You may recall the Draft Future Urban Land Supply Strategy that the Council consulted on back in August which looked at the greenfield land that was to be released along with the costs of the infrastructure needed to service it. The outcome of the consultation is due soon however Auckland Transport’s presentation that I wrote about yesterday gives some more detail on the future transport networks needed for some of these major areas.

The detail comes in the form of some maps with lines to show some of the major projects needed.

First in the South where combined 40-50,000 new dwellings are expected to eventually be built. As you can see in state highways, arterials and public transport infrastructure the transport costs are expected to be in the range of $2.8-3.7 billion. Some projects such as the widening of the Motorway are currently underway and Auckland Transport seem confident that they get electric trains to Pukekohe sooner than originally intended through the use of battery powered trains. You can also see some of the other major projects include extending the Mill Rd corridor all the way to Drury, some sort of bypass of Pukekohe and an east-west route linking Mahia Rd across the railway and motorway – which seems like a very tricky and therefore expensive piece of work.

Future Urban Land - South Transport Networks

Next up is the North West where 24-30,ooo dwellings could be built. The major transport infrastructure up here is expected to cost up to $1.5 billion and include an upgrade to SH16 – which is busier than any RoNS outside of the Auckland Urban area. Also included is to extend a number of arterials and potentially another one to serve parts of Kumeu.  The map shows the busway stopping at Westgate however I understand AT are now looking to take it all the way to Kumeu.

Future Urban Land - Northwest Transport Networks

Included with the image of Kumeu is a map showing where commuters who leave Kumeu are travelling to. As you can see the biggest destination is to the North Shore. With all of the employment growth expected in the area (Westgate and between Hobsonville Rd and the motorway) I’d expect most of the travel demand will shift there.

Future Urban Land - Northwest Transport Networks - trips from Kumeu

In the North around Dairy Flat/Silverdale there are a similar number of new dwellings as the Northwest that are expected to be built. The transport costs are a bit higher here at up to $2.3 billion and includes extending the busway to Orewa, widening the motorway, Penlink and an upgrade and extension of Dairy Flat Highway.

Future Urban Land - North Transport Networks

Speaking of Penlink AT have created this video for it which is in relation to their decision to push for the designation to be for a four lane road.

Lastly is the growth in Warkworth of around 5-6,500 dwellings. To put that in perspective the current urban/suburban area of Warkworth had around 1700 dwellings as of the census. You can see the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway to the west of the development and the proposed Western Collector – which was to have provided a bypass of Warkworth before the motorway came along – and the Matakana Link Rd. On the latter there’s been talk that it might connect directly to the end of the motorway but based on this map it now appears not. Once both the development and motorway are built how long will it be before there’s calls for for another interchange to connect to it?

Future Urban Land - Warkworth Transport Networks

A quick calculation suggests that all up the development will enable 94-117k dwellings. AT Auckland’s current average occupancy rates that suggests just over 300,000 people would be living in these greenfield areas which is about 40% of the projected growth Auckland is expected to get. This growth doesn’t come cheap though with the estimated cost varying between $5.9 billion and $7.8 billion. That puts the major transport costs alone at an average of almost $67,000 per dwelling.

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  1. This highlights that the northern busway extension needs to cross SH1 to the western side BEFORE Albany Station. To keep Albany station as an island, so to speak, is completely illogical. And upgrading the Dairy Flat Highway? WTAF! This is a roads fest on a huge scale.

  2. Regarding the Northwest I have thought before about extending the Northwest motorway to just past Waiamuku, and Swanson- Huapai rail electrification (with the Waitakere station reopened and stations in Kumeu and Huapai. My proposal is for the “potential Kumeu bypass arterial” to be built as a motorway extension on a slightly different route ending at the current end of the motorway. And ditch the plan to widen the existing SH16 and upgrade intersections. Also as I said before the plans should include electirifcation to Huapia as mentioned above, and also Pukekohe with stations in Parata and Drury

    1. did you see the chart of travel demands from the upper harbour area?

      Fom my reading this seems to show the largest travel demands from Westgate are destined for the North Shore and the city centre? In this context don’t you think that a busy linking Westgate to constellation via Sh18 and the city centre via SH16 would seem more appropriate than rail from Huapai? I note the latter takes you on a circuitous tiki tour of Henderson along the way?

    1. This is not a pro-sprawl comment, but not necessarily Jimbo -each new dwelling is likely to pay far more than $67,000 in GST on land and construction costs alone (houses would have to be sold at under $450,000 to be less). Also the new residents will be paying rates and possibly petrol taxes or road user charges, or maybe bus or train fares far into the future.

      What if AT received the locally generated construction GST payments and received some proportion of locally generated transport charges. Then if new residents built in the inner city, AT could respond by building say light rail or bike lanes or upgrade a local train station. If residents went to the periphery it could be motorways and express bus lanes. That sort of thing.

      Wouldn’t this sort of dynamic responsive system work better than an unreliable population growth guesstimate approach that becomes rigid and unresponsive to actual demand.

        1. Because they’ll argue, of course, and not unreasonably, that central gov is also going to have to chase all these suburbs out there with new schools, and fire stations, and copshops, and hospitals, and all the trappings of society… just as AC will need to build libraries and swimming pools… und so weiter…

          Sprawl IS much much more expensive to fund; it stretches everything and duplicates much.

          1. All the more reason for the costs to become more explicit and visible so that the public and even the home builders can see the tradeoffs.

        2. But if central government want local government to be less restrictive zoning wise. If they think giving residents more freedom to decide for themselves where to build -up or out -in order to create more competition and lower land and housing costs (which they should be thinking about), then they need to confront that rub.

          Much of the zoning is a simple reflection of the existing process of guessing population growth. Estimating from that what the growth areas are. Provide infrastructure -in particular new transport infrastructure for same (NB: if you are National you will fast-track all road projects and question and delay all PT projects). Zoning just hardens rigidly around this process.

          Then land banking and property speculation follows -buggering up the whole housing market.

          1. The paper -“Appraising transport strategies that induce land use changes; Estimating benefits of long-term land use change from
            standard transport model outputs” that Peter Nunns referred to last? week also seems relevant to this topic. I am still working my way through it. Maybe Peter can give us the condensed version? But with an introduction like the following -it seems relevant.


            “Transport investment is a major area of public spending, at over $3 billion annually in New Zealand (of a population of some four million). Similar per capita levels of spend occur overseas. In the long-run transport can change the shape and nature of cities and economic prosperity overall; for instance, motorways are generally shown to induce urban sprawl. With so much at stake, the careful appraisal of transport strategy matters a great deal.

            Although transport investment and polices can affect how households and organisations live, work and play over longer-periods of time, current methods (theory and practice) or transport strategy appraisal assume such effects away. Instead cost-benefit appraisals consider only short-run impacts over projects’ economic lives. This is the case worldwide; New Zealand is not the odd one out.”

          2. Four key points I got from the paper:

            1. Short-run demand curves can be very different from long-run demand curves.

            2. This tends to imply that induced land use change will have additional benefits over and above the benefits estimated by conventional appraisal under a fixed land use scenario, unless induced land use change results in a whole bunch of additional congestion / vehicle emissions / etc.

            3. There is no ex ante way of knowing whether the added consumer surplus from induced land use change exceeds the added congestion. (Although we can probably be confident that it will for PT infrastructure projects.)

            4. Congestion pricing is a really, really good idea.

          3. Nobody ever claimed that it was a science! But exact or not, consistently applied CBA is better than the alternative of political/bureaucratic project selection with no cross-checking on whether they represent value for money. And a lot of the problems we face in urban policy could be corrected by more CBA, not less.

            Could cost benefit analysis practice itself be improved? Sure. There are almost always going to be things that we’re measuring imperfectly, and I’ve got my share of ideas about how to address various gaps. But my strongly-held view is that CBA is a very useful tool to have.

          4. Peter with only a little bit of my tongue in my cheek can I ask what CBA is if it is not a science?

            May I suggest it is a simple tool that should be more humbly used and that given its limitations that perhaps allowing more local democratic input might not be such a bad idea.

          5. CBA is a framework for assessing policy alternatives. While it inherits some general principles from the scientific method – you could think of CBA as a process by which you develop a testable hypothesis about what might happen as a result of a project – it doesn’t typically seek to gather data or conduct experiments to test that hypothesis.

            On a side note, the literature on the political economy of zoning suggests that more local democratic input tends to lead to more restrictive policies, not the opposite. And the costs and benefits of these policies often seem to be misidentified, misconstrued, or simply ignored when making decisions. In that context, more CBA will tend to support better outcomes, as even a rough analysis will represent a considerable improvement.

          6. Peter I am kind of winding you up, because I know how passionate about this topic you are : ). And when I wind you up I get a better explanation. Of course there should be some sort of systematic comparison of the possible economic effects of different transport proposals. CBA just needs to acknowledge it has some hidden assumptions -such as only measuring the short term not long term effects.

            I understand that locals have an incentive to be NIMBYs with zoning decisions but don’t we need some carrots and sticks to stop that. One carrot would be to give locals more of the tax benefits (and that tax to be spent on better transport infrastructure) from allowing newcomers to come to their locality.

            Also at a fundamental level transport decisions affects land use. It determines what the city environment will be like and the lifestyles that the residents will have. Surely that should be up for democratic debate.

          7. You’re giving me an opportunity to talk about something I find interesting. I like this!

            I have a philosophical issue with paying residents to “accept” growth – it implies the existence of a set of property rights that do not, in fact, have any formal legal standing. (I.E. the idea that you should be able to profit from the development of land that you do not personally own, or the use of public resources such as on-street parking.) Elsewhere you’ve been very critical of the “landed gentry” perspective on restricting development.

            I can see the rationale for transfer payments as a means of compensating people for localised negative externalities from development. However, actually implementing this policy runs into two empirical challenges. First, measuring specific externalities in the built environment is hard, but not impossible as my paper on heritage externalities shows.

            A second, more fundamental challenge is that there is no reason to believe that the _net_ direction of development-related externalities is negative. For example, the existence of positive agglomeration economies (usually measured net of disbenefits such as added congestion) suggests that increased urban scale/density is a net positive for the economy and society.

          8. But yes, I agree with your more fundamental point that you need a strong democratic mandate for the overall *strategy* for urban development. I’d draw a distinction between the strategic/vision-setting side of things – the big questions about how we want a city to work in the future – and the *technical* questions about how to achieve that vision.

            For example, if you said to me, “we want our city to grow primarily through intensification”, I’d go out and figure out what planning regulations have the largest costs/largest impacts on density, and propose changes to them. (Probably coupled with an analysis of the cost to overcome infrastructure constraints.) But if you said to me, “we want our city to grow primarily through sprawl”, I’d go and find the exurban road / infrastructure projects with the highest BCRs and recommend building those. That’s the sort of thing that technicians can do to allow you to implement a vision.

          9. Peter if city development brings an overall agglomeration economic gain (and I think it does) then a small tax spent on facilitating that development -say by building the supporting infrastructure should work. Like you, I do not think that existing property owners have a property right over neighbouring properties. I think the idea of private payments being made to ‘buy off’ NIMBYs is wrong. But redirecting an existing tax that new residents pay like construction GST to pay for more local public amenities that might alleviate congestion or any other downside costs for existing residents that allowing new residents to come into the neighbourhood, I think makes sense.

      1. The “oh but they’re paying rates” argument doesn’t really wash – rates cover the ongoing operational costs of the council on a annual basis on a “break even” basis.

        So just because they’re paying rates doesn’t mean they’re paying all the externalities the new house owner has introduced into the system – even with developer contributions and levies factored in.

        The developer levies are supposed to be “cost recovery only” so only cover some of the cost of providing the facilities the new developments require like libraries, parks, reserves to name a few.
        This is the argument about sprawl – it doesn’t pay its own way. So how can paying rates fix that imbalance?

        1. You can apply your ‘it doesn’t pay its way’ argument to all growth. Does the new apartment in Hobson Street pay for the cost of its impacts on surrounding infrastructure? Do they get asked to pay for a new trunk sewer or do they simply tap into the existing mishmash of combined and separate sewers. Does AT turn up at hearings and say ‘but these people will increase the demand for transport so they should pay for it all?’ Not likely. They charge us ever higher rates to cover it. The whole point of the supercity is to grab our money and channel it to the centre. Shame we didnt get to vote on it. It is why I will never vote ACT no matter how old and belligerent I get.

          1. Apartments – and infill developments in general – also pay development contributions. My understanding is that smaller units get a discount on DCs, reflecting the fact that they will probably require less infrastructure. This isn’t a perfect situation but it appears to respond to evidence that higher-density development tends to have lower per-dwelling infrastructure costs:

            However, if you look at the chart on page 7 you’ll see that variations in costs within density categories “dominate” the differences between the average costs in each category. Infrastructure costs are site-specific and comprehensively evaluating them is costly. In that context it’s going to be difficult to get totally efficient pricing.

      2. > more than $67,000 in GST on land and construction costs alone

        There is no GST on land. There are actually quite a few things that you don’t pay GST on, relevant to the housing market: such as residential rent, second-hand goods (e.g. existing houses), and financial services (such as the actual mortgage itself).

          1. GST on land converting to residential use is a bit like a capital gains tax on the land value uplift from the creation of new sub-divisions. The cost of which is paid upfront by the new householder and in most instances it is probably gradually paid off over time through the households mortgage.

            This GST on land conversions increases the cost of building a new home, which increases the value of existing homes -which bizarrely has no capital gains tax. My preference would be for the govt to stop this practice and replace it with a small land value tax -say the equivalent of what they pay out in accommodation supplements and currently receive in land GST payments (If this happened then I would propose only the construction component of GST goes to regional transport authorities).

            Land value taxes incentivise that land is put to its most productive use. It encourages cities to go up not out. It avoids front loading households with additional costs. It therefore doesn’t push up the price of existing homes. It therefore reduces mortgage repayments for new borrowers, thus decreasing the countries private debt burden. Land value taxes would capture more of the land value uplift because it captures the land value uplift for existing and new properties and the payments would be more regular -not dependent on the construction cycle.

            Land value taxes are an economic no-brainer and the reason they are not implemented is to do with the politics of vested interests not economic efficiency.

    2. Except nobody will build these areas. Auckland Council can zone it and the government can encourage it with SHA’s, but then along comes AT who demand the developers pay for all the roads including the arterials. When you point out to them that through roads are a Council finction and they get the financial contributions for that they simply say they are spending that money elsewhere.

      If you have ever wondered what a government department would do if there was no ministerial oversight then just look at AT. Unaccountable and out of control.

      1. Lol. Them saying “We have no money to do all these sprawl roads you want [unless you want us to let the rest of the city’s roads fall into disrepair]” is “Out of control”? You have a VERY one-sided mindset.

        Maybe you should try getting some road safety works done on, say, one of our 10 worst intersections. No money. Maybe you should ask where all the promised mid-level interchanges are for our new bus network. No money. Maybe you should ask when all the shoddy footpaths get repaired. No money. Maybe you should ask why we cant buy enough electric trains. No money.

        I think it sounds like a perfect example of an organisation pushed against the wall, doing the only thing it can. Saying “show us the money on how to do all these nice things you want”.

        And its not like they are even doing that nearly as strongly as you claim to. Still planning lots of Mill Roads.

        There aint no such thing as a free road. TANSTAAFR

        1. Except the cash they milk from developers is supposed to be spent on things that actually benefit that area. Remember how North Shore buggered that up with the busway? It took the High Court to sort it out. Each of the legacy Councils worked with developers to get areas going regardless of whether it was on the edge or in the middle of town. Most areas had development agreements because Councillors wanted growth, but we dont do that anymore because AT, like Janice in accounting, don’t give a fuck. AT have plenty of money whether it is planning light rail that they neglected to tell the Mayor about, or building needless bridges in Newmarket. (or for that matter employing a cast of thousands). But not content with wasting our money they also want to stop development that the Council and government badly want. Let’s hope you people get the density rules changed in centres because we wont be getting many new houses anywhere else.

          1. Mwfic – these “poor“ developers do not pay the full cost of their developments. Development contributions only make up around 17% of ATs budget.

            With all RMA development the developer may pay half the cost to upgrade the rural road on their frontage, but any other investment in the wider network, whether upgraded intersections, road widening or new PT infrastructure is ”on the ratepayer“

            The Council could, and should, set targeted rates in these greenfield areas but doesnt. Hence every ratepayer is subsidising development in Kumeu or Kingseat or whatever other far flung location developers are planning houses.

          2. Scott it is called investment when you pay some money in expectation of a return. All those new houses will then pay rates for years funding other people’s areas. The system we now have allows AT to turn up at a hearing and demand anything they want. That is simply a tax or penalty that in turn will reduce the number of new homes built. They (AT) are stupid enough to think that development will always occur but it won’t. The supply curve slopes up and the demand curve slopes down. Adding an AT Tax to development just reduces the number of houses built. Maybe you don’t care about that but some of us realise that will price people out of a Auckland, cause overcrowding and even homelessness.

          3. People are already priced out of Auckland. The solution as I see it is to use targeted rates so that costs are spread over the longterm and only paid by those who benefit. Scrap development contributions altogether.

  3. This absolutely highlights the necessity of the western and northwestern busways. I can’t believe that Auckland Transport have been so lax in their absent planning and construction of these.

    Far more important and necessary than the Penlink project.

    1. George – your blame should rest with NZTA and their motorway obsessed funding criteria and approach that you dont forward plan, just invest when its well and truly stuffed. All very efficient.

    1. That’s an interesting question of definition: the new arterial doesn’t sever a bit of existing Kumeu, since it bypasses all the town that’s there now.

      Except we’re planning to immediately then build a bunch of new sprawl on the far side of that new arterial which will be “pre-severed”, if you will.

  4. All those developer contributions are a nice little free kick to the value of all those houses living of the existing infrastructure funded by the old school method surely.

  5. Still very road dominated spending by the look of it. Why hasn’t AT realised it’s time to redress the balance? I thought SH! was a Pukekohe bypass. What other significant amount of traffic wants to bypass Pukekohe, or Kumeu and what are the COBA benefits?

    1. It would be good if they disaggregated the ‘arterials and PT’ sum so we could see have much is being spent on each… Buses use roads, we know, but not well without specific amenity; from stops, to lanes, to ways.

      More information is always good!

  6. Building a motorway connection to SH16 northbound AND building a bypass for the same stretch of SH16. That can’t be right.

    Upgrading the motorway AND build an extra bypass? That’s a lot of road at once. If that would go ahead, where will all that extra traffic go south of Albany?

    Talking about Kumeu, that reminded me of when I tried driving towards Wellsford via the Upper Harbour highway and then SH16. Big no-no, as there was a long queue of traffic waiting to pass through Kumeu. Maybe I should have gone via Kahikatea Flat Rd.

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