Auckland needs to be able to accommodate up to 1 million more people over the next 30 years, that’s a lot of growth and means the city needs around 400,000 more dwellings. The Auckland Plan set the high level strategy of having up to 70% of that growth occur within the existing urban area while up to 40% would be outside that. The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP) identified large swathes of land outside the existing urban boundaries for future urban land – some of which is already being developed as Special Housing Areas.

The council is now consulting on a Draft Future Urban Land Supply Strategy which will show how that release of land will actually occur over a 30 year period including specifying where and when bulk infrastructure will be built. They say specifically it will

  • help to inform Auckland Council infrastructure asset planning and management and its infrastructure funding priorities and sequencing. It will feed directly into the Council’s future Long-term Plans and the Annual Plans
  • help to inform central government, such as the Ministry of Education, with medium to long-terms projections, location and investment decisions
  • help to inform private sector infrastructure providers with forward planning and investment decisions

Overall this seems like a good idea, concentrating development in areas where it is able to be accommodated rather than developing land completely ad-hoc which could create funding issues for the council and other infrastructure providers. As the document points out, a consequences of ad-hoc development could be that it sucks up enough resources that it affects the ability to improve the rest of the region. What is most interesting about the strategy is this comment:

The analysis done for this Strategy is of sufficient scale and specificity to broadly determine bulk infrastructure requirements.

In other words this is more than just drawing some lines on a map and pulling out the colouring in pencils. The council have actually put work into determining just what bulk infrastructure will be needed to enable the predicted future growth and the result is actually quite scary and raises the question of just how affordable any new dwellings will be – more on this soon. It’s also important to remember that the bulk infrastructure talked about is really just the core of the networks provided by the council and other agencies. In addition to it developers would need to add all of the local infrastructure such as the local street and water networks.

The PAUP identified six large general areas and a few small standalone areas where future urban growth would occur. This covers about 11,000 hectares which they say could accommodate around 110,000 dwellings. The six main areas are:

  • Warkworth
  • Silverdale, Wainui East, Dairy Flat
  • Kumeu, Huapai, Riverhead
  • Whenuapai, Redhills
  • Takanini, Opaheke, Drury, Karaka
  • Pukekohe, Pareta,

The strategy splits up the areas into five year intervals based on a suite of principles. The map below shows these areas along with the key bulk infrastructure they need.

Future Urban Land Stategy - July 2015

As mentioned above, the part of the strategy that is most interesting is the high level costs to provide the bulk infrastructure which is done to a decade level. The table below shows this along with how many dwellings each time interval delivers. In total the council have estimated that around $13.7 billion of bulk infrastructure is needed over the 30 year period, this is made up of

  • Transport – $6,700 million
  • Water -$2,250 million
  • Wastewater – $2,200 million
  • Other – $2,500 million

These cost are further broken down by decade along with the number dwellings expected in the table below.

Future Urban Land Stategy - Costs - July 2015

Breaking that down we have

  • 1st Decade – $111k to $140k per dwelling
  • 2nd Decade – $179k to $234k per dwelling
  • 3rd decade – $93k to $120k per dwelling

Those seem like some crazy high costs, especially if you consider them on a per house basis. Next imagine what the land prices for these new sections would have to be to cover the costs if the council were able to pass the full costs. Combine that with the costs to the developer of providing the local infrastructure and these areas are not going to be cheap, losing one of the supposed advantages of greenfield developments.  The reality is only some of these costs are likely to be passed on meaning that existing ratepayers will effectively be subsidising this greenfield growth.

This outcome actually that much of a surprise, research as part of the Auckland Plan looked at potential growth scenarios and found sprawly land use patterns were the most expensive outcomes for the council due to the need to provide so much new infrastructure.

Of course none of this to say that intensification isn’t without its costs however many often those costs are ones which would still be needed for the sprawl development too.

Consultation on the draft strategy closes on 17 August.

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  1. The challenge presented by the high cost of developing a new transport link (no doubt motorway with bus lanes) to Kumeu/Huapai shows why it makes sense to utilise the existing, but disused, high-capacity and congestion-free transport link available in the form of the railway.

    The cost of using it is a pittance by comparison. A mere drop in the bucket.

    And am I seeing things, or are they wanting to extend the Mill Rd “motorway”, through to Pukekohe?

      1. Hi Ben, no questioning. Just highlighting the hypocracy of those who say a single diesel shuttle for perhaps 200 people a day is expensive, but stay absolutely silent at a much greater number of diesel shuttles being utilised on a much more complicated plan for around 500-600 people a day that actually works out at around 150 per day per train. But yes, still pushing that barrow. The campaign will be sustained and ongoing until implementation.

        Bryce, no, the shuttles should not run right to Britomart. However, in the event that the SA cars need to be returned to service, to meet demand, then yes, it would make sense to run them Pukekohe-Britomart or Kumeu-Britomart, rather than having diesel shuttles connecting with diesel runs to the city.

        Patrick, you’re making the mistake of looking at Kumeu rail in the context of travel to the CBD only. Kumeu trains (which are in the 2006-2016 Rail Development Plan BTW), serve not only as a travel choice to the CBD with comparable times to buses on the motorway, but also link the growing northwest with the growing metro centres of Henderson and New Lynn. If you look at the UP and SHA’s, we have growth at Kumeu, and Auckland’s largest intensification areas out west within the old Waitakere City Council suburbs. Out west is where its happening, and having a rapid transit spine from one end of it to the other is the idea behind Kumeu rail.

        1. 1. Huapai/Kumeu area isn’t on the list till first half of decade two so based on that it would seem the time to reconsider this would be then.
          2. Yes the UP allows for a lot of growth in the west but the question is if it will all happen. Regardless it’s mostly residential growth that’s allowed for which would be far greater than the employment growth therefore it’s unlikely large numbers of people from Kumeu/Huapai will be travelling there.
          3. Where are those people really going, current patterns show that the biggest destination for outside of the area are to the CBD and the North Shore. Given there isn’t expected to be huge employment change in the Western Corridor and that the major development is occurring at Westgate through to Hobsonville it make sense those three areas would become a much larger destination while along the western line would remain only used by a few. A busway better serves all of that.

    1. Geoff, quite apart from the odd contradictions in your comments on rail reach picked up by Ben above, you will note the difference between the possible development in the vicinity of the rail corridors North and South. South it is able to occur more along the rail line, whereas north it bypasses much of the line then pops up at Kumeu. Agreed it makes sense to make use of existing infra wherever possible in growth (the subtext of whole post) but you’ll have to agree that looks a whole lot harder for a lot of reasons north than south. South will get new dev and therefore stations on route to Puke, making that line more viable, whereas North would have to operate for a long time like Puke is now; as an islanded single destination. Given the indirect course of the line and the hopelessly dispersed development in Kumeu/Huapai it would take a very long time and the absence of even a semi-decent bus option on the more direct SH16 for it to be halfway viable. Shame, I love me a train. Got to go head over heart with our starved transit budget, however. One day, but not soon.

      1. No, it would not require intensifying the areas around Swanson, to take advantage of the existing infrastructure then progressing outwards. We could do this preference to building in Kumeu.

        Instead we will have tracts of unproductive, rural living blight between Swanson and Kumeu for at least half a century and we will develop at the end of the motorway. At the same time we will complain bitterly that the rest of NZ is not funding the rail network (that we ourselves ignore the potential of).

        1. Swanson to Kumeu is mostly flood zone and unsuitable for even low density suburbia.

      2. “Hopelessly dispersed development in Huapai-Kumeu” Patrick? Maybe you need to visit. Maybe you need to see what SH16 is like not just during peak times but off peak too. You should look at the current thousands of houses being developed, and the SHAs. And that’s before the future urban growth signalled here. In any other instance I imagine Transport Blog would be supporting efficient use of current infrastructure instead of more disruptive and expensive works in the form of a new busway some time in the next thirty years if we’re lucky. You should also consider the extreme expense and community disruption and severance from any new busway along the NW motorway. The train route is actually ideally placed to get people to important employment, shopping and educational destinations – way better than the bus, and that’s coming from a bus user. Investing in rail would support equity across the region, provide a much more timely, and cheaper service, and be a better use of that starved transport budget.

        1. Christine I am fully aware of the form of both the existing and the proposed development out there and I’m sorry but it all has the opposite pattern of that which supports high capacity urban Transit systems.

          It is regrettable but the deck is stacked at every turn against such systems working with such a land use. Kumeu/Huapai is a long string of autodependent businesses along a highway and the new suburbs are all dispersed detached housing, even further away. Neither of these can generate walk up to either station. So the only hope will be PNR, good luck with that given the new highways. Buses at least can get to the new subdivisions and scale with the growth, and take advantage of the highway’s directness and coming stations.
          I really do think if you support transport choice for this area your energy should go into optimising the bus service.

        2. Christine yes we do support efficient use of current infrastructure, rail between Swanson and Kumeu isn’t current. It’s a 19th century route designed at a time well before the causeway and current land use patterns. The route is neither direct nor fast compared to the alternatives and as such will have low usage. I would also suggest that it would have the effect of undermining rail investment elsewhere because it will require reducing services to pay for it and will be used as an example of those – such as the government – of why we should hold off on projects like the CRL. They’ll say if that route doesn’t live up to expectations why would the CRL. As for a cheaper, better service, for the same price as an hourly shuttle from Kumeu to Swanson you could run a high quality NEX style bus every 10 minutes. Which one do you think would generate more patronage? Guarantee it would be the bus option because it is more frequent and more direct to where most people are going. Also you talk about equity, define that as from what I can tell it would see residents of the Kumeu area get proportionally way larger investment than most other parts of Auckland where that same money would also deliver far greater benefits. Investment in rail to Kumeu would starve out investment elsewhere, What services do you propose be cut to pay for it?

          What severance are you talking about with a busway, most of the route is currently through farmland or along the existing motorway. Regardless it’s going to happen at some point, why not push to get it done sooner remembering it also benefits not just Kumeu but also Westgate, Massey, Te Atatu etc. Of course the would be being built right now but the ARC stupidly refused to include SH16 as an RTN route because it was so scared it would undermine the case for the CRL which was complete BS. You were chair of the transport committee at that time.

          Lastly people from Huapai/Kumeu area currently aren’t going to western line destinations. This is from the last census on journey to work a total of 81 people went to destinations between Swanson and New Lynn. By comparison 180 went to destinations on the North Shore. In future a large number will also go to the developing areas around Westgate.

    2. It is true that Geoff Blackmore has voiced reservations about the viability of the Pukekohe Shuttle, but my reading of his stance is NOT that he is crtical of the operation, rather that he seeks to highlight the disparity between attitudes that support this service and those that pour scorn on any similar service to Kumeu and Huapai. Both could be described as marginal at the moment; In neither case is an isolated shuttle an ideal mode of operation, and yet both cases have factors strongly in their favour also, particularly for longer-term development.

      Counting against a Huapai shuttle is the less-direct route of the Western Line to the city and the less well-established destination compared to the likes of Pukekohe. However a tiny scrap of re-directed RoNS funding would see both routes electrified, both installed with infrastructure for the overtaking of express services, and both offering high-quality electrified rapid transit to all rail-served parts of the region.

      All we lack in order for this to happen is a government with a vision for the role of rail in meeting our transport needs. And this blog has consistently sought to promote this vision. Except that is, when it comes to the North West of Auckland. I find this bizarre, and agree with Geoff’s view that we should be pushing this barrow also. True, it may not eventuate for a while, just like electrification to Pukekohe. That depends on how long we remain saddled with a roads-focussed, rail-excluding government. But the need and desirability of connecting these areas to the rail system is there now, and growing. A change of regime could bring it all on-stream very quickly.

      So why are many on this blog so unwilling to support the idea and keep it simmering on the stove in any way possible, until the conditions become favourable for bringing it (and Pukekohe) into the mainstream network?.

      1. You’re blaming the wrong bunch of politicians, this is a council planned SNAFU. Development intensification and rail based mass transit are the way forward for Auckland, supported strongly by the council. Except in Waitakere where it is not.

      2. Thanks Dave, you got it in one.

        Your question in the last paragragh is a good one. The current plan for development of the northwest is to replicate what happened in Botany Downs. Motorway, big box retailing, endless car parks, and in Huapai, thousands of new homes and a 300-apartment complex next to an abandoned railway station. It’s the same old 1950’s mantra of developing around roads and cars with some vague promise of rail decades down the track. That this blog supports the very type of road-dependent development for the northwest that it so often criticizes is something I’ve never understood. Especially when the railway already exists, and provides a faster route to most points west through the heart of where intensification is planned, whilst also matching bus times to the CBD.

        1. Wayne, I live between Kumeu and Waimauku and all the people I know go to Westgate, Henderson, and Lincoln North, and of course some occasionally, to the Shore. But anecdotes don’t really count do they, otherwise it’s just the reported travel movements of your friends weighed up against the reported travel movements of my friends. Even travel to work data only tells us so much about the range of peoples’ travel movements. Matt, the bus travel times the Public Transport Users Association use are straight from the bus timetable, and as a bus user from this area I can tell you it regularly takes that long, or longer – both off and on peak, contrary to what your friends tell you. Ten minutes has been added to the timetabled length of journeys this year alone. You guys speculating on the uptake of development in Huapai Kumeu is just that – speculation. For the last 15 years Rodney has been one of the fastest growing areas in the country, we’ve got several thousand houses being built now within 5 or 10 minutes walk of the railway station, and by failing to support rail because it might undermine the CRL is loading your metrocentric political priorities on a community you seem to know little about. We certainly support better bus services but we’re realistic about the chance of them really providing a viable option for many people in the short to medium term – even with the bus shoulder lanes coming up by 2022. In terms of the community severance etc I mentioned, you might want to look at the current NW motorway corridor, filled to the margins with motorway lane, and then tell me there’ll be little disruption by adding on a busway. Houses, community facilities, schools, all stand in the area where a busway would run. I don’t treat their destruction lightly – and neither will it be cheap. I find it hard to believe that a busway or bus priority will feature highly from Westgate to serve the Kumeu (etc) communities given the lack of real bus priority for the foreseeable future along SH16 and the motorway. The difference between our views is that we support the optimised use of infrastructure we have, whereas you support us waiting for some nirvana when we have new infrastructure. I don’t think we can afford to wait the thirty years or so we can expect that will take.

      3. It’s an Auckland thing I think Dave B. West and North West Auckland have never been well thought of by the Centre or, in earlier times, the North East (Orewa).

        Which would be fine if they were just ignoring it but they seem intent on giving us a double whammy of inadequate services and imposing silly restrictions.

        Kumeu doesn’t yet have, and likely will not have, a structure plan in place by the time the Auckland plan takes effect. Why? Because they don’t give a shit.

      4. Dave its easy to answer. I am not a foamer. I like trains, but not at the exclusion of other modes where it is more rational to support them. I am also not interested in lousy value for money in any part of government. The NW will be better served by quicker more frequent buses for a long time yet. There is no established ridership out there, nor is there likely to be as the bus will be quicker and more frequent. Like me the general public are generally rational too, and will choose the quicker more frequent service over a slower sporadic one, no matter how trainy.

        Why does this matter? Because if we campaign for terribly expensive services for a few we cannot then expect to be taken seriously when we point out wasteful subsidy elsewhere. Like poorly served exurban sprawl. And there is underfunded more cost effective ridership growth which much more urgently need support, with rail and other modes, elsewhere in AKL.

        1. “The NW will be better served by quicker more frequent buses for a long time yet”

          TOD develops around rail much more than it does around a road or motorway. I’m sure you understand the big mistake Auckland keeps making over and over is that we develop around roads, then either never have rapid transit, or very expensively retrofit it, then spend decades playing catch up. Kumeu rail was put in the RDP for 2006-2016 as an attempt at having Auckland get it right for once. Get the rail service in place and available concurrent with development.

          It would be great to get you onboard Patrick, as ultimately you have this great vision of how Auckland should be. Ramming a motorway out to Kumeu then building thousands of homes around a disused railway I’m sure is not part of that vision. Next time a public meeting is held on the matter, come along and speak with the locals about their vision for their area, and ask them how they want to travel. Last time we held such a meeting well over 120 people showed up, and their vision is similar to yours – lets use the trains.

          You’re not correct about buses being faster btw. Rail is faster to all points out west, and to the CBD is comparable with buses. Post-CRL it will be faster than buses.

        2. But Geoff there are no TODs proposed there, and not just because the trains have stopped. If I really believed there could be a better pattern out there I would agree, but everything is against this, all the planning and building regulation pushes buildings apart and away from connected locations. Furthermore we have surrendered planning to land speculators (since the 1950s and before), and they only believ in building for last century. The inseparable relationship between land use and transport is not in our favour out there. Right campaign, lost cause of a location. It is sad.

        3. Patrick, a wise man once wrote:

          “As a station only has a walk-up of say a half kilometre radius per station, rail to a place like Kumeu is more like to lead to intensification around the hub than sprawl. Can’t beat motorways for inducing sprawl.”

        4. Geoff,

          There is a TOD being built today next to Swanson station today. It has 350 sqm lots, a good density for Auckland, it is selling well.

          But it took 13 years to get that little development off the ground and there is very strong opposition to this sort of thing in the area (property values, change, rural character). So the local councillors (Hulse & Cooper) are trying to make sure all the other land on the railway corridor will be rural sprawl for the next 30 years.

        5. Geoff the figures you guys have produced for bus speeds is laughable and deliberately deceitful. I have talked to people who currently catch the bus daily from Kumeu and who tell me it’s never as slow as you suggest. What’s more as part of the WRR there will be more bus lanes from Lincoln through to Waterview (except through the interchanges) that will speed things up even more. Rail *might* be faster to Henderson but only just but that’s not much point if people aren’t going there – which they aren’t.

        6. All the people I know who live out Kumeu, Waimauku way focus on Westgate and the Shore. They never think of going to Henderson. This will only get stronger as the enlarged Westgate comes on line. I have asked what they think about rail via Henderson and they all laugh and say it is not direct enough, but are all keen for NW express bus way.

  2. What’s the problem with focusing on pushing south so we can join up with our friends in Hamilton? That’s where the water, dams, rail and existing road investments are. #SaveTheNorth

  3. John Key should be on Paul Henry any minute now if he Is consistent not biased – $13bn on where 5 or 10% of the population will live?

  4. You’ve presented potential costs. What about the potential income from these extra properties / people / businesses? How does that balance out, as it must or Auckland will go broke.

    1. The income would be there whether we build up or out.

      Extra income first decade, 22,000 properties at about 3K/year in rates = 66,000,000/year
      2,800,000,000 costs funded by debt at say 4% = 112,000,000/year interest costs.

      1. Don’t forget at least $700 million from development contributions, plus separate water charges to pay for the water infrastructure…

        1. Kleefer that’s all covered in the post. You’re trying to double count now. And developments within the city also pay dev contributions.

          And Ricardo, new residents in the city also pay rates. So much special pleading by the Motorheads!

        2. Nonsense Patrick. Where am I double-counting? From each new home in a greenfields area the council can expect to receive an initial $30,000 development contribution plus a $15-20,000 water charge plus about $3000 a year annual rates (roughly) plus water charges (let’s just say $1000 a year), not too mention free infrastructure gifted by developers and paid for by homebuyers up front. And of course new homes in the city pay rates and contributions but they also put significant pressure on often aging and stretched infrastructure. I’ve seen estimates as high as $10 billion to bring Auckland’s wastewater and stormwater systems up to scratch, which is roughly the cost of ALL infrastructure in greenfields areas in the first two decades. So quit with the OMG SPRAWL SO EXPENSIVE meme and find a more creative reason for your hatred of traditional Kiwi living.

        3. Read the post, Kleef: Matt has already included those. I only hate bad governance and financial subsidy with no economic value. That’s what sprawl is. For some reason you are reacting emotionally to facts and information.

        4. So let’s add that up.

          The costs of infrastructure for sprawl, as documented in the Council’s report, are upwards of $100,000 per house, and higher in the second decade of the plan.

          The revenues from new development are as follows:
          * Roughly $22,000 in development contributions. If you go read the Council’s DC policy, you will find that your estimate of $30k is on the high side.
          * Roughly $15,000 in Watercare connection charges. The recent Motu report on the costs of planning reported a cost of around $12,500 based on surveys of developers, so your estimate may be on the high side.
          * $3000 in annual rates charges, which is equal to around $36,600 in present value terms (30 year term; 8% discount rate).
          * $650 in annual Watercare charges – which is about right for a non-metred domestic customer according to the policy. This is equal to around $8000 in present value terms.

          So adding it up, the total “revenues” from these sprawl developments would equate to around $82,000. And, as Patrick noted, ongoing rates and Watercare revenues from alternative development locations would be roughly equivalent, so the true “net” figure is even smaller.

          As the revenues are considerably below the *lower* end of the infrastructure costs for planned sprawl developments, this implies a non-negligible subsidy from existing ratepayers and/or taxpayers. You may argue that this subsidy is worthwhile, but please don’t pretend it doesn’t exist.

        5. We’re not treating all these costs as profit, are we? They are fees for something, not taxes.

        6. 8% seems quite high. What is the local government borrowing costs for a multi-decade municipal bond?

        7. On the choice of discount rate, the long answer is that Council borrowing costs are (from memory) in the range of 6% right now, but it’s appropriate to add on an extra margin to account for the fact that additional government investment “crowds out” private capital investments that are made on the basis of a higher discount rate. The Treasury’s cost-benefit analysis guide therefore recommends an 8% discount rate, slightly above the cost of borrowing.

          There are other approaches to discounting, as summarised in this nice NZIER paper. There are, in principle, arguments for using a discount rate below the government’s cost of borrowing for very long-lived investments or persistent environmental effects such as climate change. However, these aren’t currently reflected in NZ’s evaluation frameworks.

          The short answer is that I’ve memorised the factor for converting annual cashflows to present values using an 8% discount rate! It’s 12.2, for the curious.

  5. The problem with such an orderly greenfields expansion plan, is that it gives landbankers certain monopoly on the supply of new sections.

    1. Ding ding ding! We have a winner. This strategy should be re-named the “land-bankers’ welfare scheme”.

      1. So I presume your submission will make it very clear that you are *personally* willing to pay higher taxes in order to fund an even larger amount of infrastructure for greenfield areas?

        If so, I applaud your intellectual consistency and willingness to put your money where your mouth is.

        1. Peter, I was never given a choice. A few years ago, homeowners who were able to buy houses for three times their income due to infrastructure investments of previous generations decided “to hell with inter-generational equity” and pulled up the ladder by imposing urban boundaries and growth charges. This had the dual effect of reducing rates increases and giving them a nice fat tax-free capital gain. I would gladly choose to pay slightly higher on-going rates in exchange for being able to buy a house that didn’t cost eight times my salary, but the current system doesn’t allow that sort of flexibility.

  6. Those transport costs are based around huge motorway expansion as well. We can, and must, do more with less. Mass transit is the only affordable way to go.

    1. Yes, mass transit which is much more expensive per km travelled and requires a much larger subsidy. I’m sure that will keep the costs down…

      1. Genuine question – what are some numbers on this? How long does it take to get the money back on bus lane infrastructure for example, once it is in place (using this as an example of mass transit)? Or anything else you have. Thinking it through I would guess it is more cost effective in the long term as we are maintaining one or two lanes for single vehicles transporting (at a guess) 60 people at a time? Or more? Maintenance costs of the road a lower because it has less traffic, road incidents are lower due to less traffic so the ongoing costs there are lower (morbid but probably true), if Local Govt run it well (?) with industry the subsidies would make it cost effective? If it is on time (which it is likely to be if it is solely for the use of mass transit) then people will use it which makes it desirable…… There are no vehicle running costs to the individual so the per km travel cost is definitely cheaper.

        Genuinely sorry if I am missing the point of the original comment!

      2. Where is are all those new drivers on the new roads gonna go, mate? You are hopelessly optimistic if you think they are going to drive half the way to the city and then suddenly stop. This is going to put enormous pressue on EXISTING roads as well as new ones. So if we have to add to our transport network, doing it right – with mostly PT – it important (but the much better solution is still to mostly intensify, rather than sprawl).

        Or as I said to the Unitary Plan hearing when they asked me whether a linear city could be served well by transport (roads or PT): “Sure it can, but you will have diminishing returns on your transport investment either way the longer your linear city is, which is why I don’t support the concept”

      3. Ok. Add up PENLINK, 6 lanes to Oteha Valley, 6 lanes to Northcote Rd and the AWHC project. Then tell me a $2.5B rail line to Albany is expensive.

      4. Northern busway today moves as many people per hour as the third harbour motorway could when completely full of traffic. But it cost only $300m, and the buses on it are profitable and subsidy free.
        Do the math on that.

  7. I am confused at the figure of needing one million dwellings for one million people?

    Regarding “In addition to it developers would need to add all of the local infrastructure such as the local street and water networks”. Do development contributions not differ based on how far the development is from the city? If this is not the case – why not? If it IS the case, it seems that not the entire cost of infrastructure is passed on to the rate payer. This may seem like a good thing considering the situation in Auckland……

    However, developers say that they they are forced to build and pay for macro-infrastructure that services households beyond the subdivision, such as highway on-ramps. Where do these costs end up going?…..I can only imagine on to the purchaser.

    So now we are looking at both the impact of regulation AND the impact of getting transport to the new areas, BOTH of which impact housing affordability. We need more houses and we need them fast. Why would we not be addressing this through addressing regulation (including regulation of ‘land banking’) and the fairer use of development contributions? This would then surely not only produce more homes faster, but improve housing affordability…..if done correctly.

    1. Likewise. 1 million additional people would require something like 400,000 additional dwellings (since most dwellings have on average 2-3 people in them).

  8. I love how the planners think they can stop sprawl. They used the Metropolitan Urban Limits to prevent housing in Runciman so we just went further south to Pokeno instead.

    1. You can’t stop sprawl AND intensification in a growing city. And right now there are more hurdles in the way of up than out.

      Sprawl will beggar us for ever. Got to sort the urban growth restrictions.

      John you are so outraged about a $100 transport levy on your rates, but not about the endless $$$$$ for subsidising oceans of countryside ruining tacky boxes on the fringes then trying to drive in the city once the occupants all turn up in their SUVs from the boondocks?

    2. Not just Pokeno. Aucklanders are now moving to Huntly and even Hamilton to buy the standalone houses people like Patrick Reynolds don’t want us to buy.

      1. They are moving to Huntly and Hamilton because they can afford housing there (whether this actually represents a saving after travel costs and time are taken into account is another matter). I’m not sure what it is that Patrick and others are supposed to have done to Auckland supply and the prices of stand alone housing to make this necessary, perhaps you could elaborate.

        1. How about… increasing the cost of land ten-fold by creating artificial monopolies on fringe land supply that flow through to land throughout the city?

        2. So suggesting a balance in development location and relevant planning control relaxation is the same as fully supporting locking up the RUB?

      2. I don’t care where people want to live. But I do care deeply about how much we all have to pay for bad regulation and sprawl subsidy. And then we pay again and again as these choices lead to the most costly transport burden on the city. You have it consistently backwards, sir.

        1. Stop using the word “we”. Your favoured anti-sprawl policies benefit the wealthy and existing land-owners at the direct expense of the poor and those who don’t own property. I’m sure the people now living in Tuakau because they can’t afford to stay in Manurewa will be really happy you managed to save a buck on your rates bill by refusing to provide the infrastructure that would allow affordable new housing to be built. Amazing how leftists don’t give a toss about the poor and downtrodden when it’s not election time.

        2. That’s definitely NOT true, because massive costs of the sprawl model will be laid onto the purchasers of those houses EVEN if they get the land and house cheaper there.

          Those costs are called TRANSPORT COSTS (both the ones you pay directly, and the ones you pay via rates and taxes) and they will dog us and these people forced to live on the periphery (because of lack of affordable options closer in) for decades and potentially centuries.

          It is a very simple example of “choosing” to buy something with little down and exorbitant interest on the rest. Cheap now, pay several times more in the long run.

          Much better to enable a model that allows these people (or at least MORE of them) to buy closer to the city’s centres of gravity.

          It isnt even about making anyone live in multi-storey, or foregoing a garden. It’s allowing those who are happy to do so, to do so.

        3. Kleefer sir you are dissyingly confused; apparently I am both a ‘leftist’ and pandering to the wealthy?

          That is a sorry mush-mash of labels, when in fact I am merely following the evidence. Good day.

  9. For some reason the government and some members of the council want Millwater from Silverdale to Wellsford, and Pukekohe to Hamilton. It beggars belief.

  10. Those seem like some crazy high costs, especially if you consider them on a per house basis.

    The average house price in Auckland is $825,000 leaving between $600,000 – $725,000 with which to buy a section, build a house and make a profit. The house price in Hamilton’s newer suburbs is $500,000 – $600,000.

    Next imagine what the land prices for these new sections would have to be to cover the costs if the council were able to pass the full costs.

    Yes, house prices could be lower and we’d have a building boom and development would more than pay for itself. Unfortunately we live in Auckland and we are governed by morons, who fight to stop this from happening.

  11. The high cost of infrastructure is why the UK builds ten houses to the acre. If every house is connected to the sewers the cost is huge and so you need a lot of homes to share the cost.

    1. And if we did the same, the above costs per dwelling would ore than halve as council assumes 10 dwellings per Hectare, not 10 per Acre, (an acre is about 40% of the size of a Hectare). so 10 per Acre represents about 24 per Hectare.

      The other part of the problem is that the cost of building these dwellings is massively too high – building sector productivity is massively lower than most other industries in NZ and despuite 30 years of productivity improvements house building is stuck i nthe dark ages still.

      There are too many small scale builders, “bespoke” designs (that all end up looking pretty much alike anyway) and not enough automation and modular building techniques used in the house building sector.

      When it comes to building up say in the Isthmus area you need to design it properly for many storeys, and many of the components used are off site assembled and installed on site in bulk, meaning the cost per finished dwelling can be lower.
      Of course concrete and such takes a lot of planning, but you can build 2 and 3 storeys in pre-fab concrete if you have enough being built at once.

      Often times those multi-storey should cheaper ideals don’t eventuate as the savings get used to put in features to maximise the developers margins, not necessarily because the buyers demand it so the buildings are more expensive and features they should have like passive solar, and energy efficient designs are left for the home owner to pay for not designed in and built in from day 1.

  12. Let’s talk about the variability of demand, as it relates to the fixed linear acceleration of supply laid out here.

    During the 2000s the Americans engaged in loose monetary policy and encouraged a real-estate boom that drove up worldwide prices (including here). Then that collapsed in the GFC. The GFC caused slump encouraged the Chinese to engage a consumption driven boom using loose monetary policy and that encouraged a real-estate boom that is occurring in Pacific Rim cities (including here). Currently our house prices are exceeding the peaks of the pre-GFC boom.

    China is due for a change in government leadership in 2022, sometime between now and then this current demand stream is going to stop.

    Auckland appears to be planning to be dropping triple the number of sections on the market 5 – 7 years from now. Currently we have high demand, low supply and high prices. Soon we will have lower demand, triple supply and that means something.

  13. If you want to see how huge this sprawl – here is a great example.
    The distance from Glasgow to Edinburgh is less than the distance from Silverdale to Pukekohe.

    1. According to Google Maps Glasgow to Edinburgh is 75 kms and Silverdale to Pukekohe is 84 kms. Absolutely staggering.

      1. It is damn near criminal that there is little priority to even giving thought to a core Rapid Transit line along the length of this likely city form. Long and skinny actually can be served well with a spine and rib system; so long as we build the high quality spine.

        We are on the way to it with rail south and maybe something better north, but with a break in the middle, but no one is talking anymore of one system. I did here, but have let go of this as the capex cost would just be too easy to shoot down by the haters:

        1. It’s all the short-sightedness again: why pay a high cost now when you can pay an even higher one in the future with the added inefficiency and extra obstacles to implementing the glaringly obvious?
          Until those shooting down ideas without providing options realise the problem won’t just vanish with “cheap” (short-term) band-aids, we’re just going to be digging a deeper hole. Unfortunately Rapid Transit Networks are in the “solutions”, not “band-aid” basket

  14. Or the distance from London Waterloo to Basingstoke. ..silly q here but one way to tackle the capital gain would be um either CGT or a form of Land Value Taxation. On the basis that a capital windfalk on the basis of zoning is nothing to do with the individual but a lot to do with the state. The state should therefore benefit.

    As to those who think that adding sprawl will reduce prices. Nah.

      1. Annual land value tax? Land only has value when sold. It has no ‘real’ value to those living on the property until such time as they sell. Any taxes so based will possibly simply increase hardship on those in communities where through no fault of their own pressure from ‘investors’ has increased ‘values’. This problem will require a lot of thought and a lot of consideration for those struggling. ‘Sell’ is not the answer either.

  15. one million more people = approx. 400,000 more dwellings at average occupancy of 2.5 people per dwelling, not one million more houses.

  16. Following the recent Ponsonby Road article I had a good look along there on Google Street View (I last visited Auckland from London back in 2009). Noticed very few if any of the buildings in this main inner city thoroughfare were higher than two stories (a lot of single storey). And a vacant plot next to Dizengoff –,174.744591,3a,75y,246.83h,84.25t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1srn3X7qk0zlqlVUF6D82V-A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

  17. It is critical that the future urban zoned land is not simply released for ad hoc subdivision as in the past. Council must insist on structure planning to create “complete communities” so that all infrastructure needs are met (a full range of community facilities, not just roads & drains). To put this into perspective, in aggregate the future urban areas are bigger than the whole of Hamilton.

  18. Is there an alternative to adding 5litres of water to 500ml of urine or 10 litres of water to one bodies night soil and then trying to find non polluting ways of disposing of that in centralized fashion? Surely we are more advanced than the Romans. What are the Chinese doing these days? Surely there is a better method.

    1. Water treatment is pretty efficient, as you say it’s a 2000 year old industry and gets more efficient as time goes on. Also, if your toilet uses 10L you should buy a new one.

  19. Auckland doesn’t “have to grow” Auckland has decided to grow. Our national population without immigration is essentially stable. None of this expenditure is necessary without immigration.

    This growth fetish in Auckland is an entirely self-inflicted phenomenon that benefits the banks and the building/construction industry and nothing much else. At its core it is a consumer of wealth not a creator of wealth. If it was the latter NZ’s economic situation should be improving – but it is not it is deteriorating – and about to deteriorate rapidly in the near future.

    The second question to be asked after “Is this growth of any benefit to Auckland/NZ?” should be “Why is this being subsidised to the tune of $100 – 150k per household by the existing ratepayers of Auckland and the taxpayers of NZ?” Development contributions and the new ratepayers aren’t going to pay for this – it will come almost entirely out of the pockets of the existing ratepayer/taxpaying population.

    The services for the same new household can be created in virtually any other major town or city n NZ for lass than one quarter the cost of providing them in Auckland.

    When contemplating the cost of Auckland’s growth the impact of rising property prices needs to be considered too – this is a much larger cost to the economy (and the individual) than the cost of additional infrastructure. Auckland is in the process of making itself unaffordable and as it chokes on its growth its function becomes increasingly economically inefficient – a further cost to the whole economy. Its inflating property prices are seriously bad for the economy and are nothing other than a wealth-drain.

    Auckland is the worst place in NZ for this growth to be occurring – it is severely constrained by both its geography and the established patterns of urban settlement – ten acre block form a far more effective barrier to planned urban growth than any district plan rule

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