Over the past week Transportblog has published several posts on the brouhaha (or is that kerfuffle?) about Auckland Council’s position on Unitary Plan rezoning.

However, we haven’t really taken a higher-altitude view on the issue. So here’s a quick summary.

The underlying issue is that Auckland’s home prices are really, really high, and rising rapidly. Rents are also rising faster than incomes. That’s great news for people who already own homes, but terrible for everyone who doesn’t.

The housing affordability crisis is particularly bad for young people and low-income households, who may be renting or trying to save up to buy a home. These people directly bear the costs of rising prices.

Home prices are high and rising because Auckland isn’t building enough homes. If there isn’t enough housing to meet demand, prices must rise until some people give up and go away. This may mean living in overcrowded flats, living in unheated garages, staying in abusive relationships to stay housed, or simply packing up and leaving Auckland.

Residential zoning rules determine how many homes can be built in the city. The Unitary Plan originally proposed by Auckland Council applies low-density residential zoning to much of the city, including many of the areas of highest demand. This means that few new homes can be built in Auckland.

On Wednesday, Auckland Council voted against considering changes to zoning to enable more homes to be built in areas that are accessible to jobs, education, and transport.

The most likely outcome of this is that Auckland will continue to build too few homes and prices will continue rising. The social ills caused by that dynamic – poverty and unhealthy housing, crimped opportunities for young people, unsustainable levels of car-dependent sprawl, and high rates of outward migration among the young – will also continue.

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  1. It just means that Auckland spreads wider. If you look at any major city the CBD and inner suburb house prices are proportionately higher than the affordable suburbs. There is nothing to panic about, its just the natural evolution of our city. I, like many Aucklanders enjoy a low density environment. If I wanted to live in high density I would move to Hong Kong, New York or Mumbai (all of which are super expensive and beyond first home buyers). I like Auckland with our back yard BBQ’s and room to swing the cat.

    1. Lance
      No matter what the unitary plan says, nobody can come steal your backyard
      I promise. No matter what they zone your land, nobody is going to come and erect a 15 storey apartment on your lawn

    2. “There is nothing to panic about”

      It’s harder to feel that way if you don’t own a home. For many people, a lack of housing is a serious cause for panic.

      “It just means that Auckland spreads wider.”

      I assume you have contacted your councillors and let them know that you’d like to pay considerably higher rates to fund the required infrastructure.

      “I, like many Aucklanders enjoy a low density environment.”

      As Early Commuter said, you are the master of your own backyard. Nobody can build anything in it unless you agree to it.

      1. Incentives. I’ve always felt that targeted rates, as opposed to zoning, should be used to encourage density in areas of land close to centres of employment. So what you do is remove all sub-sets of residential zoning – all there is is residential. Then you set a targeted rate for all residential land based on the proximity of the land to centres of employment multiplied by a lot/site or area/m2 density factor. The proximity to employment has two factors (distance x size of the employment centre) and the lot/site density has a single multiplier (highest for single dwelling – going lower and lower whereby an apartment tower reduces that multiplier to a minimum of 1). All you might want to do is set height restrictions on a geographical basis, based on view shafts and/or other practical/planning matters. The market will then sort out the men from the boys, so to speak and the NIMBYs within walking distance to major centres of employment, if they want to stay on single dwelling lots/sites, will pay enormous rates to do so which can be used to further fund transport infrastructure to the outer suburbs. After all – the reason more and bigger roads + upgraded rail are needed into the centre (in particular the Auckland CBD) is largely because of those within walking and biking distance to the centre wanting to hold fast to their low density holdings. Fine, as long as they pay properly for it. In planning lingo, the term is betterment – this land has become more valuable, not because of the characteristics of the land itself, but rather by the proximity to infrastructure/assets that attract visitors and employers. So, effectively such residential landowners should have to pay the true cost of that betterment. The other big advantage to such a targeted rating scheme is that the rates further out for those that must commute to centres of employment go down dramatically.

    3. You can’t freeze a city’s evolution at a point in time, no matter your opinion of its charms. There was a point at which New York was low density.

      Remuera used to be farmland. That was the “character” of the area. That was people’s “property rights” Extreme low density. Imagine if the farmers had refused rezoning, and the only option was 10 acre plots from here to Whangarei and Cambridge??

      But they didn’t. Over time, more people moved there, farmers sold their farms, which were split into houses ans smaller sections, and those who still wanted to live in the countryside moved further afield.

    4. That just means my choice of where to live now only include low density places in NZ. What if I want to live in a higher density city, does that mean I have to leave NZ? But I don’t have a visa to live in any other country. So effectively my choices are low density sprawl with a lengthy physically and mentally unhealthy commute or low density in a small town (assuming I can find my sort of work in a smaller place). I don’t want to sacrifice 3 hours a day to travel from somewhere I can afford on the outskirts to the city to work, and would rather trade off the large house and land to a smaller place with a courtyard garden to live within a half hour commute by PT. Maybe a unit or a terraced house. Or maybe an apartment if I want to live even closer the work.
      I’m not asking for people who want a big place with a section to give their’s up, I’m asking for options for those of us who don’t want one, or can’t afford one.

      1. It’s shameful how much isthmus land is locked up in car yards and unoccupied/underused light industrial and commercial property. A Land Tax Now!

      2. Guess what Reader?

        This may surprise you but you alone don’t get to determine the form of the city to suit your personal needs.

        1. Loosening density control limits doesn’t *force* any landowner to build a denser form of housing on their land. It gives them an *option*.
          Overall, some will choose to take that *option* and that will give both current and future Aucklanders the choice of a) a home somewhere balancing choices of distance to work and distance to services and b) a choice of what type of home that is.
          Some people can live with an hour long commute along a crowded road to be able to have a bigger home or lawn. Others want a shorter commute, a walkable area of shops/services and trade that off with a more dense form of living.
          This whole unitary plan is about getting the amount of housing we need for the city and allowing choice where there currently is little.

        2. Neither do you Alan. However, the council the other day decided that people like you are more important than other Aucklanders.

          This week in the wake of the disgraceful vote by the Council, Bill English has been sending out some hints to the Council and the NIMBYs. Just exactly what his signals mean is anybody’s guess but hopefully it means: “NIMBYs, your days are numbered”.

    5. Lance I’m happy for you to have your low density paradise in Auckland as long as you live 10km or further from the centre. I don’t think we need high density everywhere, just the central suburbs will do. Unfortunately the current unitary plan seems to do the opposite and put high density at the edges of the city. This is in my opinion a real mistake that could lead to slums.

      1. Yes anywhere in the central isthmus (except perhaps the very edge coastal and certain public spaces) should be allowed to build up to 5 levels. Certain heritage areas can of course be protected by other means. Within the isthmus that was the old AC there is space for millions of people if housing was 5 levels.

  2. You may be happy with a spreading Auckland, I’m not. Because it will mean rates increases (it’s more expensive to provide necessary infrastructure and services for low-density) and more pollution (all that extra travel). I feel the character of the leafy suburbs that we want to protect will be far more negatively impacted by the gargantuan roads that will need to be constructed through them to facilitate your “spread” than by allowing a few more apartments and terraced housing within them.

  3. Peter is being overly dramatic. The new/old plan does not promote sprawl and is in fact incredibly restrictive at preventing sprawl.

    Auckland will indeed increase “poverty and unhealthy housing, crimped opportunities for young people [] and high rates of outward migration among the young” much faster and with greater persistence than ever before. But not sprawl.

  4. So what next? My understanding (largely from this blog!) is that the independent panel have considerable powers. Could they take on board housing new zealand’s recommendation, and just recommend upzoning 68% of the isthmus? Or will they behave much more narrowly?

    1. They could. The council could then reject the panel’s recommendations and then Housing NZ could appeal council’s decision to the environment court.

      1. They could. Then govt might override or call in the decision. English has already told a business audience this week he wants rto completely overhaul NZ’s regulations around planning.

      2. By could don’t you mean should? Surely no independent panel would think the councils plan that will not house anywhere near Aucklands expected population growth is acceptable.

    2. The hearings panel is responsible for hearing submissions, reviewing the plan, and making a final recommendation to Auckland Council. In July, I think. At that point, Auckland Council has 20 working days to vote to either accept the recommendation or refuse it.

      If AC accepts the panel’s recommendations, they get implemented, with appeal rights only based on points of law. If not, who the hell knows. Years of lawyers’ fees and regulatory uncertainty is my best guess.

      1. ” Years of lawyers’ fees”
        Perhaps someone could draw a venn diagram showing the overlap between folks who want to force the council to change the UP (as witnessed this week) and those who stamp their feet over ‘council wastage’.
        I think it would be just one circle.

    3. Unlikely they can accept the Housing NZ submission because it largely calls for spot upzoning of HNZ properties and the IHP has already issued a directive that this spot zoning is not planning best practice.

      The HNZ spot zoning requests was one of the major drivers behind the revised plan with all the Out of Scope changes, the opposite is more likely in fact, with the Out of Zone changes withdrawn the IHP could be forced to reject the HNZ upzone requests.

      1. The IHP is free to recommend “out-of-scope” recommendations, though, and the IHP itself determines what is and isn’t out of scope.

        So the IHP can (if they want) accept Housing NZ’s submission as it relates to Housing NZ property, then extend that upzoning to all other sites in similar situations, to avoid inconsistent spot-zoning.

        1. Actually, as I understand it, HNZ’s submission calls for broader upzoning around their sites to avoid spot zoning. So it wouldnt be out of scope in any case.

          1. Got a link? I understood they had lodged some sort of legal challenge against the Out of Scope changes, arguing they are “In Scope”, maybe that’s what you are referring to?

            Their initial submission was definitely for hundreds (thousands?) of individual upzones (of course many of them are next door to each other anyway)

          1. A team has been seconded from Auckalnd Council to assist the IHP. I also think they can direct Council officers to help them prepare further work if needed.

  5. Has the capacity analysis looked at the residential capacity in Centre and Mixed-use zones yet? I’m hoping that the removal of MPRs and containment of out-of-centre retailing will see a flowering of apartments in places where they really do offer alternative lifestyle choices.

  6. I wonder if the eastern suburb nimbys even looked at the proposed map of their area closely. Much of glendowie would still only be mixed SUBURBAN meaning only two stories high. And it seems like 3 stories – mixed URBAN- are on main roads like kepa rd and a few other areas like near mission bay shops. It wont be 3 stories all over.

    Many of them would have passed on by the time anything happens.

    Have they also thought that it might increase the value of their houses even more??

      1. Aren’t having more people provide economic of scale, and actually improves the amenity?

        For example, more residence means new cafe, new restaurants , bigger shops, and more frequent buses.

    1. Little thinking and even less comprehension is behind their intense anger… it’s all emotion and nonsense. It has no foundation in fact. Burton, Orsman Brewer etc all have dissembled their way to misinforming a bunch of over-entitled people who, it seems, are bringing various other disappointments and frustrations in life to bear on this issue. Illogically, but there you go. It is a form of collective madness, and fascinating to watch. I suspect they will never be satisfied, the world, after all, moves on and those clinging to fantasies of golden pasts are destined to disappointment.

    2. Nah – they didn’t look at all. They were just happy to pop onto Facebok and repeat rumours that Glendowie was being re-zoned for 13 storey apartments.

  7. Funny how cities went high rise all over the world before they invented the job of town planner. Planners are like the little boy with his finger in the dyke. Lets start with abolishing the RMA for cities and get a decent urban redevelopment agency set up with the necessary powers to get on with the job to actually build something. Enough bullshit from council, and their planners. Wake up now before it is two late.

    1. A lot of cities around the world went up because they grew at a time when there were very few cars around. Cities which grew when cars were plentiful and affordable adopted the sprawling suburbia model. Can’t blame the planners for everything 🙂

  8. Unfortunately, there is not enough incentive for the local council and property owner to develop their poperty.

    Could they put a carrot, so transport and education funding are direct proportional to the ward population?

    Could they put a stick, to change the way Government Valuation (GV) is calculated, so a single house sitting on large block of land need to pay higher rate? For example Rate is calculated solely on land value, instead of a combination of land and building value.

  9. I like to think of myself as a proud JAFA, anywhere I go I will say, I am sorry (for you) I am a JAFA. But one can understand why some like to laugh at us. This Unitary Plan is a joke, not a joke like TPPA, which is a bad joke, but the fact that so many of these monkeys the run the place don’t believe in apartments is very hard to believe. Have they never travelled ANYWHERE!?! Sure we build some horrible excuses for apartments and the sooner we put a some sort of law against building such rubbish, the better, but apartments can be amazing. I live in one, and it is not amazing, but I find it difficult to thing about returning to the suburbs, it just seems so backwards. Europe is far better looking than us and their medium rise has built some great communities. Freemans Bay is a nice local example, a few mid rises and shared green spaces, community is central I believe. Let’s sort it out so the donkeys in national power don’t ruin it for everyone.

  10. Like it or not, these people are the democratically elected representatives of the people of Auckland.

    If it’s not what you want, well it’s an election year.

    1. Just worries me that the forces of darkness are portraying themselves as the saviours of the city’s character, while anyone who stands up to their arguments (a) gets very little airtime in a populist media and (b) if they do get airtime they are cast as “wreckers” of the city’s character. I fear there will be so much more populist misinformation spread between now and the time of the election that the more progressive candidates may not have a chance.

      What we need are a few more business heavyweights who are outside of the political class standing up to the Quaxes, Woods and Brewers and publicly calling them out for their bankrupt argumentation. That will carry far more weight than Goff, Hulse, Darby et al putting their views forward.

  11. Peter that is not what happened. It is what will happened from here onwards. What happened was a ham-fisted attempt to have another crack at intensification through the back door annoyed so many people the Council ran like hell. Probably it has spooked them enough that a proper go at it will now be years away.

    1. I think it’s strange that people are more terrified by losing an election than putting home ownership out of reach for a generation of young people. It’s a hell of a legacy.

      1. When people eventually get their dream house they typically have all their wealth tied up in it. The idea someone will build an apartment building looking into their yard fills them with fear. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it in some places. But you have to sell that in the places you go with. For sprawl we evolved a process people understand. A future urban zone that protects the land until needed but also clearly marks where it will occur years in advance so people can sell and move or wait and sell for profit. Most people love that. We could do the same for intensification, a kind of future urban density zone. If people can see an upside they have an incentive to support it. But it has to be a transparent process not the rip shit nor bust approach the Council has engineered. That bust.

        1. We should not be holding our economy hostage to the fact that certain people choose to invest most of their savings in highly leveraged undiversified equity assets. That’s a risky proposition and everyone who engages in such activity should accept that. Like leveraging up to invest in the sharemarket.

          The RMA should be restricted to real effects, not effects on peoples asset values.

          1. The one thing I have learnt is it is always about property values. When their investment is threatened people suddenly become interested in snails or moths or badgers or birds or traffic or the safety of the kids up the road. Everyone is motivated by the money and if we want change we have to understand that and even use it to push the process. The Judge himself once wrote there are only two rules in planning: 1/ I can do anything I want on my property; 2/ My neighbours can’t do anything on theirs!

          2. It’s always about FEAR about house values. They are flat wrong that the UP would lower their property values or their local amenity. Fears have been very mischievously play upon in this. A master class, in fact.

          3. Exactly mfwic, and the naked greed is a scandal. If people want to argue for their own selfish reasons that is their business, what has annoyed most this week is they have used a trumped up argument to pretend they have the moral high ground.

        2. I think that’s a reasonable suggestion, and it’s something that I’ve thought a bit about.

          Status quo bias seems to be an incredibly powerful force in zoning discussions. Zoning simply *cannot* be inflexible in the face of all changes to the market, but people often act as though it *should* be. But a preexisting regulatory framework is not an inalienable right – imagine how fucked everything would be if we’d taken that approach with the import licensing regime!

          Setting long-term expectations for where and when zoning may change could be a useful corrective to status quo bias in zoning. But even if you do that, there *will* be some unanticipated changes. (Who thought Ponsonby would be in high demand forty years ago?) A flexible approach is always going to be needed to deal with those, and flexibility entails some limits to long-run certainty.

          1. We both accept that people respond to incentives. Yet the planning system doesn’t use that simple fact. My view for what it is worth is you do an RPS first to give muscle to intensification and use a bite and hold approach. Choose two or three small areas so the rest of Auckland doesn’t rebel and zone those as rings around stations (most stations have blighted land anyway). But then apply a future zone to other sensible areas. That would stop subdivision which makes intensification harder and allow site amalgamation with a countdown clause until the intensity kicks in. People could sell when it suits or hold out and put up with it. The biggest mistake is to annoy too many people at once. That was the motorway builders mistake- they would publish a centreline and tell people the motorway will be within 1/2 mile either side of this line. Talk about cause trouble for yourself! There is a path to intensification the only certain truth The council didnt follow it.

          2. That might be politically feasible but I’m not sure it addresses the underlying economic issues. The problem with only upzoning some limited areas is that it creates windfall gains for some property owners without necessarily putting them in competition with *other* places where people might jump in and develop faster. Thus the incentive to land-bank continues…

            You could get around this by tying rezoning of the “future zone” to price trends, but then that removes certainty around timing, which is a political risk.

            I think this is an area where economic logic and political logic are fundamentally in conflict. As an economist, that’s basically why I find it such an interesting area to look at.

          3. Its funny we are having such a big discussion about zoning. Zoning isn’t referred to anywhere in the RMA. Instead of rolling over what we had before, AC had the opportunity to think a little outside the box and ask the question as to whether the zoning model in the former District Plans was actually achieving what it was supposed to. Unfortunately not enough time was put into actually looking at the outcomes the previous plans had enabled. The PAUP could have excluded zones all together and relied more on a design based code or policy document.

  12. So basically Auckland will continue with the recipe that has it ranked as 3rd most livable city in the world?

    Oh, the humanity!

    Let’s be clear on what killed it – the council made last minute major and far-reaching changes with zero public consultation. They took arrogance too far.

    It was also a reminder of how dangerously close we are to slipping into old nasty habits of the past. Racism, sexism and ageism have been slowly fading over the past half century, then in swoops GenZero to remind us that such things can come back in the blink of an eye.

    1. As Matt has previous explained, the Council wasn’t making “major and far-reaching changes” – it was playing its required part in a hearings process. Everyone who wanted to sign up to participate in that process had a chance when the Unitary Plan was notified.

      The Generation Zero and Youth Board speakers at the Council meeting displayed grace and dignity in the face of hectoring and jeers from the gallery. If anyone’s displaying “ageism”, it’s not the young, who are only asking – respectfully – that they be afforded the same opportunities to own a home in their own city that previous generations enjoyed.

      1. I went to a shareholder meeting quite some years ago as a young twenty-something and spoke on behalf of a board member who was opposed for re-election. The jeers and outright bullying I received from the audience was a disgrace. This bullying and intimidating culture we have in NZ needs to be wound down.

      2. It was flying in the face of natural justice Peter and the public reacted as they should when a branch of government tries that shit. The real worry is how Gen Nada tried to turn it into some sort of battle of the cohorts, what a bunch of dicks!

        1. Yeah, how dare they advocate for increased supply in the midst of a home affordability crisis! What a bunch of tossers! They should just shut up and come back when they have more money.

          1. Peter every potentate has cheerleaders. If they want density they would be better of advocating for a process that can get that. Not advocating for the tyranny of Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan Committee

          2. Generation Zero and the community housing trust speaking at the meeting *were* advocating for a process that would lead to a plan that would enable more housing supply. That process is called the independent hearings on the Unitary Plan. They were arguing that the Council should stay involved in the process and ensure that their submissions, which called for broad rezoning to enable greater choice of affordable housing, are given a fair hearing.

            Your false assumption is that there is *not* a process underway to review the Unitary Plan. That’s just plain incorrect – the process has been underway for over two years at this point. In fact, *you* have been involved in it as a submitter and an expert witness, so why on earth are you suddenly arguing that the process doesn’t exist?

            Some people might be unaware of that process, but that’s mainly their fault. Not a valid complaint. It would be like me trying to relitigate the results of the 2014 election because I overslept and didn’t vote on the day.

          3. They were advocating that density changes be made two years after submissions closed! Great, we used to have a two stage process of council hearing and appeal, then we got the one step process we are in, and then Auckland council cheered on by twits wanted a no-step process of arbitrary regulations where you would have no chance to comment unless you happened to submit on something else 2 years ago. The Council had total control over the content of the PAUP as notified. They could have put the intensification in then. Even if they failed they could still have made a submission to their own plan asking for it, they failed. Generation Nil didn’t help their own cause trying to justify that type of abuse of power.

        2. Its not “the government vs the people”. There is symmetry in the desicions that need to be made. Ordinary people on both sides of the argument.

          1. The only issue was the government versus the people. The fact a few naive or misguided people showed up in support of an injustice doesn’t reduce the injustice. That they couldn’t grasp that simple fact is probably why people got fed up and shouted at them.

        3. It wasnt a breach of natural justice – they were following the statutory process set forth by central government. All AC was doing was submitting evidence based on submissions recieved. Id say an actual breach of natural justice was cause by those who never submitted on the plan in the first place being allowed to interefere with the process.

          1. Yes. Strangely, nobody seems to have considered natural justice for the multiple submitters – Gen Zero, CORT, Transportblog, the Minister for the Environment, etc – that made broad rezoning requests. Those people are now less likely to get a fair hearing.

            However, that’s entirely consistent with the Gen Zero and youth board reps being shouted down at the Wednesday Council meeting. It’s democracy for me but not for thee, I fear.

          2. The position of those submitters is the same as it was. There submission is exactly as they put in two years ago. They still have the same rights before the Panel they have always had. They are completely unaffected by the Council correcting their position to reflect the Governing Body’s view. If they have a complaint it is that this has happened after evidence was swapped and perhaps they relied on the Council case too much so should have a right to submit more evidence in support of their case.

          3. The issue, as I see it, is the governing body have made a desicion by relying completely on the councils definition of scope. It is a definition and method the council says they themselves dont believe so it is essentially nobodies definition of scope. The governing body could have said – “Hey you have used this “conservative” def of scope that you dont fully agree with. Lets leave it to the IHP to determime if in scope or not as we can always reject actual out of scope changes in the recommendations.” Or they could have asked for a preliminary desicion on scope from the IHP.

            The council has been conservative in determining scope. (One queston is wh they felt the need to do this given its not their desicion but thats another issue). That sounds reasonable in the context of the process as it flags lots of changes to the IHP that may or may not be out of scope for them to decide. Additionally, (in the absense of the governing body making desicions that turn on scope), the only effect of calling a change out of scope is to give people more appeal rights. But the governing body has based a desicion on the council work – an action noone who produced the maps envisaged. So its a desicion based on invalid information.

            Its a bit like a consultant putting some prelim drawings together for a bridge for pricing purposes and a contractor picking them up and building with them.

            The issue of if a submission is on the plan does need to be carefully balanced. You go too far one way and you deny people rights who didnt submit because they didnt think the proposed plan covered what was in the submission. But if you go too far the other way you reduce the rights of the primary submitters. Now you are right, the governing body hasnt actually ruled Gen Z etc submissions out of scope, but they have sent a message that that is whst they think. Will it affect what the IHP recommends? Quote possibly.

      3. That’s a bit disingenuous Peter – there have been many comments from GenZero members (and TB writers!) that the public consultation process has been dominated by “grey haired folk”. Every time a photo of a meeting is published, there are the comments – look at all the grey!

        Regarding your comment that young people just want the same opportunity to buy a home as their parents did – The UP may have slowed the growth in housing prices, but it was never going to deliver affordable housing. Such a thing is now history for Auckland. Over my back fence an affordable housing project is planned – tiny terraced houses twice the length of a car, to be priced between $450k and $625k. That’s NOT affordable. A $150k 3-bedroom house on a full sized section in Huntly, Wanganui or Gisborne is where you go for affordable housing. Buyers have the choice of any price range they want.

        If you want NZ to return to how things were 50 years ago, when we had the highest standard of living in the world, affordable housing everywhere, and wages comparable with the best in the world, then we need to start a major decentralisation project, and get the country running along the lines of how it did 50 years ago. Get employment and manufacturing back into the provinces would be a good place to start. First home buyers will then enjoy the same benefits their parents and grandparents did.

        1. First, making factual statements about the demographics of meetings isn’t bigotry. It’s just pointing out the bleeding obvious, which is that people under 40 are hardly represented in the conversation.

          Second, housing supply (including supply of many apartments) works to bring down prices; it’s just that we haven’t tried it. It’s been over a decade since Auckland was building at a sufficient rate to keep up with demographic growth. Meanwhile, cities that are building faster are experiencing flattening or reducing prices: http://www.vox.com/2015/12/23/10657690/seattle-housing-crisis

          Third, state regulation and subsidies to promote decentralisation were an expensive failure, and they didn’t exactly forestall rapid urban growth. In fact, Auckland was growing at a faster rate during the 50s and 60s than it is now: http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2014/08/29/new-zealand-cant-put-the-urban-genie-back-in-its-bottle/

        2. Affordable housing has to take into account the cost of the land and house as well as the cost of travel to/from work etc. Which makes a low priced house in the middle of nowhere just as unaffordable as one in the city if you can’t get a long term job in the low cost area.

    2. “Let’s be clear on what killed it – the council made last minute major and far-reaching changes with zero public consultation. They took arrogance too far.”

      I agree with Geoff here. I don’t know who decided to avoid consultation – probably the officials who love to do that – but they are the ones responsible for this.

      The fact that elected officers have allowed the officials to ride rough-shod over them for years hasn’t helped.

  13. I attended the second half of the unitary plan debate. I would have liked to have chatted with a few afterwards but they seemed to be a bit snobbish (including the media types such as Hickey, although maybe they don’t like talking to riff-raff).

    I was annoyed with the outcome but I moved into the city a few years ago and as I walked home along the cobbled paths of Elliot Street I began thinking I’m glad of where I live in the cbd with all the wonderful services, the waterfront, ferries. I guess people in the suburbs are also trying to protect their patch (and maybe property values, for some).

    The cbd is probably the only area where intensification is allowed to continue without opposition. There are lots of apartment buildings on the rise. Let them have their sleepy cove suburbs and we”ll have our fast growing and developing cbd area where the excitement is happening. Don’t bother with the old suburbs, young people. All the traffic hubs and services are in the city.

    By the way, Christine Fletcher, have some conscience when you say there would not be one councillor who is against intensification. Really? In all honesty? I call BS on that one!

  14. Auckland needs to ACT NOW to stop a situation like San Francisco or London from happening. You have to kill the problem early otherwise once it begins to bite, it is far too late!

    Land Value Tax on properties – this causes NIMBYs to push themselves into higher tax brackets if they exclude development in their area. It can also fund construction subsidies (you might want those in specific cases – i.e. to fund social housing, or as a general subsidy if you really end up like San Francisco)

    Allow more housing to be built. Work up another CBD at Manukau or other satellite cities.

  15. Peter’s brief explanation is extremely simplistic – the Auckland Plan and the RPS (Regional Policy Statement, which is the high level part of the Unitary Plan) both set out to accommodate 30 years growth but the rules in the Proposed Unitary Plan fall substantially short of that goal – probably sufficient for the next 10 years growth. So the Hearings Panel formally wrote to Council seeking its thoughts on how best to fix that significant discrepency. Hence the proposed changes announced late last year which would have largely addressed the gap but kicked off the public angst about the process (making any last minute change effectively denies many affected property owners a chance to submit – best estimate is just under 30,000). So Council has withdrawn part of its evidence relating to upzoning of the 30,000 properties but this does not mean an end to all upzoning. The panel still has to address the gap alluded to above in making its final recomendations to Council which are required by law to be produced by 22nd July. So the vote on Wednesday will have an impact on the process but will probably have less impact on the final outcome than many fear, though there is now more uncertainty about the outcome.

    1. The 30,00 home owners had the chance to submit, twice, on the draft and propsoed versions supporting or opposing the propsoed zoning of their land. By not submitting, they effectively chose to not have a seat at the table when making the decision. This is set out in the RMA. If they feel like they should now be entitled they could have applied to the IHP or environment court and prove why they should now be allowed to enter the process. While this may seem confusing for the lay person – they have a bloody retired “town planner” as their spokesman and chief who should have been more than capable of explaning this situation to them time and again. We cannot keep stopping a process because someone who decided not to take part now wants to play – we will get nothing done if we allow this kind of nonsense.

      1. Is the failure to submit a consequence of the complexity of the plan and the difficulty for mere mortals who don’t have a degree in town planning or geography to understand it?

        Or could it be a result of the time poor society in which we are forced to live

    2. “the Hearings Panel formally wrote to Council seeking its thoughts on how best to fix that significant discrepency. ”

      Graeme, can you point us to that document? Would help anchor some conversations elsewhere.

  16. I am disappointed with the outcome. Well I’m another young person locked out of the market. So am still living in my dads house.
    And the house is full of flattys and I have spent a lot renovating it. And upgrading the hot water system to keep up with the 7 adults living hea.
    Anyway my neighbour has a 1120m2 section and he has offered my dad money to buy part of our property many times but we also want to split our section as well. Ours is a bit bigger at 1180 m2, but we can’t as you currently need a minimum of 600m2 per section in this area.
    So It seams cramming people into a house is the future of Auckland.
    So maybe we should build houses to accommodate this. With less of a lounge but much larger bedrooms all with en-suites, no common bathroom and no master bedroom. And no built in garage. And maybe more then one kitchen.
    So we should say good buy to the family home.

  17. Peter – see my comment on the previous post. The council’s evidence base was very poor from the start and I blame the staff and the consultants for this farce more than the councilors.
    Yet most are still some how embedded in the process?

  18. “The underlying issue is that Auckland’s home prices are really, really high, and rising rapidly. Rents are also rising faster than incomes. That’s great news for people who already own homes,…” as a severe restriction on future land supply will make sure construction costs are kept high and few new dwellings are built.

    “…but terrible for everyone who doesn’t. The housing affordability crisis is particularly bad for young people and low-income households, who may be renting or trying to save up to buy a home. These people directly bear the costs of rising prices.” Transportblog supports up zoning so that people can possibly build apartments for affordable living, but it is of only marginal usefulness until construction costs are brought down.

    “Residential zoning rules determine how many homes can be built in the city.” But the degree of profitability in construction determines the rate at which building happens.

    This kerfuffle was of mere theoretical value. If Auckland’s construction costs were reasonable the ramifications of the decision would be immense, but they aren’t so a kerfuffle it remains.

  19. SDW and others have misunderstood what “out of scope” means. It is not particularly helpful to criticise nearly 30,000 property owners for not making a submission in early 2014 against proposed changes that were adopted by Council 22 months later. If your property was not unduly affected by the PAUP (PROPOSED Auckland Unitary Plan) as promulgated in September 2013 – i.e. your property was either not proposed for upzoning at all or only to the extent that you felt was acceptable – then you would quite reasonably not have felt the need to make a submission at that time, or at least not a submission in opposition to the then proposed zoning of your particular property. While there was no deliberate attempt to subvert natural justice, that was the effect. Almost 30,000 properties now affected (long after submissions closed in early 2014) were legally caught out by the recent proposals – neither able to make a late submission, nor having any right of appeal when the plan becomes operative in about 6 months. The process has unfortunately been mucked up and Wednesdays decision to withdraw the “out of scope” changes cannot put the genie back in the bottle so has only compounded the confusion.

    1. I didnt say they should have submitted against the council Dec 2015 zoning changes in 2014. Re read what I said. They should have just submitted in support if they liked what was being zoned. It would have literally taken them less than 5 minuters to do so. The RMA and its processes have been around for 25 years more or less in the same form, there have been countless plans, plan changes and resurce consents where this process has been established. They could have rung up council or visited an office and asked how to submit or what it was about. they could have to gone to any number of public meetings explaining the process and the plan. It appears that despite all this many chose not to. It seems more like a case of wilful ignorance than any breach of natural justice.

      1. You are completely right and totally wrong. Right that people had the opportunity, but completely wrong that there would have been a reasonable expectation that they needed to submit in support of the PAUP. If it had been reasonable there would have been c 400,000 submissions (ie at least one from each household), but there was only c 13,000.

    2. “your property was either not proposed for upzoning at all or only to the extent that you felt was acceptable”

      Why would anyone be upset that a restriction on what they can do with their property is to be eased? Seems more likely that they are bent out of shape over the prospect that at a restriction on what their neighbours can do with their properties is what has them foaming at the mouth. In that respect they are NIMNBYs; not in my neighbours back yards.

  20. You will never build enough houses to satisfy speculator demand. If the few (investors) didn’t have the many (properties) there would not be so many of the problems we see today. Tax speculation out of business then build more otherwise we are simply pissing into the wind trying to sort this out!

    1. That’s simply not true. If Auckland built an oversupply of investment properties then rents would come down dramatically. The real investors would decide to get out of the market and there would be a lot of houses on the market and prices would drop. Then the speculators would also leave the market.

      1. How much building would be an “oversupply” when NZ’s laws and regulations are set to attract an unlimited flow of untaxed speculative overseas money?

        1. Assuming those people aren’t moving to NZ then an oversupply would be more investment properties than renters in which case rent will come down dramatically. I don’t think there are many in investment or speculation that don’t care about rent – some but not many.

      2. Jimbo’s totally correct. Building more properties to serve absentee investor demand would reduce rents, which are currently rising at double-digit rates in some parts of the city.

        1. Not talking about foreign buyers, just foreign money, mostly via our Australian banks. Aren’t there already more than 20,000 empty ‘investment properties’ in this region?

          1. John took a look at the “vacant property” issue last year. Auckland is well within the range observed in other NZ regions, suggesting that speculators leaving houses vacant is not a major issue: http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2015/05/28/are-vacant-homes-adding-to-aucklands-housing-shortage/

            Keep in mind that:
            1. The areas with the highest rates of vacant dwellings on Census day are places like Omaha, Piha, and Waiheke where people have baches.
            2. There will always be a certain rate of temporary vacancies in a well functioning housing market. For example, my grandma’s former home has been vacant for about a month and a half – simply because there was a time lag between the sale and settlement date. Similarly, the flat below us was vacant for about two months last year because new owners were renovating it before letting it out.

      3. Ordinarily you’d be right but construction of new homes has been outstripped by demand, just enough to allow prices to continue up, supply and demand etc. Because of that high-end houses are the focus, be it expensive one bedders or detached multi room homes.

        The shortage of builders and decent builders at that plus a shortage of land and investors hoovering up existing stock means there would have to be an extraordinary and probably unprecedented construction period, all of which I do not foresee, given competition with the glacial slow Christchurch rebuild that is taking excess logistics like builders and the fact this government cannot think outside the square on this subject. Simply put the status quo looks to be the model and its real good for business. Hence, as it is, supply and even a bit more than is current suits the speculators nicely!

  21. A couple of points:

    1) What do we make of Simon Wilson’s argument in Metro (http://www.metromag.co.nz/city-life/simon-wilsons-auckland/the-miserables-of-kohimarama/) that this result IMPROVES the chances for intensification? His argument seems to be that because the Council gave a little, the NIMBYs won’t have enough justification to support a complete Council overhaul this term. That Darby, Lee and Casey saved their seats by retreating on this issue, so they won’t be overthrown by hard-core NIMBYs and be able to push on for intensification next term. Not sure I buy it.

    2) I would like to issue a warning to all those who want to “stop immigration” to Auckland. I am a migrant. I came from Wellington rather than Tanzania or Thailand, but I’m still not blood-and-soil JAFA. You try to exclude migrants, I feel personally attacked.

    1. The “stop immigration” stuff is just racism. It is about restricting mostly Asian and Indian investment in Auckland’s housing stock. It is getting more visible, particularly on the North Shore. The whole thing is a bunch of old, white racists who think that diferent housing typologies will allow different types of people into their areas, and that these different people will be different races or different classes (or both). Sit through a few hearings on submissions for any kind of more intensive development in the “leafy suburbs” and you will see what I mean.

    2. I admire Simon’s optimism about this, but probably disagree on the politics of it. In July, the Panel will come back with a recommendation on zoning, and Council will have to vote it up or down. It’s going to be hard for them to vote up any of the alleged “out of scope” changes they just refused to consider. This raises the risk that the final plan will either (a) be too conservative to make a difference or (b) be turned down by Council, with resulting regulatory uncertainty.

      That being said, there is a lot of good stuff in the version of the Unitary Plan that Council proposed – e.g. the introduction of a terraced housing and apartment block zone, removal of MPRs from centres, and reductions in minimum lot size rules in various areas of the city. So it’s not a total write-off. But my worry is that that this episode will reduce the odds that we can improve it in the future.

      1. Isn’t it likely that it will be just as impossible in July for the sane Councillors to get a majority as it was this week? The election will be just around the corner, the impressive level of threat and harassment of Councillors like Darby and W Walker organised by the disinformation wing of the 2040 anti-housing lobby will be emboldened and re-doubled, won’t it?

        So we need to explore what are the consequences of the Council refusing to ratify ANY version of UP from the IHP?

        These people truly hate Brown and Council and have had 6 years of resentment building to a frenzy and would never endorse a plan under his leadership if it proposed bulldozing everything over 2 stories immediately….

      2. At that time, I think the IHP will have made its judgment about scope, which may be quite different to the councils. It would be very interesting if the same changes came back from the IHP but they were marked in scope.

    3. Nobody is suggesting stopping domestic migration. This is going to happen and is part of the natural flow of things in an economy. International migration particularly of the low value non-developed country kind is simply just ramping up prices in Auckland and making housing unaffordable for kiwis (yes there are multiple reasons by why add one more large one that we can easily control?).

  22. What a lot of brouhaha.
    It is called democracy – 21 elected councillors change their minds and vote against a plan and planning process, that they setup a few years ago.
    Yes I wonder what they have been doing in the meantime?
    But they realised that a lot of property owners did not like the plan and so the Councillors voted against presenting it to the Planning Commissioners (who are not democratically elected).
    Oh dear I am confused and it has been said before – “it is democracy but not as I know it” – some Greek fellow!

    1. This is the kind of ignorance that has flooded in to fill the vacuum because Council’s so called “Communications and Marketing” department has no political insight. There is nobody there who has a “Fox News Filter” – the ability to look at something and ask “what is the worst spin that some lying scumbag will put onto this for their own political purposes, and how do we mitigate against that ?” Think how Sarah Palin and Fox News turned end of life counselling cover in Obamacare into “Death Panels” who were going to decide when you, or your Granny died.
      Communications failed miserably 3 years ago over the 3 levels question and they learned nothing from it. It was left to this Blog, and good people like Julie Fairey to do the hard yards of explanation of what was and was not changing and what the process was actually about. Unfortunately such small drips of sense were washed away in the tide of ignorance. Not helped by the removal of the change maps from the Council website, and the absolute impossibility of finding any real information on that website to counter or bolster any arguement.
      Colossal fail!

      1. Yes this is right, and ironically this actually shows how little the Council leaders spin things; ‘out of scope’, for example, is clearly an unadulterated phrase from the legal team. Unfiltered by comms in the slightest.

        There ironies in this kerfuffle are limitless.

        1. Possibly not even legal speak – that is Planner speak. Planners are trained to be cautious. Where there is uncertainty – we assess the worst case scenario. However, no Comms person seems to have asked the obvious question – do you understand the implications of this approach?

  23. I agree with Peter Nunns comments.

    Personally, Auckland is starting to lose the plot. The reality is, like Wellington, Auckland has geographical constraints, so any growth has to be either expend north and south and become NZ’s version of a ‘mega’ city, with all the problems associated with it or go up wards,

    NZ can not afford to keep pouring money into a bottomless pit at the expense of rest of NZ. House prices have risen 7% in Hamilton, 9% in Tauranga and 13% in Whangarei in the last 12 months and will continue rise sharply, as Auckland ‘economic’ refugees move south and north for cheaper housing.

    Auckland needs to go upwards. If the baby boomer NIMBIES want their nice Auckland plot of land and don’t want to have a 2, 3, 4 or 5 storey apartments or town houses next to them, tuff. If Auckland can not sort its self out, like now, the long term social problems are will grow. The warning signs are showing.

    Auckland has become a victim of its own success.

      1. How is it an over blown fear?

        The fact is, Auckland is restricted geographically. Unless Auckland grows upwards, it has to grow outwards, which is north and south. By doing this, you have urban sprawl which creates huge infrastructure costs and who’s is pay for that?

        As mentioned, Auckland is victim of its own success to the point that the baby boomer NIMBIES are going to fight it protect they patch of Auckland ‘paradise’, young people are going to the regions to find affordable housing due to grossly inflated house prices, more money is going to be spent on building infra-structure and an slum like poverty under bully is slowly coming to the surface.

        If the Government is hinting to Auckland Council to get it sorted or they will setup in, then something is horribly wrong with Auckland.

        As a taxpayer, there other important things that need to done in the rest of NZ instead pouring millions of precious taxpayer money to the a bottomless pit called Auckland.

        1. Sorry kris I should have been clearer; the fear that is overblown is that people’s current lives and property values will be negatively affected by the PAUP. Quite the contrary in fact.

          And I know because I live in a ‘leafy’ area that has the [very good] fortune to be adjacent to Victorian era industrial land, which, because of this existing use and zoning has already been developed into 4 stories terrace houses, 3 story apartments, and retail. This recent change has significantly improved the amenity and value of the surrounding detached house neighbourhood. And yes many of my neighbours tried very hard to prevent these new residents from being able live near us out fear, fears exactly like the ones that ooze out of the Burton’s crooked mouth. Now no-one has the smallest complaint. There is no ‘overlooking’ problem [other regulations about set backs etc take care of that], the new retail amenity and people on the street are great. And more younger people around, which is great…. I could go on.

          It’s all whipped up fear.

  24. Ok I am a Jonny come lately. I’d like to understand this better.
    So….the Auckland Plan sets a 60:40 vision for intensified growth compared to greenfield. Presumably what the council tabled late last test was an attempt to achieve that having finally realised that the unitary plan as notified was way short on where it needed to be (poor planning evidence base).
    Now what happens if the unitary plan is only enabling say 50:50? Is it then failing to deliver on the higher order Auckland plan? Does the council need to redo the Auckland plan and go for more greenfield to compensate?

  25. Sorry autocorrect on phone. ‘Test’ should read year.
    Fundamentally my question is where do things stand if there is a fundamental mismatch – the unitary plan does not deliver on the Auckland plan?
    Surely the IHP will need to seriously take that into account?
    But….if the extra 20,000 properties are out of scope how does the IHP reconcile that and try to get the capacity where it needs to be? Is that not a fundamental problem?
    They would have to go a lot denser on the sites already zoned for higher density?

    Presumably large new greenfield locations cannot be introduced either as that would be out of scope too?

    So…the big big question for me is where do they make up for the lost capacity now?

    To these eyes, the whole thing seems totally screwed. I think the govt should step in and try and sort the unholy mess out. Start with getting a team of competent planners who understand urban development economics and dynamics.

      1. More cryptic planning speak? What does that mean. Presumably 70/30 at best, 60:40 at worst?
        I’m still very interested in knowing how even 60:40 can be achieved without those extra 20,000 properties…

    1. The Unitary plan doesn’t have to deliver the Auckland Plan goals at all. The Auckland Plan was required by a different Act so the Unitary Plan has to consider it but isn’t required to achieve the Auckland Plan. Just as well really as the Council duffed the Auckland Plan completely. If we had a separate Regional Policy statement and district Plan (both under the RMA) then the District Plan would have to be consistent with the RPS. That is probably why the Panel wrote to the council and noted the Councils notified maps didnt deliver the Councils position on the RPS part of the Unitary plan. so the council tried to fix that by promoting specific zone changes that were not requested specifically by any submission. That was the sore point. The Council has backed down so it will be up to the Panel to try and make some sense of it all. One option they have is note the problem and recommend the council address it later. Alternatively they could recommend a bunch of out of scope changes as the law allows the panel to do that. It all depends on how they see their own role. Deciders on matters before them or activists empowered to create a consistent plan.

      1. They will have to decide if in or out of scope first. If in scope they wouldnt be being activists just deciding on submissions.

        1. That’s true they could say all the Council changes were in scope and recommend them, or they could say they are out of scope and even though the Council has changed stance the Panel could still recommend them. Neither of those were what I was thinking of. I was really meaning the Panel has the power to do something else that none of us have seen- the law does allow that but of course it would be problematic.

      2. Thanks that helps my understanding. Critically, based on what you just said, the IHP can make out of scope recommendations unlike a usual RMA process. But of course the council has the final say??!!

        1. Yes the council can accept of reject the Panel recommendation. If they reject they have to replace it with something else and anyone affected gets an appeal to the Environment Court. If they accept then that’s mostly that. Unless you have a point of law or process to take to the High Court.

          1. Presumably the government could and probably would appeal if the council’s decision was for a unitary plan that is not sufficiently enabling.

      3. Thanks Lindsey it’s quite a good piece. But he is majorly wrong on one point. It is far far more than the poor getting pushed away from home ownership. It is also very much the middle.

    1. My understanding is that the IHP is not the govt. The govt is represented in submissions by HNZ and presumably ministry for environment?

      1. yes but the IHP is part of the government approved process, the I stands for Independent. It is a judicial process, and the judiciary is of course a creature of the state, but also crucially above and outside of it…. in theory.

  26. Shamubeel Eaqub needs to get into his car, onto a bus or hop onto his bike (or whatever) and see exactly where the high rises that he is advocating are actually being built in Auckland – in the so called leafy inner suburbs populated by the so-called old rich people who he decries, but probably secretly wishes he was one of them. Drive down Remuera Road and count them – or will need more than your fingers and toes. I recently worked on one development off Remuera Road where a villa with a swimming pool was bowled and 13 – that’s right – two storied apartments were built, and just around the corner was a similar development. Where the apartments aren’t being built is on the transport corridors, and when they do, they are closed within a year or so because they have to be rebuilt (New North Road Morningside, for example). As someone has pointed out, the land that could be used for high density housing is being filled with used car lots, so what say we concentrate on that land first, because the so-called older rich people are already doing their part.

  27. OK, it’s time! Lets get Generation Zero behind this and get Patrick Reynolds on the ballet for Mayor! Have the rest of Transport Blog and Gen Zero run for council!

  28. I am all for intensification and I’m in a zone that does just that however I am also wanting to look after myself. Unless someone offered a substantial amount of money for my property why would I want to move ? My current thinking is I hold the land until I reach retirement as this type of land should increase more than single dwelling land.

    1. That is exactly how it works. If your property is zoned for more intensive use, it doesn’t *require* you to do anything, but it gives you the option to develop (or sell to someone who wants to develop) in the future. I think a lot of people may have missed this rather fundamental point.

      1. That’s what I think is partly wrong with the “natural justice” arguments in this. Natural justice is important and public bodies need to be extremely careful to consult and give appeal rights when someone is having something taken from them – like if their house is being compulsorily acquired for a highway, or if they are having tighter restrictions placed on their property. But if someone’s property is being upzoned they are having restrictions removed from their property and are being given an option they didn’t have before.

        Many of the “out of scope” upzonings came about because a neighbouring property had requested an upzoning. Giving an “out of scope” zoning to the adjacent property means that that property owner now has the same development options as the in scope upzoned neighbour. The worst possible result for a property owner would be to have their neighbour upzoned but not to be given the same option themselves. But according to the anti-housing crowd apparently this would better serve “natural justice”.

        1. Exactly my understanding of ‘out of scope’, a series of changes resulting from other conditions, precisely for equity and fairness reasons.

          A terrible sounding but simply technocratic descriptor, of a step in the journey, unfortunately open to wild scaremongering. As we have seen.

          So it goes.

        2. That was what was so weird about the complaints about the “rule of law” during the hearing. The point of the rule of law is that laws should apply objectively based on the facts of the case, not arbitrarily on certain persons. Which is exactly what spot zoning would be.

          The point of the changes was to avoid spot zoning, and thus enhances the rule of law. Exactly what the IHP (rightly) said was required. Now we end up with a situation where the council is asking for the rules to be different based on the identity of the people involved (i.e. whether or not they submitted), rather than objective facts about the location.

          Although the statutory process isn’t great, the approach the IHP and council have taken have been strongly based in the rule of law – determine the broad principles first, then apply them in accordance with the principles.

          I wonder if this might not be a way forward for urban planning reform, too. There wouldn’t be *any* geographically-defined base zones, just overlays, viewshafts, and the like. Development controls would be based on formula, based on objective facts – e.g. whether the property is in a recognised flood zone, how far it is from a town centre, that sort of thing.

          This would also focus the discussion over value judgements in district plans to be about the general principles (like how close to a town centre intensification should happen), rather than arguing about how they should apply to specific properties. For specific properties, you’d only be talking about objective (litigatable) facts, like flood zones, proximity, the historic use of the site, that sort of thing.

          In fact, that would be more in the spirit of the RMA than what we have now.

          1. This is a good post. I agree about the rule of law. One of the things that I was encouraged about when these zoning proposals came out last year was that it was more in line with the principle of the rule of law than I have previously considered planning to be.

          2. Yes, thanks to Stephen and Frank for clearly articulating some of the “rule of law” issues at play. I agree that it’s important to make public policy based on some consistent, interrogable principles – doing otherwise creates a high risk of arbitrary outcomes.

  29. Do you think people have also tended to miss the fact that higher density zoned land tends to accrue higher land value?
    There seems to be a (incorrect) perception that it will kill property values.

  30. Many of those opposing growth and intensification (and immigration) have done very well for themselves out of all these things over the last 20-30 years. They’ve seen demand and markets grow for things they may be producing, or work they are doing. They’ve seen their house prices rise in unprecedented fashion. But now they say that young Aucklanders can’t enjoy those same benefits. Personally, I find this absolutely sickingly self interested and hypocritical.

    They also forget that many of them will need nurses and care workers in their old age. Where are people in those areas going to be able to afford to live? Well, they won’t live here, or they will live here and live a miserable existence of basically servitude, with little money left over (after rent) to have any real enjoyment in life. But most of these NIMBYs probably don’t care one bit about that. How about teachers of their dear grandchildren? Will they be able to afford to live here? Will the best and brightest therefore continue to avoid education as a career? At the cost of our children and future?

    These people need perspective. As others have said, whole streets WILL NOT change over night. Change will be incremental, and controls are in place to take the hard edges off any potential impacts. Most suburbs will not see anything remotely approaching high rise – it will be 2 storeys, or sometimes three. The zoning changes will lead to increases in property values, not decreases. Work done by Westpac economists suggests that the Unitary Plan has already been a significant factor in increasing values over the last year.

    Please, NIMBYs, get some perspective and try and expand your limited mindset to something beyond your own self interest.

    1. Tom I agree with the above however the last line does not match what goes before it. Isn’t the point [which you make well] more:

      ‘Please NIMBYs, understand that allowing new people and new dwelling options for them and you into the city and your neighbourhood is exactly in your self-interest’

      For both your personal wealth and welfare!

      These facts have been buried under the avalanche of misinformation and fearful emotional reaction.

    1. Isn’t it basically just more of the same thing we’ve done for the past half-century? Auckland is already very linear, with satellite centres up and down SH1 and town centres organised around rapid transit. If it hasn’t worked so far, why on earth would anyone expect that it would work better in the future?

      1. Yes, I see it as more of the same too. A vibrant city centre is in my opinion the biggest asset any city can have. That vibrancy I think is closely correlated to its density. Suburbs/suburban malls/satellite centres detract from that. If you couple a high density city with an easy 1 hour drive to get out into the small towns/wide open spaces – all the better to my mind.

    2. Investment in PT would be one of the key factors. It is much cheaper and more efficient to provide high quality PT for higher density inner suburbs than it is for lo density satellite centres 50-70km away. Given how difficult it has been to get money for the former what is going to change to get the additional investment needed for the latter? Most likely the investment is PT won’t be adequate. we will end up paying more for roads and will have more congestion and the cost of infrastructure in general will be higher than expected too.

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