Reaction to the release of the Unitary Plan last Friday has been quite interesting – with yesterday’s NZ Herald article about proposed new growth in the rural parts of Auckland finally providing some balance from the “OMG skyscrapers everywhere” scaremongering. The “up or out” debates will surely continue for quite some time to come, and that’s fine, it’s an interesting and constructive debate over Auckland’s future.

What is threatening to derail this debate is the number of people who suggest a third option – where Auckland simply doesn’t grow by the million extra people anticipated over the next 30 years. Here’s a classic example from that great source of informed comment – “Your Views” on the Herald website:

How about provide incentives to families and businesses to move to areas outside Auckland. Provide incentives for recent immigrants and refugees too.

As a 3rd generation born Aucklander, this recent flood of population to Auckland is destroying any hope of achieving the sort of modest lifestyle my parents had and the outlook is even worse for the next generation. And why should we have to leave our home town?

There’s some logic in the argument that throughout most of New Zealand there’s infrastructure with spare capacity (be it half-empty schools, very empty roads or under-utilised water/waste-water systems) whereas in Auckland most of our infrastructure is either already bursting at the seams or certainly will be with another million people added over the next 30 years. We are told that it’ll be necessary to spend the simply staggering sum of $70 billion on transport in Auckland over the next 30 years. We can imagine the number of new schools needed in places like the southern greenfield area, which will be larger in population than Hamilton.

Of course there are many advantages of a larger city. Agglomeration economies will bring in higher productivity and higher paid jobs, economies of scale should enable us to afford these larger infrastructural investments (as long as we build the clever projects and not the stupid ones) and from an environmental perspective people living in relatively dense urban environments typically have a smaller ecological footprint than those in lower density suburban or rural environments.

This leads to two questions in my mind:

  1. Do the benefits of Auckland continuing to grow at a much faster rate than the rest of the country outweigh the costs of doing so?
  2. Is it feasible, practical affordable or even moral to try and intervene to change this trend?

While I personally suspect that the answer to these two questions are “yes” and “no”, it certainly seems as though a lot of people remain unconvinced over this issue. Perhaps there are small ways in which growth could be encouraged away from Auckland – for example through the provision of a very high speed rail link (160+ kph) between Auckland and Hamilton. However I think that efforts to encourage people away from Auckland are likely to struggle (heck you’d think the high house prices would be enough to put people off living in Auckland!) as Auckland is a really nice place to live and also because future employment opportunities seem likely to focus employment even more around the kind of activities that Auckland will specialise in (high skill specialist work).

It would, however, be interesting to see my first question properly analysed – probably by central government if they were interested in more than just making their property development buddies rich through urban sprawl. While many people will never be convinced that it’s a good idea for Auckland to keep growing, we might at least get a better understanding of what we stand to gain, but at what price, this future is compared to something else.

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  1. It’s an interesting question. But not one that I think requires an answer, primarily because the incentives are already there for people to settle outside of Auckland yet they don’t appear to be working. As you mention above, house prices and living costs are a big enough reason not to live here, and (correct me if I’m wrong) I’m pretty sure that immigrants get more ‘points’ towards citizenship if they choose to live outside of Auckland. These are obviously however not enough to outweigh the employment opportunities and other benefits living here provides. I’m not sure what else could/should be done to encourage such a move when there are (IMO) significant incentives already in place.
    In saying this, it would be interesting to see research done around a Hamilton high speed rail option.

    1. The experience in Australia, where new immigrants must live outside the biggest cities for a period of time before they can hope to gain residency, is that the immigrants will live out their mandate period of exile and then head for the big cities anyway. Only a low proportion remain in the smaller centres beyond the required time. I see no reason why NZ would not experience exactly the same phenomenon.

  2. Let’s assume that the national population as a whole will grow by a million people in the next 30 years. Where else would we put them? We have six cities with a population greater than 100k: Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Greater Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin. Trying to spread a million people across the country would be hugely stressful to the infrastructure of nearly everywhere, but if we mostly put them in Auckland it’s already the biggest city by far and has the capacity to handle that growth more gracefully.

    The other option is that the government shuts the borders and the population shrinks due to the birth rate eventually falling below replacement. Auckland will still grow, because it’s a magnet for internal migration, unless the border closure is accompanied by bans on internal migration. That’s the only way that the population of Auckland can be constrained. Any other scenario requires that we provide for Auckland’s continued growth.

  3. NZder’s have an obsession for housing investment which can be partly blamed on Government but not wholely – so as I see it housing will continue to be unaffordable and I actually think more investment in Hamilton to attract more people to live there would not be a bad idea.

  4. I think a poor job has been done of explaining to Aucklanders why Auckland will grow by the anticipated million extra people. 1 million over 30 years sounds like a massive amount of people. Instead 1.7% per annum compounding doesn’t sound large.

    What will this 1.7% be made up of? It should be easier to find how is predicted births, new immigrants (from overseas and inside the country) and returning citizens. I imagine it could be done as a simple infographic, like something you’d find at

    1. To simplify things greatly: Much of the difference is that most of the rest of New Zealand is white, where birthrates are below replacement levels (most women have less than 2.1 children). In Auckland, the large population have slightly more children on average, and thus there is natural growth.

      If there was no immigration, Auckland would grow slightly, and the rest of the country’s population would fall over the next 30 years. With immigration, Auckland will grow considerably, and the rest of the country will generally maintain its population.

      1. edit> …large Pacific population.

        I just had a look at the statistics, and during the 2000s Pacific birthrates were about 2.95 per woman, well above replacement. Maori birthrates are above replacement, at about 2.6 children per woman. Asian birthrates (1.67) are below European (1.77) These will all decline over the next few decades, possibly quite quickly, but the relative positions are likely to remain similar for quite a while.

        1. The 2006 study that investigated why Auckland payed more in taxes than it received in government spending compared with the rest of the country found that on the spending side it was due to Auckland’s population demographic being below the national average for under 25s and over 65s, which are the two age groups that account for the bulk of government spending ie in health education and super peyouts. That suggests that polynesian/Maori birthrates are only a small part of the projected population growth. It also suggests that retirees move away from Auckland, possibly because of internal migrants cashing up their Auckland property investments to buy a more economically efficient property in cheaper locations. I suspect that this reverse migration flow wont have been factored into the population growth estimates.

          One reason that Auckland exhibits this unusual population demographic is because Auckland has become the corporate head office of New Zealand and has a lot of uni grads (young/single) and corporate ladder climbers (soon to be empty nesters). To a significant extent that means that Auckland’s taxes are paying to educate it’s future internal immigrants and to look after its retiring emigrants. That does suggest that the agglomoration economics are little more than sucking the highest paid jobs out of other parts of the country. The same appears to be true for all financial capitals, unlike manufacturing agglomoration where particular locations really were significantly superior in operating costs due to proximity to resources of transport networks, eg Manchester or Detroit in their heydays. There are obvious benefits in having the jobs sucked only as far as Auckland rather being sucked offshore. Whether those jobs are really adding huge value to just paying unrealistic salaries is the big question.

          As for economies of scale, does that really apply if Auckland continues to be just a cluster of small settlements connected by motorways or will it only happen once Auckland learns the lessons from London, New York, Hong Kong etc and uses rail and apartments to increase land productivity? Newer tall buildings don’t generate more stormwater runoff and needn’t use significantly more water or power than older low rise buildings.

  5. We do, don’t we, believe in freedom of movement? I just don’t see it changing as urbanisation seems to be an irresistible and global phenomenon of our age. Growing well is the challenge, both up and out. And in terms of out, satellite towns protected by green belts and connected by a quality rail system seems way preferable to shapeless auto dependant sprawl. That way both community scale (small) and rural qualities are retained for those who wish them, with viable access to the big city.

  6. There’s already an incentive in the immigration system where those who settle outside of Auckland acquire more ‘points’ in their application for residency.

    New Zealand offers people the chance to live in a place that feels like a city (Auckland, Wellington, unfortunately no longer Christchurch), or a place that feels like a town (everywhere else). Locals and immigrants alike usually choose the former, for a whole bunch of reasons.

    1. you get points for leaving outside of Auckland and you get points for having an high skill job, two things that unfortunately diverge. As the things are, you’ll find mostly one or the other. That policy doesn’t work much.

  7. >>1 .Do the benefits of Auckland continuing to grow at a much faster rate than the rest of the country outweigh the costs of doing so?

    There are not many real reports that actually put a dollar value on this. I suspect the dollar cost is not that much compared to the social costs of crowded cities. Many of the immigrants to New Zealand came for the wide open space and low population, not a dense city (this applies to the Maori too)

    Also the main dollar saving for dense cities is that people mostly use public transport, this requires lots of walking (which is good), but this is usually more tolerable in a flat city, not a volcanic mountain range that Auckland is. It time to move the new main city of New Zealand to somewhere flat, away from volcanic cones, and at least a few meters above sea level (Waipu City, Miranda City, Dargaville City ???)

    >>2. Is it feasible, practical affordable or even moral to try and intervene to change this trend?

    Well eventually we will have to limit population growth, why wait till 3013, now’s good. A simple start is to stop spending any public money on new infrastructure in Auckland, people will move out in search of good infrastructure in other cities

    1. “Many of the immigrants to New Zealand came for the wide open space and low population, not a dense city (this applies to the Maori too).”

      I’ve heard this a lot lately and I have no idea where it’s coming from. None of the first-gen immigrants I know (quite a few, mostly Europeans) have come half way around the world to live in a draughty house in a suburb. First priority is work, second are the basic pleasures (family, food, nature) and then the rest. I have never heard any one of them say that “wide open spaces” and “low population” are a reason why they live in Auckland. If it was that important to them they would move to, well, anywhere else in NZ.

      “Also the main dollar saving for dense cities is that people mostly use public transport, this requires lots of walking (which is good), but this is usually more tolerable in a flat city, not a volcanic mountain range that Auckland is.”

      Auckland is flat enough for cycling. A healthy, strong guy can even get by without gearing if he likes the punishment. The tiny volcanic hills we have an easy easy climb for any healthy individual.

      “Well eventually we will have to limit population growth, why wait till 3013, now’s good. A simple start is to stop spending any public money on new infrastructure in Auckland, people will move out in search of good infrastructure in other cities”

      Yeah, right. We would just looove to pay taxes and receive nothing in return. And how do you suggest we control population growth? Take note that the Chinese population is still growing by 0.5% and that is after 30 years of hard-line population growth measures. So, yeah. Not gonna happen.

      1. Indeed, if they are coming here for wide open spaces then why do they all settle in the largest city? Surely that is the worst place for ‘wide open spaces’.

      2. Migrants whom came here in the past century or two, came here for land and space to live in, NOT apartments. Only in the last 10 to 15 years have apartment dwellers turned up. But the previous migrants are now up for paying for roads and trains etc.

        Cycling is fine as long as it doesn’t rain every third day

        A roads and trains for a crowded city we didn’t want in the first place is still “nothing in return”

        The Chinese population is growing “on paper” because people are living longer, net population trend for younger age groups is going down

        1. Pete, you’re generalising pretty severely about what migrants wanted in the last 200 years, what they’ve wanted in the last 10-15 years, and whether Auckland’s current population wants growth or not. There’s a vast range of opinions, beliefs, attitudes and values in the groups you’ve described.

        2. So these migrants who travel to the other side of the world for land and space, why did they all come to Auckland? How come they pick the biggest, busiest, most crowded, most expensive place in the whole country to live in? If they want land and space there are millions of acres of dirt cheap land elsewhere in the country.

        3. Currently all of the jobs that immigrants are qualified for are in Auckland, not much choice

        4. I’m sure they are all well qualified to be farm hands, share milkers and labourers, yet they stubbornly insist on living in big cities where the good jobs are. Fools.

      3. Agreed, as a younger first gen immigrant I definitely want a compacy city with access to wide open spaces.

  8. After 30 years of extra greenfield development I think Auckland will start to Geographically be differcult to manage efficiently, diseconomies of scale and provision of infustructure cost benefit will decrease. With the mass transit nework completed Auckland could cope with the growth. Our future is dependent upon whether Len Brown gets reelected because if he doesn’t I’m afraid with inflation we will never be able to afford to build the CRL.

    1. The diseconomies, their scale, or even if they are diseconomies, depend entirely on how we grow. If we keep doing as we have and as the hillbillies in government want us to then yes, AK will become less efficient, more congested, and poorer. Under any future scenario we can’t afford to ignore the currently inaccessible transport asset of the rail system by not building the CRL. It is only by using crazy cost benefit analyses that it could considered unaffordable when we spend so much on poor transport infrastructure.

  9. Moving Auckland’s port to Northport and expanding Whangarei’s population would be a start. Hamilton already has rapid population growth-just look at the new developments planned and the loss of farms.
    Rapid immigration is being used to prop up a failing economy. Interesting how a large part is now from developing nations.

      1. Indeed. The truth hurts 🙂 Around 40% of Aucklanders were born overseas. It is rapid poulation growth when compared to similar sized nations- who have been around for a lot longer!

      2. Indeed. The truth hurts 🙂 Around 40% of Aucklanders were born overseas. It is rapid population growth when compared to similar sized nations- who have been around for a lot longer!

        1. If the economy is being propped, presumably it is not failing? If immigration is good for the economy then what is the problem? It is certainly good for the immigrants, who upsticks to move here. Note that a government can restrict immigration, but it cant really make immigration happen.

        2. So people want to come and live in NZ and contribute. And the government lets them. And when they get here they want to buy housing and consumer goods.

          ^^^ I dont understand why this amounts to some “false prop” that someone has deliberately installed? By whom? Isnt it really just a description of voluntary interactions by individuals?

      1. I can only assume by that comment that you have never lived in an actual developing country. I have lived in a couple and we are VERY far from being a developing country even compared to poor EU countries.

        It is amazing how little NZers appreciate what a great place we have here. The only people who seem to praise our systems and economy are foreigners.

    1. Unless the rail link is fully upgraded (double-track, full bi-di signalling, all bridges adjusted for high-cube containers, proper maintenance so trains can average at least 60km/h…) the port can never move north because it’ll never be cost-competitive. It has to be possible to get freight down from there within a day of unloading to be viable because Auckland is the principal destination for everything, and the road will only ever be up to those volumes if there are quite a few billions of dollars spent on its upgrade. Puford is a kindergartener’s sandpit project compared to what’s needed if North Port becomes the sole water entrance for the upper North Island.

  10. What I find interesting is that there is an assumption that Auckland’s growth is a matter of choice – that if the Council would just stop promoting people and business to move here external and internal migration would stop.

    It is now far beyond being a matter of choice: Auckland is going to grow whether we want it to or not. Therefore, it makes sense to plan and start the conversation now, over the objections of Nick Smith and Gerry Brownlee. Its either that or wait for the next Labour government in 2029.

    1. I’m a bit more hopeful for a green/labour govt. (probably both together) in 2017. But I agree we need some central support. 1/3 of the population can’t pay for 3/4 of the new population.

  11. There are already incentives in place for families to live outside Auckland, in the points qualification criteria when applying for residency if a person/family agree to live outside Auckland for at least two years they gain two points, this could mean they then qualify to be a resident.

    1. And based on the Australian experience they will live out those two years, get their visa, and then relocate to Auckland. Very few will remain long-term residents of smaller centres. It’s being seen here to some extent with migrating medical professionals who have to go and work in the boonies (West Coast, for example), who work out the necessary period and then bugger off to the big smoke. Hell it even happens with Kiwi medical graduates who get loan assistance if they work in a rural centre; they go for however long is required, then leave. Compulsion does not turn people into long-term residents.

  12. Whoa, hang on a sec, 6 months ago it was that Auckland was going to hit 2 million in 2031
    Which is the medium growth scenario from Stats NZ most recent predictions

    Now all of a sudden it will be an extra 1 million people by 2031 ( making 2.5 million) which is pretty much the high growth scenario from Stats NZ of 1.8% per year.

    Has anyone asked the Council why they have stuck the high growth figure in their plan as their presumed result, which are much higher than Stats NZ medium predictions

    1. 2million is the low figure, 2.5 is the high figure. Also one of them considers the region as a whole, one only considers inside the MUL.

  13. 2 million is the medium figure, not the low. 2.5 million is the high. And they’re both looking at the whole region, including areas outside the MUL like Pukekohe, Warkworth etc.

    Council are going with the high because it’s better to have plans in place for growth that doesn’t eventuate, than to be caught short by major growth that can’t be accommodated comfortably.

  14. Population growth is essential for capitalism to work, so that the rich continue to get richer. Bindi Erwin wrote a piece about how stupid this unsustainable approach to human existence is, both for humanity and the planet, but Hillary Clinton, being a capitalist, shunned it.

    Short answer – no, Auckland should not continue to grow. Population should be capped at 7 billion, at least until we can spread our wings to other planets.

      1. Population decline will occur once resource depletion has taken place, and/or the environment ceases to provide us with a habitable world. The question is whether or not we will pull out of our stupidity before this happens, or whether like locusts, we will die off after consuming all there is to consume.

        Regarding growth of population and consumerism as a measure of success is quite simply, insane.

        1. So no time soon then, certainly not going to change the need to address growth in Auckland’s population.

          Population growth is hardly a measure of success in fact the opposite is broadly true. The richest countries (apart from America) have declining natural populations.

        2. 3% compound annual growth on a 0% growth resource (a finite planet) is the measure of success in capitalist nations, and it relies upon the idea that we won’t be around to see the final destruction of such stupidity. You’re right, no time soon. You only achieve 3% annual compound growth through encouraging population growth. More people = more consumerism.

          But putting that big picture aside, there is no reason for any house in New Zealand to cost more than $300k. We are sparsely populated country with plenty of space. The problem is that by forcing more and more people to live and work in one spot, you need to cram them into smaller and smaller buildings, at ever increasing cost. Ideally, there would be a stable population, and no induced pressure to stuff everyone into a small area.

        3. Our planet isn’t a finite resource, it receives 6 megawatt-hours of solar energy per square kilometre a day. We are a very very long way off using that up.

          And there are plenty of houses for $300k in New Zealand. The country is full of small towns and provincial cities with static demand and cheap houses. No one is being forced to live in Auckland, no one forced to live in smaller houses or flats. People chose to live in Auckland, in droves I might add, and the new Unitary Plan simple removes some of the regulation that forces people to not love in smaller properties. Why? Because there is huge demand to love like that.

          It just bewilders me that people claim that everyone is forced into big cities, and that no one wants to live in them and they all want houses out in the bush with only morporks for company. There is untold opportunity for that in New Zealand… Yet everyone moves to Auckland. What does that say about what people actually want?

        4. Agree with Nick R. To claim that people are ‘forced’ into living in Auckland is rubbish. If other towns and cities in New Zealand want more people to live there then it is up to them to make their place better and more attractive.

  15. The quantum is a best guess anyway. Still vital we get the form right; the market, ie people making choices will decide what proportion of up or out it is, if given the choice. And the UP does allow either remember.

  16. An hour is the longest acceptable commute.
    An Auckland – Hamilton high speed train would probably have a few stops on the way, e.g. Te Rapa, Ngaruawahia, Huntly, Te Kauwhata, Pokeno, Papakura, Newmarket.
    Assuming 128km, with seven 2 minute stops, 2 minute acceleration & deceleration times, requires an operating speed of at least 255km/hr. Practically it’d need to be doing 300km/hr where possible to make up for enevitable alignment compromises where these speeds are not possible.
    This would require dedicated track. Assuming similar costs to the Taiwan High Speed Rail, it’d cost about NZ$8B. At 5% rate of return thats NZ$400M/annum. It’d need to be shifting around 50,000 people per day, or 1000 person trains at 6 minute frequencies peak.

      1. Too true and I personally know a person who commutes from Hamilton to Penrose daily. Stuffed if I could handle that drive every day but I might do it in a train (with wifi).

        1. No I want the end addresses or at least streets so that I can know if you are exagerrating or know morons.

        2. Don’t underestimate some people’s ability to drive and only ever drive for transport. My cousin works with a woman who lives in an apartment near sky city and works on K Rd, and drives to work every day.

        3. There must be like a million buses going that way, and it is less than a kilometre!
          Bitches be crazy.

        4. Absolutely. I take the Bayswater ferry everyday and cycle there, a distance of about 3 kms. I watched a guy get off the ferry and drive to his house (in a SUV of course!) which was less than 500m from the ferry terminal. In summer. It was 30degs at least and had been all day.

          It sometimes amazes me when I think there must be a lot of people who basically never leave their street or even their own property except in a car. What a sad existence and they are missing so much great stuff.

    1. Balls to your “hour”. My former boss commuted daily from Hamilton to the Auckland CBD, because his kids were in Hamilton schools and moving was just too much dislocation (plus housing costs, of course). Plenty of people do Pukekohe and Warkworth to Auckland on a daily basis, and those can easily exceed an hour with only a minor alteration to traffic patterns.

    2. A high speed rail link Between Auckland and Hamilton will happen. Pretty much exactly as Anthony describes it, when the population supports it.. which it will, one day. My guess.. when the combined population of greater Auckland + Hamilton reaches 4-5 m.. maybe 2050-2070? In the process, Auckland will become developed both more intensely and more extensively. I’d love to see it.. I think the future Aucklanders will be very happy with their city.. possibly even happier than I am with today’s city. They should have PT and cycling infrastructure and walkability that we can only dream of. And by 2060 there will be no one around harking back to the so-called good old days of the 1950s (or for that matter the 1980s). The real challenge I think is whether Auckland (NZ?) can keep up with the best of the rest of the world.. quite possibly in a very different global energy context.

    3. At that speed you’d need to tunnel all the way through metro Auckland. That implies pressurised carriages. This is the sort of issue that the Germans face with their high speed rail… No one wants something that noisy rocketing past their house at aircraft speed.

      1. You could cut and cover, or just plain cover to alleviate noise issues but I agree.
        That would probably be closer to 20 billion in my opinion just for the sheer quantity of tunelling.

      2. Not necessary. The third main will eventually run from Papakura to Quay Park. If intercity trains could average 100km on the third main (I.e run through at close to top speed) that would only take 19 minutes. Therefore, to make the whole trip to Hamilton in one hour the rest would only have to average 144km/h.

        With some proper scheduling vehicles and track capable of a top speed of 160km/h would be all that is needed to give a one hour trip Hamilton to Auckland (and 1h45 Tauranaga to Auckland).

        1. You forget to add the 7 weeks it takes to get from Newmarket to britomart. Especially as CRL is unlikely to be viable for intercity.

    4. Anthony,
      I too would challenge your “An hour is the longest acceptable commute” – but in any event, 200kph (=125mph) is nothing special for a train – it has been around in the UK since 1976. 128km at 200kph is 38 minutes – but let’s be generouus and assume that 30km of this is done at 100kph – that is still only 48 minutes. And why would you put 7 calls into a fast long distance train? [On a London – Manchester service in 2 hours there are only 3 or 4 intermediate stops.] So (say) 4 calls of 2 minues with an extra 2 minutes lost for each with accelaration and deceleation – gives a total journey time of 64 minutes. The much more important question would be how much does it cost to get the capacity to continue to oparate all the freight and suburban services at the same time.

  17. So what would actually happen if we invested in no new infrastructure at all in Auckland for the next few decades, but billions-worth of state-of-the-art properly-designed infrastructure in another city – Hamilton, Christchurch, wherever, doesn’t matter. Surely that would provide incentives for the growth to shift away from Auckland? And would this be a good or bad thing? Or is Auckland’s growth truly unstoppable? I’m just not convinced that we HAVE to provide for growth. Surely we have some sort of choice?

    1. So you accept that the growth has to happen, right? You just want it to happen somewhere else? Eventually Auckland shrinks and then we waste the billions of dollars of infrastructural development that’s gone into the city to this point? Because that’s what will happen. If the centre of economic gravity shifts the workers will follow and Auckland will wither. Unless you’re proposing that growth be halted entirely, it makes more sense to concentrate it on Auckland than try to concentrate it elsewhere or try and spread it out across our tiny handful of actual cities.

    2. That’s a good point. Rather than trying to force businesses, and people, to other local towns / cities, build the centres as people appear to want them – compact, with good options for getting around. That whole 1/4 acre dream seems to be something that more and more people are willing to do away with if it means they can easily get to work, friends, entertainment etc. Rather than just focusing on creating a high density Auckland I think we need to also be looking at high density in Hamilton, Kumeu, Pukekohe, heck even Whangarei and add the quick, reliable transport options that people need. The trip on high speed rail from Antwerp to Amsterdam (a similar distance from Auckland to Whangarei) takes a bit over an hour. It seems that the only region that is thinking smart is actually Auckland. New Zealand is mostly a nation of towns and we could do a whole lot with that if we can connect them in ways other than roads. Air travel is not too bad but the prices vary considerably and the time at airports is a pain not to mention there are still ots of people who don’t like flying.

      1. Slight difference in geography for the 2 countries lol. I would be amazed if we achieved that without tunneling the ENTIRE rout until the Ruakaka flats.

    3. What you are proposing is what happened over the last 10 or so years in Australia. After the 2000 Olympics, the NSW government announced that they do not have the funds to invest in new infrastructure in Sydney. Meanwhile, down in Melbourne, the Victorian state government was investing heavily in new infrastructure.

      Fast forward to today, Sydney remains Australia’s largest city, although by a smaller margin as Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth all attracted larger growth. Melbourne consistently rates higher than Sydney in quality of life survey, and is projected to once again become Australia’s largest city sometime in the next 50 years.

      Sydney, meanwhile, has deteriorating infrastructure, and is failing to live up to it’s potential. As an Aucklander, I do not want to see this happen here, and I would rather that we invest in infrastructure to have an efficient city in the future, than we declare that we’re full and suffer from our lack of investment.

  18. Firstly, anyone who says NZ is a developing country is simply being a parochial twit. I have spent the last two weeks in Chile, where the life and style of the upper class compares favourably with our midddle class, but this is still a hugely third world country when you look at both the circumstances of and attitudes towards the “rest” in Chile. In both culture and economy we are still very firmly in the first world in NZ. Secondly, the fact that almost with one voice the commentators ona public transport blog simply cannot conceive of a regional development policy except within definitions of success defined exclusively by neo-liberal economic values shows how imprisoned by neo-liberalism our entire intellectual debate has become in NZ. It isn’t a matter of “making” immigrants live elsewhere as if in some sort of internal exile before being released to live where they like. It is a matter of a government developing policies that have criteria for success other than mere economic efficiency. Migrants (and locals) will go where the jobs are. if the government was to help via tax breaks and subsidies Boeing, for example, build an aircraft factory in Bulls that employed 10,000 people then Palmerston North would see heaps of migrants.

    Of course, migration should occur within athe framework of a wider population policy that should allow debate on issues like what is the optimum population for NZ, where should they live at a macro level (i.e. should we concentrate the population in the middle upper North Island to retain the wide open spaces and beauty of the South? What would that mean for Dunedin and Christchurch?) what sort of cultural makeup we want for our country (if we want an Anglo-Saxon civil society and welfare state then it follows we need a set of core values we inculcate into immigrants about the type of society they are coming to) in the future.

    In short, for a site that stresses the multi-dimensional nature of the advantages of PT the comments so far have been disappointingly one dimensional.

    PS Santiago has a fantastic Metro, fast efficient and grand. If they can do it, so can we!

    1. Matt Clouds replied to me with “So you accept that the growth has to happen, right? You just want it to happen somewhere else?”

      Not WANT, necessarily, just wondering “What if?”

      Patrick posed the example of Sydney under-investing whilst Melbourne overtakes it. So I restate what I thought was one of the questions posed by the original post – is this a problem? PT fans may prefer Melbourne, but Sydney is hardly failing. What will be the fate of the cities in 20, 50, 100 years? What is best for Australia? I can see good reasons why Auckland should and exceed grow to be bigger than either of these cities by the end of the century. I can also see equally good reasons why Auckland represents a rare opportunity to protect a rare and special environment by finding a sustainable future that is not dependent upon growth. We DO have a choice.

      1. Except that Melbourne wasn’t 1/4 the size of Sydney when it began its rise to become Australia’s largest city. The second-most-populous city in NZ is Christchurch (barely), at an estimated 363,000, or the Greater Wellington Council area of approximately 400k. Christchurch is almost exactly 1/4 the population of Auckland, and the GWC population is not much more than 1/4.
        By comparison, in 2000 Melbourne’s estimated population was 3.187m vs Sydney’s 4.085m. Having one overtake the other is not a massive dislocation in infrastructure investment or population growth, whereas for any other city to overtake Auckland within the next century would require compounding annual growth of about 2% and Auckland’s growth to stop completely. That’s just not going to happen.

        1. Yes the situation is a little different. Auckland is the primate city of New Zealand, the economic capital (if not political) four times the size of the next city.

          In Australia, the likes of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are primate cities of their respective states, each many times larger than the next largest urban area. Melbourne is ten times the size of Geelong, Sydney about the same vs Newcastle.

          The point was to compare two primate cities vs. their infrastructure investment.

  19. “if we want an Anglo-Saxon civil society and welfare state then it follows we need a set of core values we inculcate into immigrants about the type of society they are coming to”

    Yes, IF. But who is “we”? All NZers are immigrants or descended from them. The “we” of the near future is made up substantially of recent and future immigrants. Immigrants like me (aka ‘parochial twit’). What do they/we think about “optimum populations”?

    This is why I call NZ a ‘developing nation’, as from the perspective of Europe or Asia, it is developing, more in the cultural than economic sense. Unlike Chile, for instance, which is much more culturally mature.

    1. It’s important to keep in mind that replicating another part of the world is not development. It’s just mindless copying.

      Most New Zealanders would not want to isolate themselves from the wonderful environment we have here, so simply copying say, Europe, and cramming everyone into dense cities, isn’t the right way to go. I live in Auckland, and look out my window onto a bush covered hillside, and listen to the Moreprks at night. I do not want to live surrounded by hundreds of other people, with no bush or Moreporks.

      1. Geoff you realise that most of Auckland doesn’t change in the UP? The point of some higher density is that then growth can be accommodated without changing the nature of much of Auckland.

      2. What a daft thing to say. Replicating another part of the world is development, if we sucessfully replicate a place more developed than us!

        It’s not like people just mindlessly pick a country and think we should copy it (Hmm Cambodia maybe? No lets try copying Birkina Faso!). That would indeed be mindlessly copying. What people advocate is following applicable attributes of successful countries to achieve a corresponding higher level of development. it’s neither mindless, not simple copying.

      3. Well I wouldnt want to live out in the middle of bush NOT surrounded by hundreds of people. I would be bored out of my mind. I also dont want to have to drive 10kms to the nearest shop or take my kids to school. I want to cycle everywhere if possible.

        So our anectodal evidence tells us…nothing.

        We have to look at what is good for NZ and Auckland, not just express personal preferences. If you want to live a rural existence, maybe choosing to live in the largest city in NZ wasnt such a great choice. There are lots of nice provincial cities in nZ where you xould have an even more “idyllic” (at least from your point of view) existence.

        1. Well there will always be semi rural areas on the fringe and other places, e.g Kauri Point next to the reserves, and ironically intensification is the best way to preserve those areas in their current peri-urban state . Edge sprawl being the worst for that I course, converting the semi-rural into subdivisions of suburbs. Its also bad for people like me who want to live in a urban environment yet also like getting out to the countryside often. I love how I can liv day to day in the central city yet can be on a bush hike or a secluded beach within half an hour in some cases. More sprawl not only destroys the rural/ wilderness environment I replaces, it also extends the time it takes people to access the remaining countryside areas.

          This is the thing I just don’t get. I’m perfectly happy for most of Auckland to be suburban in character, and to have a band of countryside living encircling the city. But to maintain that we need to focus development on a small number of appropriate areas at more efficient densities. Not everyone will like that, but we’re not forcing it on anyone. Many actually prefer it, and will chose to live in such neighborhoods by choice. Those that don’t, won’t.

          That’s what really shits me the most, I don’t tell the likes of Geoff and his Moreporks or Joe Suburb that they can’t live the way they want to live, but on the other side of the fence there are so many telling me that I can’t live the way I want to live, and that regulations should be maintained to prevent my chosen lifestyle from happening and ensure that their choice is the only legal option in 99% of the city.

        2. Rubbish – there is nothing at all stopping you right now from living in an apartment if you want. Scrapping the MUL is not a threat to what you want. The problem is you don’t want to stop with your own choice. You want to limit suburban expansion to force more people to live your way. I say scrap the MUL and let everyone choose their lifestyle. Given a blank slate, most people want a house on land. You only see demand for high density living, apartment building style, in places where constraints have been imposed artificially, such as making more and more people work in one small area. Go to somewhere where such constraints haven’t been imposed, like Hamilton, and you see the impartial choice of how the inhabitants choose to live – in houses, on land.

        3. Where did I ever mention apartments Geoff, your prejudice has taken hold of your reason! What I’d really like is a terraced house next to a train station in a good middle ring suburb. Exactly the sort of thing the UP allows. I do already live in an apartment downtown, simply because the current laws mean basically the only choice is an apartment downtown or a full house everywhere else.

          And you are talking of constraints, did you forget about the massive constraints that are placed on what people can do with their land? The minimum lot sizes, minimum setbacks, height limits, parking requirements etc? The same extremely proscriptive rules they have in Hamilton? If everyone wants a separate house on land then why do we need extremely constraining regulations to force that outcome. Surely if everyone wanted it the there would be no need for such laws to force that built form, it would happen anyway. Why are the flat -earthers so terrified I something like the unitary plan that allows, but doesn’t require, people a little more freedom with their property. If it is as you say, nothing will change, right?

          Arguing on one hand that if people are given a choice they’d pick one outcome, then one the other arguing that the must never be given any other choice. That is daft.

          Ok, sure let’s do as you say, no constraints, blank slate. We’ll remove all the planning regulations and the urban limit and leave it purely to demand. I’m not sure you’d like the outcome.

        4. Right, so why are you advocating scrapping the MUL again? You realise that would mean all the bush around Swanson would be bulldozed and replaced with subdivisions right?

        5. So you are saying you want all of the artificial constraints removed?
          So I can build the 10 storey flats in Milford that weren’t allowed. So that the council refuses to build roads into more greenfield in swanson.

          By advocating sprawl you are advocating the destruction of the enviroment that you want to live in. In theory there is enough capacity in the new unitary plan for a population of well over 5million inside the existing Auckland. You get to live rural, I get fy apartment(low rise) in Albany or Browns Bay or Takapuna. I get my rail service and good buses. You get whichever transport choice you want.
          I can look out of a window in Takapuna or Browns Bay, and especially Albany and see bush covered hills, I can also get to town quickly, and get to the bush quickly.

          You can live rural, don’t force me to live suburban.

        6. “you can live rural, don’t force me to live suburban”

          Buildings more suburbs doesn’t force you to live in them. Building more suburbs doesn’t mean they stop building inner city apartments.

          And no, building more suburbs out over the vast open areas of low-yield farmland does not mean destruction of the native bush in places like Swanson. You can protect such areas as reserves, and indeed the bush I look out onto is a public reserve, and would not be threatened by lifting the MUL.

          The only reason some want the MUL retained, is that they know it forces high density living on people, and higher prices for low density living. $400k for a section in Flat Bush is nuts. No house should cost more than $300k in a country with so little population, and so much space.

        7. But Geoff that’s not what’s in the plan: the plan has both, it is the middle ground. Opponents of the plan like Smith want an extreme sprawl only future, not a balanced ‘up or out’ city with options for either for people to choose. The anti density side are the only ones doing any forcing

          And SB is right, if constraints out are so restrictive then so are restraints up.and if Smith or others are so confident that no one wants to live in denser parts of the city then these apartments they fear wouldn’t get built would they? Freedom cuts both ways, what ever your tastes.

          Also supporting sprawl is no way to preserve wild places. For Ak to grow but still keep wilderness intact, and especially within reach means being more compact, not less.

        8. The MUL is designed to make sure that what sprawl does happen happens in a good way. For example, not in Swanson(park or not) if you want guided development to protect bush areas then you support the MUL even if you want lower density options.

          Also, by artificially supressing the cost of fringe housing by building roads in to it at no expense to developers you are forcing me to live in a suburb.

    2. Pretty much everyone, save a few tribes in Africa, are immigrants in one form or another over the history of the planet.
      I’m only 5th generation NZ’er but do not identify with another country. No, not even England where my forebears came from and a place I have not visited in my 42 years and what more feel no interest in visiting other than as a tourist, but every time I protest that I do not want Auckland to become an Asian city I’m labelled a racist. Why does my opinion have no meaning? The Treaty of Waitangi was signed between (most) Maori and Great Britain. Surely this holds the key to what NZ is? I love the beaches, the tree covered hills and the freedoms we have. New Zealand is not a developing nation in my opinion but a developed nation that is on a quest to financial freedom without an eye to the future for our grand children. Going off the figures in the Auckland plan, by 2041, over 50% of the Auckland population will be of Asian origin. Is that a good thing for Auckland? Time will tell. I would like to see Auckland, and New Zealand, take a much more measured approach to how the population will grow.

      1. @Bryce, that is racist.
        You don’t want too many Asians in your city=racism.
        Not wanting any knew people=not necessarily racist.

        1. I disagree. It’s perfectly normal to favor immigrants from counties with backgrounds similar to yours. Or is Australia racist for giving preferential treatment to NZ citizens (and they’re one of the few countries who are open about it. If someone form England and someone from Iran applied for a green card, who do you think would get it, all other things being equal)?

        2. Australia has entered into a bilateral agreement (CER) that grants NZers special rights and is reciprocal. Just like the EU. Anyway, NZer is not a race.

          What you are suggesting is basically a “White New Zealand” policy, which even Australia abandoned 40 years ago. We would be ostracised by the Asian countries and it would be an economic disaster.

        3. Oh and re Green Cards, if you are talking about the Green Card lottery, definietly Iran as UK citizens are not eligible for it. Iranians may be considered unfavourable for political reasons but not racial or cultural reasons.

        4. Let me re-phrase. During the 90’s I was concerned at the rate of immigration full stop. Now they envisage that in the future the dominant group in Auckland will be Asian, of which a large percentage will be Chinese. With that will come greater political power which could have a much bigger impact on the shape of Auckland as well. What does that mean for me? We don’t know but do I hold some reservations? Yes I do. I’ve been to China and Europe and irrespective of the actual looks of the inhabitants, the type of city that I would love to live in is from Europe, not Asia. I love HK and the vibrancy of the night markets etc but I could not live there. So in essence, if I had to pick a style of city, I would choose a European city not Asian. I hope that makes more sense. I don’t hold another passport or have any residency anywhere else so NZ is it. Immigration I don’t have an issue with, being cast aside in my city I do. I also concur with Nick’s comments below about the city center but I also love the other kiwi things that have been part of our lives for a long time.

        5. That is less racist at least.
          You are assuming that all Asians are the same which is racist, you are also assuming that their original values will remain which from what I see is simply untrue.

        6. Now im being told by a 1st gen immigrant that I cannot question how Auckland should grow without being labelled racist? I’ll go sit in the corner like a good little sheep while you shape the city that I, and my father were born in. Looks like freedom of speaking ones mind, if it goes against what you wish, is the first change.

        7. OK Bryce well I am a 4th generation, white bread, Rugby loving man, so does that give me the “right” to say how Auckland should be developed? Or is that not enough? Do I need 5 or 6 generations? Please let me know so we can all understand that rules.

          If you want a European city then many of the traits of wealthy Asian cities like Singapore and HK are also there. High density, good transit etc.

          By all means speak your mind, but this idea that being here first gives you more rights is pure red neck, hillbilly. But assuming you accept that, you logically of course fully support the right of Tangata Whenua to tell you how Auckland should be developed, considering Maori are able to talk about being 30th generation NZers?

          A ridiculous position that makes someone like yourself, who seems otherwise an intelligent person, appear an ignorant bigot. You are out of touch with the times.

        8. Oh for goodness sakes, of course it gives you a right to have a say. Where did I say immigrants had no right of say in the process? What I take issue with is being labelled as racist for saying I have concerns about how Auckland would be if the majority of it’s citizens were from Asia. That’s all. As for Maori, they should have a bigger say and I support the Maori branch existing within council. Let’s not make it bigger than it is. It’s just a nagging concern. All I want is an equal say but it seems that if my ideas don’t match those of others then it’s just racist. By saying I don’t want to see Auckland develop into an Asian city, as opposed the Polynesian / South Pacific city we have, is wrong somehow and labelled racist? I just want to see the growth tempered rather than diving in head first in an effort to increase the population in a hurry.

        9. Goosoid, maybe this needs to be explained, face to face, the kiwi way – over a beer. I’ll buy.

        10. How is that out of touch with the times? Is wanting to protect your history/values not allowed anymore? Tangata Whenua do have input e.g.

          It is all about balance and shared values – look at the number of non english or maori language radio and tv stations that now operate as well as signage in certain areas being illegible to many as not one of the official languages in this country.

          Singapore and Hong Kong were former British territories by the way….

        11. Singapore and HK were British colonies? Wow, thanks, I was living under a rock for the last 37 years and didnt get that during my histoiry classes at University. How is that relevant? They are Asian cities as much as Macao, Penang, Melacca or Goa (whcih were all European colonies by the way).

          You want to go to tourist areas in Asia and see all the tourist bars and restaurants that only have menus in English/Hebrew/German etc. Or Eastern Europe in the expat bars, especially places like Prague. Immigrants like to have stuff around that makes them feel at home.

          I have lived in 6 countries, three non-English speaking and all my friends were English speaking and I was always watching NZ rugby and other sports. That is what immigrants do, at least for the first generation. You are clinging to some mythical rural utopia that you think existed at some stage in NZ and lamenting its passing. I never saw that really even growing up in the South Island and visiting my cousins farms.

          If you wnat the more tarditional NZ lifestyle, I suggest the West Coast of the South Island. Very traditional, and if you ever fancied your cousin…good news!!

        12. Every time I’ve been overseas, I have deliberately skirted the tourist bars and areas. In HK, years ago, we avoided McD’s etc like the plague (except for the occasional toilet stop for the lady) and just ate at the road side stalls or in one of the big Asian food courts (where we were the only round eyes. Lot’s of funny looks aimed our way but when you pick up chopsticks and make a mess – smiles.)

        13. Apologies, did not realise we had a West Coaster here. Is that from first hand experience?

          Good luck with the rural utopia theory, Auckland has been a pacific city for quite some time. But am sure the “histoiry” classes taught you that too.

        14. Feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss this face to face.

          It is not racist that you want to shape the future Auckland. It is racist that you believe all asians to have the same values, and that you believe that alla asians will also have these values.
          I want to shape Auckland by giving it good PT links and some high density housing in selected areas, you want to shape Auckland by refusing to allow people of one ethnic group entry.

          If I wanted no white people here because they are too boring and like suburban lifestyle that would be racist.

        15. Bryce is not racist, as “Race” was is an obsolete theory regarding separate classifiable subspecies (races) existing within modern humans. This was disproven by the Human Genome Project, and belongs in a similar category as other disproven theories, just as flat earth theory, earth is a the centre universe, and the moon is made of cheese. Given that race does not exist, it is not possible to be racist.

          To quote the Human Genome Project, “DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other.”

          My guess is that Bryce is worried about is Auckland having the culture of a city geographically located on the continent of Asia, and not specifically worried about the inhabitants of Auckland having alleles that cause them to have darker skin or have single eyelids (instead of double eyelids).

        16. Lumping all people from one hugely varied region into one view set is racist.

          Re; theory of race. Race doesn’t have to be genetic to be true.

      2. Yes, I love what Asian migrants have done for our city. I love that I can get a bowl of pho at midnight after working late, and I’m not restricted to american McDonalds junk. I love their impact on the city centre, the place would be dead without them. Asian culture brings so much life and vitality to Auckland, a vast improvement on white bread pakeha suburbanism. I also literally love them, my ex partner being Malaysian. But then again race had nothing to do with that, the colour of her skin was inconsequential to our relationship.

        1. F*cking A Nick. Gof fobid if I ever had to go back to living in the mono cultural culture thet was the NZ of the 80’s that I grew up in. It was a great childhood and I was lucky to be in a family that celebrated diversity. But the NZ we have now is so much more dynamic and interesting.

          Immigrants will give us a massive advantage in languages and intercultural business as well. In my firm we have young Chinese NZ and Korean NZ lawyers who are great NZers as well as giving our firm an insight into their family’s culture. What a great asset for NZ.

        2. So you hated New Zealand, and want other countries to change it? I think it’s sad to say that all countries should be the same mix of people. It’s essentially genocide of culture, saying difference is bad, and the whole world should just blend into a “sameness”.
          I’m proud to have grown up in New Zealand of the 70’s and 80’s. Thankfully it’s loss of unique culture tends to be an Auckland thing. Go to Gisborne for example, and it’s still much the same as the 70’s and 80’s, except tidier 🙂

        3. It would be a lot easier for all concerned if you just went back to Gisborne! 😉

          And personally, yes I am devoting my career to changing Auckland or the better. I hated New Zealand in the 80s and am glad to see those days are well behind us.

          I couldn’t think of anything worse that Auckland as a large erosion if Gisborne in the 70s/80s. Luckily I doubt many pine for that, and if they do they can simply live in Gisborne. Apparently it’s stick in a time warp, so it would suit certain individuals who are likewise stuck.

        4. Did you read the bit where I said it was a great childhood? I was young and I had nothing to compare it to. Looking back now it was pretty monocultural and I would hope that can change so my children can have a more varied cultural background.

          Actually a multicultural society that embraces a variety of ethnicities and cultures is not the norm. Most countries in the world struggle with that, so if NZ achieved it, we would be far from just like everyone else.

          I must congratulate you on expanding “this is my country and if you dont like it you can f*ck off” to “this is our country and…”. Congratulations, you have taken xenophobia to a whole new level.

  20. One of the reasons Auckland is growing is that selling off State owned assets seems to relocate headquarters of the resultant organisations from the national Capital to the centre of national capital, Auckland.
    One way to slow this trend would be a change of government policy on assets with the PURCHASE of public shares by the government – probably a financially sensible thing to do with a high dollar and an economy on the verge of recession again. The likely result would be relocation of headquarters to Wellington.

    1. Ummm two of the power companies have been based in Auckland for a long time already (Genesis and MRP), Meridian is in Christchurch as is Solid Energy, but the sale of that is unlikely to go ahead now anyway.

    2. Yes – was an article about a similar thing a while ago.
      The head offices of banks in Auckland now are really just large branch offices of Australian banks, which is quite short sighted from a New Zealand point of view given the number of high paying jobs they used to create in Wellington, when say the BNZ was local. Guess it says a bit about New Zealanders lack of savings (housing?) and therefore lack of companies which create decent jobs – hence the movements to Australia – vicious cycle some would say!

    3. Another factor in head office drift to Auckland I’ve heard, is Wellington Airport’s incapability to handle planes bigger than a 767, because the runway’s too short for anything bigger that can operate on a viable load. And as far as I’m aware, there’s no room anywhere else in the region to relocate it, or if there is, it’s too far from the Wellington CBD.

  21. “Opponents of the plan like Smith want an extreme sprawl only future, not a balanced ‘up or out’ city with options for either for people to choose.”

    Perhaps I’ve missed it Patrick, but when has Nick Smith said he will prevent high density construction?

    1. Look through parliament time videos involving him. He never explicitly seems to say it, but if you say that 13,000 homes are needed each year, and that 13000 sections a year should be available one shouldn’t struggle to realise that he thinks all development should be greenfield.

      1. But why does it matter if he does think that? It’s irrelevant unless he’s going to force a law preventing high density development within Auckland, and I haven’t seen any indication the government plans such a thing. Building houses on the edge of suburbia is no threat to anyone who wants to live in an apartment building.

        1. I’ve been over this several times now regarding the cost so I’m gonna leave that. By blocking the UP’s progress which he is trying his darndest to do he is advocating suburbs only.

        2. If there’s demand for an apartment block in Mt Eden, a developer would build an apartment block in Mt Eden, whether the MUL is in existence 30km away or not. The perceived threat here is that without the MUL, the demand for that apartment block in Mt Eden would dry up, and it won’t be built. If that’s the case, then so be it. It’s called living in a free society.

          This is of course something of a moot discussion, as the UP does actually provide for very extensive spreading of suburbia. I’m not actually clear on what the government is objecting to.

        3. Christ Geoff can you actually not read?
          By supressing the cost of greenfield housing you rig the market against density.
          It is that simple, either try and argue against that idea or shut up already.

  22. “It would be a lot easier for all concerned if you just went back to Gisborne!”

    My presense in Auckland makes things difficult for you? You must live a fragile life Nick!

    But I like where I live thank you. And thank you for confirming you hate New Zealand, and want it to change into a mini Europe. Perhaps you would find life easier if you just moved to Europe? Have you considered that?

    1. I don’t hate New Zeland, I love it, Auckland in particular. I wouldn’t put so much effort into improving it if I didn’t love the place.

      Actually I probably will have to unfortunately, at least for a time until the improvements start to bed in. Andd I’ll be taking my work, education, foreign capital earnings and investment with me. I do hope I can come back though My German partner is becoming increasingly frustrated with the backward nature of Auckland, as am I, so we are thinking of leaving again.

      You’ll get your wish by default, all the talent and money will continue to drain out of New Zealand and you’ll be left with your dream of a semi rural 1980s Gisborne evermore. Bit selfish to force that on everyone else though, either live your desired lifestyle or leave the country, tough choice. One would think one small boring economically dead Gisborne was enough for one man, without trying to have Auckland the same way. But no, he has to try and make his adopted city as much like the small town he chose to leave behind.

      1. Work, education and foreign capital are artificial constructs of the human mind. They are not real things, and as far as I’m concerned could vanish entirely and it wouldn’t bother me the least. They are no real loss. The beaches, the forests, the mountains, the lakes, the wildlife, and the climate are the real assets of New Zealand, of true value, and I will always live within them, and not within an artificial construct of the mind, manifested externally by a concrete jungle isolated from the true world. Have fun overseas, and don’t forget to turn the light off on the way out.

        1. Have you considered a hermitage Geoff, perhaps a sheltered cave in the remote bush where you can commune with the true world an achieve nirvana of the moreporks? It sounds like you are preparing to depart from society entirely.

          And please for the last time, you may not like the ‘concrete jungle’, but many others do. No one is forcing you to be part of it, so stop demanding everyone else be apart from it. If you don’t want to live in a city then don’t, but stop telling everyone else they can either!

        2. How is enjoyment of the natural beauty of New Zealand in any way scaremongering? Most New Zealanders enjoy living in an environment that keeps them attached to the natural environment. Just look at how sought after bush properties around Titirangi are. New Zealanders love it.

        3. Claiming that by living in the city we are destroying that ideal is scaremongering.

        4. I don’t think you understand the meaning of the word scaremongering. If you do, then it’s odd my comments instill fear into you, and my view is representative of the vast majority of New Zealanders.

        5. Nick, why do you believe I advocate that people be forced to not live in high density? You keep repeating your belief that I’m of that stance, even though I’m not. Just to be clear – building more low density on the outskirts is no threat to those who want to live in apartments. There is nothing in the world to stop anyone from choosing to live that way. The reason you feel threatened is because you know that given widespread access to cheaper land on the outskirts, fewer people will choose to live your way. In other words, it’s you who want to force something on others. Not me. You want to limit the choice of subruban living, and force more into high density. I am for unfetterred, unconstrained, choice. Just as every other town and city in New Zealand is developed. If that makes me and 99% of New Zealanders “hermits” in your view, then that just shows how out of touch with the real NZ you have become.

        6. The trouble is that by forcing the council to free up land on the urban periphery you artificially supress the cost of property there. If developers were forced to put all roads, all sewers all electricity, all public transport, all schools, all parks etc in then that would be unrestrained choice, the way it works at the moment the council is forced to subsidise development on the preiphery leading into a ‘cost spiral’.

        7. Actually I’m perfectly happy for more land to be released on the edges, as the unitary plan does, and you’ve got
          quite wrong on my motivations.

          I don’t think releasing fringe land will har any impact on the price of housing in the areas most people want to live. I couldn’t five two shits to be frank as I don’t see it changing anything. This is self evident as there are already many of sections available and thousands more consented plots in the hands of developers. However these aren’t making it to market because there is no market demand. Most people don’t want to live on the fringe, this is why inner and middle suburbs are so expensive and fringe suburbs are half the cost or less.

          The only thing I’m threatened by is people like yourself that want to maintain the massive set of laws that specify that only low density monozonal suburban can be built in almost all of Auckland. That is theft of propert rights just so you can force everyone else to maintain the lifestyle you like. Remove those laws and we can remove the the MUL at the same time.

          Suburban living isn’t currently constrained by a lack I supply, there are many more plots available than people want to buy. What is constrained is the ability to build more housing in the areas people want to live. The unitary plan partially addresses this by removing some of the planning constraints in some areas.

          I’m sorry but you are totally deluded if you think anywhere in new Zealand has unfettered, unconstrained choice. Everywhere there are intensely proscriptive controls on what people can do with their land. The least regulated and closest to unconstrained is actually the Auckland CBD. But again if you want to remove all the planning constraints then I’m happy to see that. No more height limits, no more minimum parking requirements, no more laws specifying one house per plot, no more minimum plot sizes, no more street setbacks, no more boundary setbacks, no more zoning and yes no more MUL. That would be pure unfettered market response to demand.
          You have to realise that low density suburban development exists in 90% of the land in Auckland because that is the only thing it is legally possible to build.

          Again by all means lets remove the regulations, but I’m sure you won’t like what you see. You’re barking mad if you think that the pure unfettered market response would be all about suburban development on the fringe.

        8. “Most people don’t want to live on the fringe, this is why inner and middle suburbs are so expensive and fringe suburbs are half the cost or less”

          Actually, I believe that if we had built these fringe suburbs with top quality PT links to the city, along with mixed retail / residential (much like in Europe), these areas would be much more in demand. Unfortunately, we haven’t done any of that so we are left to, expensively, retrofit such infrastructure. Can’t afford to? I say we cannot afford not to.

        9. Yes Bryce, but to justify that level of PT it couldn’t be the white bread suburban paradise that geoff wants, there may even be… apartments heaven forbid.

        10. Agreed. If done properly it could be a great mix of single lot (300 sq/m) houses and 2 – 3 storey apartments. That would help Auckland’s property availability and pricing not to mention creating nicer suburbs.

  23. I want to know who decides which areas are to have high density housing and why? From the plan it looks like Belmont in North Shore City is to be ruined with 4 storey high density, while all of Devonport is saved due to so called “heritage” status. Bayswater too is designated “heritage” – Strange considering Devonport and Bayswater are the places that have easy access to ferries to the city? And there are many modern houses in both areas! Council being in league with developers was what caused the leaky homes disaster which we as ratepayers are still paying for. So excuse me for saying that I don’t trust the Council one little bit! They are so keen for more rates that they will, I am sure, ride roughshod over property owners in Belmont and other regions in their desire for developers building monstrous apartment blocks, which will block out sun, privacy and value from the “designated” high density areas. Herne Bay etc is also “saved” – why? – It seems that all the inner harbour areas are to be saved even though they are closer to the CBD! Council seem to assume that all people living in these apartment blocks won’t ever use cars – but most apartment buildings have underground carparks for the apartments! Lake Road is groaning under the strain of cars now! How on earth can it handle all these extra people, even if some use buses? And where pray tell, is all the spare land for all the extra schools that will be needed?? I hate to think of how our local beaches will fare too!! As someone who has been paying rates here for decades, I have to say that Len Brown keeps droning on about “people under 40 who have all travelled and know what an international city looks like”!! Funny though, so many come back and buy a house and land here – I don’t know ONE person who has ever said they WANT to buy an apartment. Council claims there will be so many more childless couples in the future. Well, all the childless couples I know have PETS – So they won’t want to live in apartments, they all want a garden for their pets!! I’ve heard a lady from a kindergarten say that she has observed that the children going there who live in apartments seem to be developmentally delayed when it comes to outside activities. Going to a park to play once or twice a week can’t compare with having a backyard with a swing-set and trampoline etc. Most people who like apartments when young, seem to get out and buy a house pretty quickly once they have children. Old people who like to be at home much of the time would go crazy in an apartment. A two bedroom unit at least has a garden to potter in. But then, according to Len, only people under 40 count – Funny though, if these same people under 40 have been living overseas, then they are hardly likely to have paid much in rates here!! It’s about time that the ratepayers who have been paying Len’s salary get a say. Young people may like inner-city apartments so they can be near nightclubs, cafes, restaurants etc. So fine, they can live in them. Most of us however, don’t want to live like that. Great to have apartments blocks built on vacant land in the City or, like Kensington up in Orewa. That way they can be planned properly and have enough land round them for communal gardens etc. Len and his gang always raved about “community” – well, they sure seem intent on ruining ours. We like seeing our neighbours over the fence for a chat etc – Can’t do that with a 4 storey (or 18 storey in Takapuna) apartment block!

    1. I want to buy an apartment. In fact I did, in a four story tall block no less. Kinda had my eye on one of the new Milford ones, but had to focus on the CBD instead. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to get one near the beach on the the where I grew up, certainly couldn’t afford a house there, even if I did want excess space and yard maintenance to worry about. A low rise apartment would be perfect.

      1. Oh and I’m on great terms with my neighbors, speak to them in the lobby or the lift almost every day, or bump into them on the street or up at the shops on the corner. Last month I had one of them leave me the keys to his place for his brother to pick up, another is minding my mail while I am away.

        Quite frankly I’m on much better terms with the people in my building than when I lived in houses, probably because I see them so much more often. In my old house all I saw of my neighbors was a car pulling in and out of the garage.

        1. Spot on Geoff, it doesn’t matter if people want to live in apartments.

          Also to the original poster. I am 20 which is under 40, I have travelled quite a bit overseas since I immigrated here. I want to live in an apartment, probably low-mid rise in Milford, Takapuna, BrownsBay or Albany.
          If people don’tt want it it won’t get built. Just like suburbs are being built on the fringe VERRRRRRY SLOWLY because no one wants them.

  24. “Most people don’t want to live on the fringe”

    Auckland has expanded out from the edges massively over the past decade. Botany, Albany and places like Western Heights were just farms in the 1990’s. Hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to new housing on the fringes.

    “this is why inner and middle suburbs are so expensive and fringe suburbs are half the cost or less”

    That’s because more and more jobs are being crammed into one small area, locking people into development dependency. Yes, there’s demand for inner city living, but that is induced demand, in the same way there is demand for motorways. If you look at towns and cities where jobs are not being crammed into one small area, you don’t see any demand for inner city living. People are free to live as they prefer – in houses, on land, with quiet streets and the ability to see the stars at night.

    1. Geoff you have a mistaken idea about how cities change; who is doing this cramming? There is no cramming or any other sort of change outside of people making rational (and emotional) decisions about where to live or put their business. Given that we have now had some sixty years of subsidy for dispersal, through the construction of the State Highway network and the subsidies for infrastructure to new subdivisions, it is actually rather odd that we have any kind of centre at all, let alone a consistently booming one.

      As Nick says, by all means level the playing field, lets see what happens.

      And while I completely understand your pleasure in the wilderness, what I don’t get is this idea that if other people choose something else, living in an apartment for example, that is going to somehow ruin your bucolic idyll.

      Especially as we now full well know that nothing destroys more nature more thoroughly than endless suburbia.

      1. “And while I completely understand your pleasure in the wilderness, what I don’t get is this idea that if other people choose something else, living in an apartment for example, that is going to somehow ruin your bucolic idyll”.

        It isn’t. But forcing people to live in high density areas by inducing the demand will mean fewer people who want that bucolic idyll will be able to have it. The high demand for inner city living is the same as the high demand for motorway use. It’s extremely popular, but only out of necessity. Take away the iduced factor, and most people who seek inner city living out of necessity, will instead live in the environment they really want – in a house, on a section of land.

        My point is proven by every other town and city in New Zealand. They haven’t induced demand to be in the city centre, so people have to been free to live in houses on sections. Sure, there’s usually a small inner city crowd, but they are a small minority, which is the natural demand level for such living.

        New Zealand is a land of open space and low population, and most people come here for those reasons. Therefore we should be aiming for Auckland to reflect the desire of most people, to live in a developed urban setting, but within a healthy dose of greenery and peacefullness. JUst look at aerial photos of Auckland – it’s actually a very green city, even the inner suburbs. But start subdividing, and you need to cut down the trees and pave over the green areas. It’s just not the way to go. People have enough choice of concrete jungles to choose from around the world. Let’s not convert Auckland into one.

        1. No Geoff we should be aiming for Auckland to reflect the desires of all people not forcing anyone to fit with one idea of ‘most people’ as elected by you or anyone else. You are still failing to see the contradiction at the heart of your vision; everyone can’t live in the wild, but have modern infrastructure, it just isn’t possible. Or at least it is more possible for some if the rest live a more urban existence. You are fighting for the demise of the very thing you claim to want to keep. Because suburbia, in the pursuit of country living, kills the thing it loves.

          Also this ‘forcing’ nonsense. No one is forcing you to live in a city apartment, there is just a gentle attempt to prevent Auckland swamping the thing you claim to love and want to keep.

          Furthermore you cannot point to our emptying small towns as any evidence of what people want; they’re all flocking to Auckland.

        2. – Suburbia isn’t “the wild” as you put it.
          – Most towns and cities in NZ have growing populations, not declining.
          – Every New Zealander I know who has come to Auckland has sought to buy a house on a section. It’s what most people want.
          – You totally ignore the fact that the demand for inner city living you keep referring to is induced. Put all the jobs in the inner city, with poor transport links, and many people have to reluctantly seek a small box to live in close to that work. It’s a stupid method of development, that locks people into development dependency. In overpopulated countries one can understand how such a situation would come about, but in a sparesely populated country with wide open spaces, there is no good reason to put people into shoeboxes stacked on one another, and priced at a level that would get you ten times more space in most other parts of that sparsely populated country.
          – Suburbia does not kill the lifestyle I and most New Zealanders enjoy, as what we enjoy is suburbia – houses on sections, with lawns and trees. What kills that ideal is high density, where the lawns and trees are replaced by more buildings.

        3. You clearly associate with a very small subset of Aucklanders or NZers, all the ones I know would or do happily live in an apartment because it allows them to live in an interesting urban environment where everything is walking distance and not be shackled to a car. Once again you fall into your own criticism, you claim that people are being forced to live in apartments and would prefer to see them banned yet are happy to force everyone to live in suburbia. If that is the development model for Auckland than it doesn’t have much future as I and very other young professional I know will simply up and move overseas; and we wouldn’t be moving to somewhere like Atlanta which shares your anti-urban suburban sprawl + freeways model of growth.

        4. Geoff of course suburbia isn’t the wild that’s my point; more of destroys the wild.

          Anyway, you do know, surely, that policy cannot be formed on the basis of your research: Wot my mates like.

        5. @bbc – if your assessment were correct, towns and cities throughout NZ would consist of apartments, but they don’t, so I don’t believe it’s correct. Practically everyone I know prefers a house on a section, both in and out of Auckland.

          We are not moving to something like Atlanta. No change is required, and indeed in every other towan and city in New Zealand this issue doesn’t even exist. Houses on sections is the accepted norm and preference. We are maintaining how we already are, which is how most New Zealanders prefer to live. I have not said apartments should be banned. I have said make sure the demand for houses on sections is fully met, and don’t restrict it so that people are forced to live in apartments.

          People ARE being forced to live in apartments under the UP (and to a growing degree right now) because the UP calls for more and more employment in one spot (the CBD). This means demand for apartments is induced.

          Claiming that people want to live in the inner city is like claiming people want to sit in traffic on the motorway. It’s a result of induced demand, and not because they want to be there. I guarantee if you took away all the skyscrapers and spread the employment around, the induced demand would vanish overnight, and people would live throughout suburbia instead, where they get much more value for their money.

          @Patrick – We are talking about building more suburbia in low yield farmland. Not in bush land or forest.

        6. Geoff just because you repeat a lie again and again it doesn’t stop it being untrue. Two made up stories:

          1. People will be forced to live in apartments
          2. Businesses are forced to be in the city

          You may have difficulty imagining people making different decisions to yours but that doesn’t mean it is credible to just create fanciful stories to explain them. People choose to live in apartments of their own volition because they have their own values, and business owners and managers make calculations that balance costs and benefits and some choose to base themselves in the city. No forcing.

        7. Patrick, do you really think if the jobs were not all crammed into one area, that people would still be choosing to live there? Most would not. When you put hundreds of thousands of jobs into the space of my brother in law’s property, you induce demand for many of those people to need to live there. That means stuffing people into small boxes priced greater than a property tens times larger outside the area of that induced demand. That’s forcing in my books. Sure, some people would choose that lifestyle even if their job or study wasn’t there, but most would not. Remember – my point is proven by the fact that in every town and city in New Zealand has not induced that demand, and so the people have chosen not to live in the inner city area. The natural demand for living in the Auckland CBD would be a few hundred people, just as the demand for living in the Napier CBD is a few dozen.

        8. Geoff again your argument is silly. Does Napier have 1.5 million people? No. So is your comparason meaningful? No.

          All this ‘cramming’ and ‘forcing’; who is doing it? Again the concentration of activity (business!) that occurs in cities everywhere in the world is not the result of some international conspiracy of Urbanists but is out of the self interest of individuals and business doing what works for them.

          Your made up conspiracies, by who? some shaddowy group of city lovers across all cultures, is just not credible. It’s nonsense.

          We’re all the same, city lovers and suburbanites, just trying to get on in life and choosing what’s best for our tastes. The existence and growth of the city is no threat to the vast acres of existing suburbia, it’ll still be there. Still be the dominant way of living in Ak for the foreseeable future. Just not the only way.

        9. There’s no conspiracy Patrick. It’s a case of council planning the city according to the needs of big business, rather than the people as top priority. More and more people having to spend more and more for less space in one inner city area is the unfortunate result. The UP should be designed around people first.

          Wellington is a good example, where they still have a lot of business in town, but at 5pm everyone hops onto the trains and heads for the suburbs. Auckland has poor transport links, so more people choose to live closer to the centralised business instead, not willing to face the daily commute. I would rather see proper express trains heading out to the suburbs like in Wellington, so that people can live as they prefer, in houses, instead of being stuffed into expensive boxes in a concrete jungle.

        10. Geoff, wellington is 1/4 the size of Auckland, and there are lots of apartments in Wellington.

          Also businesses moving into the city, and people wanting to follow is called freedom of choice, it is what democracies are founded upon.
          No one is cramming these people into the city, cramming implies that they are forced when in reality attempts are made to dissuade them from doing so.
          Regarding housing, the min. section sizes, setbacks and side yards force people onto larger than necessary sections. By creating this glut in housing supply and restricting apartment supply you induce higher prices in the apartment market.
          Apartments are expensive because supply is smaller than demand, not because they are expensive to build.

        11. And again, I and lots of my friends would rather have the convenience of higher density living (having shops and libraries and gyms and pools and parks and bars closer) than a house on a section, even if they cost the same (which they don’t, apartments are way cheaper in a fair market, and are already cheaper now).

        12. Glad you agree there is no conspiracy, so all this ‘forcing’and ‘cramming’ talk can stop. Also agree that Ak has poor transit services, but at least AC and AT are trying to improve those. Wellington is still is an odd model as it is way more centralised than Ak because of gov. in CBD, and in fact has even greater geographical containment, but also it is still less than 1/3 the size. In other words Auckland is an anomaly in NZ context, it is the only city of scale. So it really is different to all other metro centres, including ChCh and WGTN.

          And cities are not simply big provincial towns, but another type of social order again. This is, I believe, the core of the dispute between AC and the gov. AC understands this; the gov. don’t.

        13. “businesses moving into the city, and people wanting to follow”

          Stop right there, as that’s where you are going wrong. Replace the word “want” with the word “need” and then you’ll be correct. Very few want, and most need to, because the jobs are all being concentrated into the area. It’s called development dependency. One way to counter it, beyond decentralising the employment, is to ensure there are high quality rapdi transit links between the suburbs and the concentrated employment area, which in Auckland’s case, is lacking.

        14. “And cities are not simply big provincial towns, but another type of social order again”

          Presume you mean the new urbanist, i.e., those who believe everything should be centralised, so they can sleep, work and play in one spot, and, undoutedly, go without a car. They are very heavily dependent on the world being developed around them. Most towns and cities have these people, but they are a small minority, and if you strip away all those people seeking inner city living in Auckland out of necessity (employment and poor transport links), you’ll find Auckland is not different from anywhere else in New Zealand. The whole attraction to living in New Zealand is to escape big city living, so I don’t buy the idea that people who want such a lifestyle are coming here for it.

          The UP should be clearly defining what people (not business) want, and then catering for them, with business developing around the people, not the other way around.

        15. You presume wrong. Cities have existed long before New Urbanism, and they are not the same as big towns. This is a simple observation, but an important one. And as I say above at the core of the gov’s, and I suspect your, misunderstanding about Auckland. Of course they are dependent on their hinterland, every city is, and visa versa; the country needs that big market too. But no one can expect to drive from the farm and park outside the main store in a city, while they can in a provincial town of any size. There are advantages that the city offers that compensate for this inconvenience. This is the trade off that city dwellers are willing to accept. Economists describe it as agglomeration, which explains the commercial advantage that businesses are keen to enjoy, but individuals see this as excitement and opportunity.

          Auckland is relatively new to this scale but it is nonetheless there. This doesn’t mean there aren’t suburban and even rural places here, there are in New York too after all, but city Auckland now is, and on a scale that is unique in this country. This is undeniable; it is three times the size of its nearest rival. There is a term for this; it is a Primary City, but unusually not the administrative centre, and that too is a cause of its disagreement with the bullies in Wellington.

          But also you have an inaccurate idea about the UP, have you studied it? It caters for every kind of living and working typology, urban to rural, your objections look like they are based on rumour and exaggeration. It is a very broad and compromising document.

          Live and let live. Or if small town is really your thing, why don’t you move to one?

        16. You are referring to the inner city people who choose to be there (fair enough), whereas I am talking of those who are having little choice to be there because of work location and poor transport links from the outside. It’s important not to confuse the two.

          Under “Live and let live” such living will not be induced. Neither should it change the lives of those already living in suburbia – i.e., those who enjoy looking out over the neighbourhood’s trees and lawns should not have to witness those trees and lawns being replaced by multi story apartment buildings.

        17. I’m going to try one more time. Read the plan. There you see vast swaths of existing and new suburbia unaltered and small concentrations of higher buildings at very clearly defined nodes. And mostly these can’t even get very high, if this is what terrifies you.

          For the last time your fears of the end of your suburban delight are totally unfounded and clearly based on someone’s inaccurate or mischievous reading of the UP.

        18. Geoff I think you a missing a few key points. First of all the percentage of jobs in Auckland’s central city is much less than it used to be an thanks to a focus spreading the jobs out into the region, exactly just as you are advocating. Yet despite this central city properties have continued to go up in price thanks to more and more people wanting to live in the area. Further people tend to move jobs more frequently than they move house, in a situation where jobs are spread out all across the region, living centrally may actually be more desirable as if you change jobs, you are less likely to find yourself having to commute all the way across town.

    2. Actually Geoff, lots of Albany is quite high density… There are lots of flats up here, and it is popular to live there because it is close to the industrial park at Rosedale. It isn’t actually particularly suburban. If you look at the Albany centre I can’t see anything less than 10 years old which is lower than 3 storeys. So Albany isn’t a fringe suburb, it is a fringe centre. And development is going to nuts there with the UP and the new bus network in 2016.
      I just hope someone has the sense to put a tram from the bus station to the university through civic lakes when Westfield renews the mall.

      1. One issue I have with Albany is that the shopping area has been developed as just that – for shopping. No mixed residential. The other issue is that pedestrians around the area get a pretty raw deal. The roads are all built as arterials.

        1. The idea of the roads is that eventually all intersections will be signalised to ease pedestrian movement. There are MASSIVE footpaths in place already which are awesome. The reason it wasn’t done as micxed use is because when the mall started to be built the area was just about empty, and when the mega centre was built it was completely empty. Those areas were built as the first buildings to break ground on a future town centre and only have a lifespan of 20-30 yeaars which means they will both be redeveloped aroung 2030. Then they can go to mixed use. Also if you look at the plans for consented building s then there is a fair bit of mixed use as well as a lot of apartments.

          Although I disagree with the road structure and admit that the buildings are far from ideal I think that it would have been unrealistic to expect the buildings to be any better given where they were being built.

        2. Except the plans aren’t turning out as planned. We started with big box, added a mall, now there is more big box (e.g. Mitre 10) going in where there was supposed to be mixed use and residential.

        3. Big Box isn’t necessarily low density. That mitre ten also has 10 shops on top of it. That would probably count as mid density retail not low.

        4. Nick, some places, like Napier and Hastings, prohibit multi-big box developments, in order to protect locally owned businesses. They can have a Mitre10 Mega, and a Warehouse, a Rebel Sport, a Farmers, etc, but not all lumped together in one place. And in the case of those two cities, there is a complete ban on development of any kind midway between the cities, so as to ensure the two cities remain separated permanently.

        5. Those cities do that because they have so few people that several of those together would constitute the largest shopping area in town. For those towns I think that it is a good idea. I also like their MUL idea, they should stay seperate but with good links between.

        6. There might be good footpaths but every time I’ve been along there as a pedestrian it feels very pedestrian unfriendly. Lights will just add to the feeling. The only exception is out the North side of the mall where the cafe’s are (across from the stormwater ponds). The road along there feels quite civilised.

        7. Bryce, of course it feels unfriendly, it is completely empty at the moment.
          You can’t have pedestrian friendly at every stage of development and Albany is trying to get it at the end of development, not at the beginning.

          I don’t see how a mixed use area in that triangle with relatively narrow streets, huge footpaths and fully signallised intersections could possibly be worse than any other town centre we have?

          I agree that the North Side of the mall is very nice and that is how I believe that the rest of the ‘minor streets’ will end up,

    3. Geoff, I think Auckland uni is quite interesting: they tried spreading themselves around, and have now found that it’s better to have everything central. Tamaki campus is great if you live in GI or St Johns and the course you want to study is offered at Tamaki. But what percentage of the student population is that?
      Also, living near the inner city isn’t just good for jobs- there’s all sorts of other services (Hospital, Uni, entertainment, specialist shops, the ferries, Vector arena) that are there, and there is no way those services can be replicated in a whole lot of urban centres.

        1. Technically it isn’t one identity.
          Each of the campuses has an entire faculty or faculties there. So it would be sort of like having your sales division in GT and your Production in Rosebank.
          I would also suggest that you look at ofices that are moving into office parks with huge numbers of other offices, it is easier to centralise, whether it be central Auckland, or Newmarket, or Albany, or Takapuna.You want your office to be near other offices so that they can have good links.

        2. Really? Issue was students do conjoint degrees and also the need for collaboration /expansion. Science for example is spread over both etc. So technically it is one entity….identity?

        3. There are faculties that exist across both campuses and the outcome is that researchers based in Tamaki have a pretty raw deal, they have no easy way to access better equipment that is based at the main campus or meet other faculty to talk about things over a quick lunch. In effect they are stranded at what feels like a pretty crappy rural outreach station. It’s not an attractive place to work and almost certainly puts off a lot of staff actually moving to jobs at Auckland Uni. A university works best when clumped together, it’s the flow of ideas between people that makes places like Boston so successful, as the flow of information and ideas is so easy. People want to be able to go to a lunchtime talk by other faculty, not sit on a park bench overlooking an industrial area. The sooner Tamaki is shut and the uni consolidated from across office towers on Symonds Street into what will be a string of 3 main campuses the better.

        4. Don’t know about AU, but Massey have put in place technology to link their different sites (including in different cities) so that one lecturer can teach classes in different locations. Students are now sitting down in class in both Albany and Palmerston North to be taught by one person at the same time. I can see the day coming when students will be able to stay at home, and centralised campuses will reduce in size and scope.

        5. Bbc, I agree that it is better that they be consolidated.

          Also Geoff the UoA currently records and uploads the majority of their lectures to enrolled students yet we still come in each day.
          You cannot seriously claim that decentralisation will work if you look at the last 50 years.
          Several clusters of centralisation maybe.

  25. Scaremongering is where you try to promote fear from other using false or exagerrated claims.

    It isn’t working here, but it is what you are trying to do.

    1. Well that may be your interpretation, but it isn’t my intent. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s a hot topic, with a lot of people (and the government) supporting my view. Having an opposing view is not scaremongering.

        1. Yep, all right I’ll give it to you that you haven’t lied as lying suggest malintent. You have used false statements to justify your incorrect beliefs.

        2. I am talking about your belief that the MUL limits suburban growth being false, but your views on inner city living are based on an incorrect view of the word need.

          Also, I have no idea how you got the impression that a denser Auckland will force those who want to live out in the bush to live in the city.

        3. I’ve not said anything about anyone in the bush. We are talking about Auckland, not the bush, and I have certainly not said anyone living in the bush will be forced into the city.

        4. You have said about yourself living out in the city, and have repeatedly stated that the majority of /NZers want that, and that this plan supposedly forces them to choose something else, its nonsense, open your eyes.

        5. “It’s important to keep in mind that replicating another part of the world is not development. It’s just mindless copying.

          Most New Zealanders would not want to isolate themselves from the wonderful environment we have here, so simply copying say, Europe, and cramming everyone into dense cities, isn’t the right way to go. I live in Auckland, and look out my window onto a bush covered hillside, and listen to the Moreprks at night. I do not want to live surrounded by hundreds of other people, with no bush or Moreporks.”

          Bullshit you have never talked about it. Also, inner city/ Suburbia is a false dichotomy even within city limits.

  26. “Yet despite this central city properties have continued to go up in price thanks to more and more people wanting to live in the area.”

    Wanting? And tens of thousands of people are wanting to be on the motorways every morning too?

    Some may be wanting Nick, but for most, it’s a case of needing, because of intensificiation of employment combined with poor transport links. The UP should not aim to continue pushing such an approach, as you have to keep trying to build your way out of it. Eventually, you end up with hundred floor apartment buildings on every corner, essentially hives for all the worker bees. It’s not how most New Zealanders want to live.

    Induced motorway use and induced inner city living are exactly the same. Born of necessity, and not because it’s the ideal way to do things.

    1. So you are saying that people don’t need to live in the city if they want to travel in on the motorway and that they don’t need to travel on the motorway if they choose to live in the city.

      Intensification of business is a natural effect which is occurring despite efforts against it.

      I agree that we need good PT links from ring suburbs, but unless you fancy seeing rates doubling in real terms it won’t happen without some local intensification to increase recovery of costs.

    2. Geoff you really are making stuff up: I live in the city precisely because I don’t ever want to HAVE to drive on a motorway. I can get everywhere I need to on foot, on bike, or on Transit. This is freedom to me. It is you who is claiming that everyone wants to be at the end of a motorway in limitless suburbia. The city exists and thrives in spite of the huge and destructive investment in motorways; it is suburbia that is dependant on them. You have it completely backwards. This is how it is:

      More Suburbia = More Motorways
      Intensification = Transit, Walkability, Cycling

        1. Geoff, what do you see as a better solution then.
          Do you want decentralised accom, or employment or both, do you want any high density, if so where, and hpw do you want people to get from a to b?

        2. Geoff look at the word: Suburbia needs an urbs to be sub to.

          And you’re still just generalising from your own taste. And the object of your taste, the ‘burbs, aren’t going anywhere, there’ll still be acres of them to choose from come 2041 in Auckland under the UP.

  27. I think we underestimate the revitalisation of our provincial districts. Opotiki is demographically the most impoverished district in New Zealand but they have a new marine farm opportunity creating 900 jobs and are seeking central govt funding for an improved port facility to service the new development.

    In nearby Whakatane, incomes have risen significantly over the last 10 years- more than 3 times as many in the higher income brackets (according to stats nz), and they’ve had a massive shopping centre open up on the outside of town, a new campus for the maori university, and apartment buildings popping up in the town centre to cater to wealthy retirees seeking out the coastal sunshine. Compared to Auckland, it’s cheaper to buy property, there is less job competition, and a much better lifestyle on offer.

    1. Indeed, there has been a recent upturn in the Eastern BOP. The cycle path tourism is also starting to take off for example, showing a little can go a long way outside Auckland. As Auckland residents realise the huge property price difference and rather than go to Tauranga, which is now expensive, it is logical to go where the lifestyle is decent but affordable. Think part of the way to solve the Auckland issue would be changing the immigration focus to older (pre retirement age) folk who have savings and health insurance, and do not need to work in Auckland. A passenger rail service to Opotiki from Auckland, stopping at Hamilton, Tauranga and Whakatane would be one way of changing growth patterns as well. If only there were better links to Gisborne as this would be an obvious “sun seeker” location to take some of Aucklands immigrants.

    2. Indeed and there’s nothing stopping anyone who wants from moving to these places. There is no ‘forcing’ nor ‘coercion’ making people choose Auckland, or Tauranga, or Hamilton, or Whakatane, or Opotiki. The UP isn’t a marketing plan it’s a market response plan; it’s not designed to entice people here simply to cater for those that seem to be coming.

      In terms of inter city passenger rail, I think the best hopes for a revival in that hinges on the coming boom in Auckland passenger rail, post electrification and especially the CRL. The obvious next call will be from the Waikato, and so on. Unfortunately this makes it a while away but the forces of opposition are just too great at the moment.

      1. Yep, assuming we get appropriate invest ment in Aucklands rail I see a double tracked fully electrified fast service to Hamilto in my life time. Should be there already, but we have a motorway instead.

  28. I fully agree. I think the main difference between these places and Auckland is, or most certainly will be, the difference in natural birth rate and immigration. Internal migration i would expect to be insignificant or even ex-Auckland in the next ten years.

    Isn’t the gap in electrification only going to be about 80kms between Pukekohe and Te Rapa? It most certainly will make sense to have at least a Tga-Ham-Akl link, but probably only if it is properly integrated with the NIMT to/from Wellington service, feeder coaches to the Eastern bay and to Rotorua (from Matamata). Especially if we have a change of government (dare I say it!), and it could receive a subsidy like in almost every other country. We could call it the Northern Explorer! 😀

    1. Labour made it very clear that the Overlander in 2006 had to be commercially viable, and they would not subsidize it. I don’t think a change in government will see any change to KiwiRail passenger policy, as they are a freight company. The only way to get more passenger trains on the network is to make the network open access, so other companies can come in.

      The New Zealand railway network today is like our telecomunications network of 20 years ago. It needs to be unbundled.

  29. Dave, NZ’s future is not as a retirement village. Young people want to live where there are services, jobs and peers. That means big cities, not sleepy hamlets.

    1. “NZ’s future is not a retirement village.”

      It was in Professor Kenneth Cumberland’s mind’s eye – he who was the driving force behind behind making Auckland “roads-only” in the 50s and who saw Twizel as a model NZ “society of the future.”

      There are others like him, it seems, in the current government.

    2. Of course, and Auckland will always be attractive for younger folk, but many middle aged or older people do not want to live in Auckland by choice but “have to” due to a lack of alternatives. As immigration is a large part of the growth in Auckland and as Auckland’s leadership has proven to be relatively incompetent in dealing with the rate of growth, maybe the immigration policy should have a change in focus, which could create a “beach head” for growth in other places. If you look at a centre like Tauranga for example it was until relatively recently a small town – popular with mostly elderly, then it reached a threshold from migration, creating facilities to make it popular with younger families for example. This population growth in turn allows for the new university campus etc, which again will attract a new demographic. So, a similar approach to take the pressure off Auckland could easily be repeated in other similar lifestyle towns, e.g. Whakatane, if the transport links were developed. Maybe this is some of the logic behind the TEL RONS?

  30. It never ceases to amaze me that so many people who criticise homeowners for objecting to the UP are not ratepayers and have NEVER been ratepayers! Yet they use libraries, parks, pools, roads and infrastructure that those rates have paid for over generations. They claim to be the silent majority, but are very loud in their assertion that they should have a say. Old Len and Penny seem overly concerned with “young people who want to live where the action is” and the “million” more people who might come here from overseas and other parts of NZ in the next 30 years. However, their salaries are paid solely by the ratepayers i.e. the property owners of Auckland. And in answer to people who might say that renters pay rates as part of their rent, that may be true but renters are a mobile group of people who don’t as a rule have deep roots in a community, like an owner-occupied homeowner would. Another thing that most people won’t know is that people living in state housing pay no rates at all – State Houses don’t pay rates to the Council! Yet these people and their families use all the services that only the ratepayers have paid for.

    1. So I take it then that you’re all in favour of the Unitary Plan, since it’ll allow developers to build hundreds of thousands of new homes which young people can buy and pay rates on, while they put down roots in their new communities.

    2. Interesting comments J Tooseman. Firstly several commentators on this blog, me included, own their house and pay rates. I fully support the general thrust of the UP.

      And you can’t discount the view of any voter, after all it’s their council. Much as you don’t need to pay tax to vote in for and be represented by central government you do not need to pay rates to be represented by the council.

      And spreading straight lies doesn’t help any points you make. HCNZ last year paid out 14% of its expenses as rates, that’s $127million. That’s quite a way from no rates.

      Go look it up on their website.

    3. Renters pay rates indirectly. After all, if a property were left vacant there would be no income and how would the rates get paid? Next argument. I own by the way (well, me and the bank).

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