that this is not just; the police lined up and started pushing the people firmly in ways to test whether some would retaliate back. This is the up upheavel that takes place when decisions are made unfairly, what is more important then materialism, wealth and capitalism it is PEOPLE….. Len Brown

  15. Sounds like the right idea happening in the wrong way. It’s obvious that the area is suitable for intensification due to its good accessibility and current extremely low densities. Also, Housing NZ can achieve both an increase in their own numbers plus a dilution of their concentration through such intensification. Once again both good things.

    The problem when you aren’t careful about the details, is that you end up having good ideas tarnished. That seems to be what’s happening here.

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