The NZ Herald’s been running a series on Auckland’s housing affordability crisis. The articles thus far have ranged from thoughtful and thought-provoking to downright imbecilic – such as a mortgage broker’s suggestion that young people could afford homes if they gave up their Sky subscription. I think there’s a Tui ad for that.

One of the best bits, however, is the interactive map of housing affordability that data journalist Caleb Tutty put together. Here it is in animated gif form:

The map shows the share of properties sold within each suburb over the last year that you’d be able to afford, depending upon how much of a deposit you’d saved up.

For example, here’s what the affordability map looks like if you have $100,000 in the bank. Under current bank lending policies you can borrow 80% of the house value, meaning that your deposit will buy you a half-million dollar house. Observe how the vast majority of the city is coloured red, indicating that the majority of properties would be beyond your reach.

NZH home affordability map $100k deposit

Incidentally, a $100,000 deposit is a prohibitively large sum for most young Aucklanders. According to Stats NZ data on incomes, in 2015 the median pre-tax weekly income for Aucklanders in their late 20s (25-29) was $729, or around $38,000 a year. Income taxes take about $5,700 of that sum, leaving $32,300 to provide for the necessities and save for a deposit. (On average, people in their early 30s earn a bit more – $901 per week – but that doesn’t close the gap.)

Consequently, the average young Aucklander would have to save something like one-third of their after-tax income for ten years in order to afford a deposit on a half-million dollar home. So in other words, if you’re young, you’re probably screwed no matter how thrifty or prudent you are… unless your parents are wealthy and generous.

However, there are some tentative bright spots in this rather disheartening picture. To illustrate, I’ve reduced the deposit to $70,000, which is still pretty onerous but not impossible for young people. That would allow you to buy a home worth $350,000. Here’s the map. Now the entire city is shaded a deeply unaffordable red. You can hardly buy anything anywhere. The isthmus is red. The North Shore is red. The Waitakeres are red. Manukau is red. You can’t even afford to live in Otara or Manurewa.

NZH home affordability map $70k deposit

But if you zoom in closer, you’ll notice that there is still a solitary green patch of affordability in the middle. The majority of apartment sales in the city centre are still in your price range! You can afford 55% of the properties sold in the city centre or in neighbouring Grafton. (Manukau central is the next most affordable place – just under half of the dwellings sold there are cheaper than $350,000. But there are fewer homes there.)

NZH home affordability map city centre

Prices in the city centre aren’t necessarily cheap in an absolute sense – but it nonetheless offers many more options for a young buyer seeking to buy a starter home than anywhere else in Auckland.

Why is this?

It’s not because demand to live in the city centre is low. Its residential population has quadrupled since 2001 – a rate of increase that far outstrips the rest of the city. Today, there are more people living in the Auckland city centre than there are in Whanganui.

City Centre Population - 1996-2015 2

What sets the city centre apart isn’t low demand but high supply responsiveness: the city centre has stayed affordable because lot of apartments have been built there. This includes a mix of expensive apartments and small, affordable apartments to meet a range of different demands for space. Former All Blacks coach Graham Henry is moving into a luxury apartment in the Viaduct Harbour, while there are many students on low incomes living a bit further up the hill.

These maps show one simple thing: Building lots of apartments works. The one place in the city where we’ve allowed it to happen – the city centre – is now the most affordable place in the city.

There’s nothing that special about the city centre. It’s hardly the only place in the city where it’s physically possible or commercially feasible to build apartments. We could allow the same thing to happen in a lot of places, and reap the benefits.

This doesn’t mean a high-rise building on every street. It’s possible to build lots of apartments while keeping building heights to a quite human scale – three to seven storeys, say. This is the model that’s worked well in a lot of European cities. Like this new neighbourhood in Freiburg, Germany:

Source: Celsias
Source: Celsias

It’s also a model that allowed fast-growing New World cities to develop and prosper a century ago – as this excellent article from Bike Portland points out. This is the type of building that we used to build:

Source: Bike Portland

So what’s the holdup?

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  1. What concerns me about the apartments that have been built in the central city area – and I’ll draw a circle taking in Morningside – is the large number that are having to be rebuilt after less than five years. While there is constant noise about having to build more homes, they have to be built to a standard, and if that means having to wait for qualified people to build them then so be it.

    1. my understanding is that this is a myth: Stand-alone dwellings were just as affected by poor building standards and materials as apartments. It’s simply that you don’t notice houses being fixed because they’re spread out around the suburbs. But an apartment building in the city centre that is completely wrapped in plastic is very noticeable.

      1. Yip. I know of a $1.5M+ (build cost in 2003) stand alone house that was levelled and started again as it was going to be even more costly to try and fix.

    2. Weathertightness issues do affect a lot of apartments, but also a lot of other homes from that era… and while they can certainly be expensive to fix, it’s still a long way short of rebuilding completely. $50,000 might be a typical repair cost, although these can range all over the place…

    3. Honestly, there was a major problem with building standards for all types of homes. There still is, but it’s mostly been dealt with.

      The worst thing to do however is to say that “well some apartment buildings had problems, therefore we should not build anymore”.

  2. Importantly too, people in these dwellings have significantly lower transport costs, especially than those choosing to live in Huntly or whereever and committing to daily mega commutes. More spare cash for living and more free time to enjoy it. No wonder they are booming.

  3. A progressive land value tax would internalise the cost of NIMBY.

    People who were successful at blocking development in their area would raise their property prices and thus push themselves into higher and higher land value tax brackets.

    Land tax also promotes density and efficient use of land.

    1. The government really needs to make some law changes to sort out BC fees because they are out of control and a major negative to both owning an apartment and also getting a mortgage as banks see it as a negative also.

      1. In what way are they out of control? Do you think committee members are eating in fine dining lounges on your dollar? Do people think it’s just a ‘fee’ that they are charged arbitrarily?

        Have you done a 10 year budget for your home maintenance, based on an assessment of the actual work that needs to be done?
        Will you never clean or paint the exterior of your house?
        Do you have a predefined budget for daily maintenance tasks on your property?
        Do you have home insurance?

        I suggest having a look at some AGM notes sometime – there is a long list of expenses and budgeting for future costs. This results in a total amount of money that is split between units, usually based on proportional size of the building. Do you suggest that buildings do not do this? That the government steps in and sets a fixed rate and buildings begin to fall into ruin?

        1. The BC law changes are about good governance, not reigning in costs. The BC costs are very real with maintenance typically being a lot more expensive if you need to support elevators, repainting and façade work.

          I have a little bank account setup to budget funds for the BC fees. Even with this we may get some surprise bills.

        2. “The BC law changes are about good governance, not reigning in costs. ”
          Well some of them do think they are reigning.

        3. They are out of control in that some are reasonable and in well maintained properties whilst others are 2-3x the amount for a similar apartment and building for no apparent reason.

      2. I think a lot of house owners put off maintenance costs. Body Corporate are legally obliged to budget for them. Mine are a bit over five grand which includes five yearly painting of the building, insurance and water rates, and lower rates than a surban house (albeit less space).

        1. That’s super-cheap, when you compare the cost of maintaining a house which is substantially more than that – many home owners underestimate the costs they pay in maintenance.

    2. Was waiting for someone to mention Body Corp fees. These often add around $100 a week to most half decent apartments, even the suburbs are high, for example the Alto in Avondale is $5k per year. Then on top of that if it’s laeky down the track you get hit with your share of a building you can’t sell your apartment in. Nothings easy.

      1. Should be. Some expenses with apartment towers (and low/med rise too some times). Lifts and fire systems add to BC expenses but the flip side is the much lower maintenance – less painted surfaces etc. If looking at apartments and terraces with body corps, make sure they have a sinking fund and there is a long term maintenance plan. Don’t opt for cheapest.

        1. Rates are a bugbear of mine. Paying the same for our 2brm terrace as we were for 4 brm bungalow on 1,300sq/m before. Now I understand we really use the same services as before so really it makes sense but then valuation is lower etc. And if we,want to incentivise higher density, there’s a pointer.

      2. As Bryce says they should be. Most apartments are in the 50-80m2 range compared to most detached houses being 120-200m2. You also have more land on a detached dwelling which is where most of the additional cost is.

  4. Imagine if the entire length of Dominion Rd was 5-7 stories with shops on the ground floor. By my reckoning that would allow for about 12,000 medium 2 Bedroom apartments (or enough to house about 30,000). Double or triple that if the buildings behind were also developed.

    1. A lot of people don’t think about maintenance costs when they buy a house, and can be in the position to defer repair work. BC costs are set and required every month so the ability to defer until you have the money is not possible. But I agree that the costs are typically lower, however this may not prove true for poorly constructed apartment buildings.

    2. Absolutely true, and then you’ve also got utilities – commonly the bc buys at a bulk rate and then can either bill tenants at a lower rate or recover the saving and put it into the pot for maintenance etc.

  5. Do the commenters here have the opportunity to write for the NZ Herald? It seems like a waste to have such an excellent and informative resource like this only available to those that think to look for it.

  6. I would say the 350k apartment is either small, leaky, high body corp, poorly sound insulated, poorly constructed, doggy management contract, or the all of the above.

    Which means bank are not gonna lend 80%, making a high deposit a requirement, which negates the cost benefit.

    A desirable new one room apartment would be be a minimum of 500k and 800k for two rooms to million for three rooms. Not really that affordable.

    1. You are only too right Kelvin.
      If only my son would stop eating all that unnecessary food, he could easily afford a property! I mean, eating is just so indulgent!

  7. The real issue is that there is no desire amongst the government to do anything about housing affordability. They’ve done the poll numbers and maintaining high house prices helps the baby boomer demographic way too much. They’ll throw younger generations under the bus and make us pay for their superannuation.

    1. I fear you’re correct. Unfortunately, this is an old pattern to New Zealand policy: avoid dealing with big structural issues with the economy due to short-term political incentives, and accept the risk of disaster / likelihood of long-term underperformance as a result.

      I think many politicians lose sight of why they’re in office – it’s not simply to maintain a high level of personal popularity!

      1. “I think many politicians lose sight of why they’re in office – it’s not simply to maintain a high level of personal popularity!”
        You will find that is precisely why they are in office.
        And James stop this lazy stereotyping of a huge and diverse range of people; intellectually lazy and just as bad as sexism, racism and all the other isms.
        It is not a generational thing it is class politics; the haves versus the have-lesses. The tories have their solid support (and they are not all over 60 by any means – have a look at how many young people support tory policies) and all they need to do is persuade a lot of moderate income groups that they should throw in their lot with the landed gentry and they have a (near) majority.
        The nats are shouting “look over here” and you’re looking.

        1. Oh but it is a generational thing. The problems arising from the issues you speak of fall much more heavily on younger generations than on older ones. I don’t think boomers are rejoicing at an entire generation being locked out of the market but the real solutions are painful and I just don’t see the powers that be implementing any change that would risk a backlash from the boomer generation. The proof of this is in the debate or lack of it on raising the retirement age. No major party is prepared to make this a policy despite solid evidence that it will become ever more difficult to service it. We’re going to have a much larger proportion of our population collecting national super real soon and the only way to pay for that is increased taxes or reduced government spending. In either case younger generations pick up the tab. Meanwhile education and housing costs for those generations continue to rise.

        2. Boomers have liked an entire generation out of housing don’t you dare try to cart them as victims when they get called out.

          It’s not like racism at all. It’s akin to saying that white people decimated non European cultures for personal gain. Factually accurate.

  8. From experience the 20% deposit requirement is not so hard and fast as some would have you make out, providing the lender is doing plenty of loans above 20% deposit. If you have the income to support the repayments, banks will go to as little 5% in some circumstances, albeit either with a one-off fee or interest rate margin, though below a 10% deposit this becomes quite costly. A couple earning over $100,000 with a good financial history / limited consumer debt and a 10% deposit should have few problems in securing a mortgage in the current market.

    That said the LVR restrictions coupled with loan-to-income limits might be a different story as the latter might be a hard rule rather than the more flexible situation that current exists. Furthermore, regardless of the above the maps illustrate how out of kilter with incomes house prices have got, even allowing for the lower interest rates faced now it is still harder to get into a home in Auckland than in years gone by.

    1. The key issue for me is that it is substantially easier to get a house on the outskirts than an apartment in the inner suburbs. I don’t mind trading space and privacy for accessibility but with apartments needing 30% in most cases it’s just not practical.

      1. Unfortunately there was a time during the first apartment building boom in the early 2000s where banks were left with people defaulting on mortgages for apartments whose value was now substantially less than the remaining mortgage. As much as I dislike the fact that it makes it more difficult for first time buyers to get into these properties, it is fiscally responsible. Such actions keep New Zealand banks away from needing bail outs like many US banks (and others) did after the 2008 sub-prime fiasco.

        1. I can’t really agree with that take. If banks are stupid enough to lend too much to investors, and to fuel a bubble in doing so, that’s their problem. Excessive and unbalanced (land:improvement) paper valuations (I’m looking at you, QV) is one of the big problems in our system, one that needs fixing. Also, over-valuation might well have been associated with apartments in the 2000’s, but I would argue that was strongly about the focus of property investors. That investment sentiment is now extensively spread across the city, and a similar risk now manifests outside of just the CBD. Banks should be smarter, and they tell us they are – but I for one don’t believe that.

        2. Many of those were investors who were over leveraged. I see no reason why owner occupiers with reasonable incomes should be lumped in with speculators looking for profit.

      2. 30% is only required for investment apartments. Unless you are looking at something very small then 20% is the norm for owner occupier. That’s the same for a house these days.

  9. Leaky buildings are either a thing of the past or not. Which is it?
    Building material costs are way out of line with Australia Canada and US why is that?
    Body Corporate costs on top of variable interest rates could make a mockery of affordability for those on low incomes.
    What can we do about the low incomes?

    1. With regard to building material costs, if you saw the appallingly low quality timber used in Canadian construction you’d understand why it is so cheap in Canada are so cheap. Other materials that are imported are typically cheaper in larger markets, New Zealand is essentially a sub-market of Australia which results in additional handling and additional middle men. Couple that with less competition and you have higher prices.

  10. Herald article on cbd apartment supply:

    I wonder how much of the heavy lifting of the 9,000 dwelling increase that Nick Smith mentioned for Auckland on NZQ&A is down to the increased apartments in the cbd area?

    Many being snapped up by baby boomers too (sorry Harry). Just no complaints please about another development going up next to you blocking your view or spoiling the character. This is the development area.
    Love living in the city!

    1. It isn’t just the Centre City, a lot in the city fringe too, basically in the few places they can. Sadly even more apartments would be being built but for overly restrictive zoning rules and other regulations than pile cost onto apartment building, for example Minimum Parking Regulations. I say sadly because a freer dwelling market would certainly lead to more supply, especially of these smaller, well placed, and often cheaper priced dwellings, and these would help balance the whole market. Help to keep supply up with demand.

  11. I love that grassed edge to the Freiburg apartments. It’s the sort of look and approach NZ should take. We are not and never will be Manhattan. Let’s embrace that.
    Go for lower rise density, with plenty of landscaped areas, and a certain informality…..

  12. With this apartment boom I think now is the time to think about how to make the city a bit more hospitable to humans.

    For instance there is no rule (at least not an enforced one) against producing 120 dB from an exhaust. You can have your headphones on on the 7th floor, and that noise will still drown out whatever you’re listening to. It also pretty much rules out sleeping with a window open. That’s bad in a house, and much worse in a small apartment. A good night’s sleep should not be a privilege for those who can afford to blow over half a million on a house.

    And, given there’s now people living in the CBD, maybe we can adjust the traffic lights to make walking a bit easier. We don’t need 120 second cycle lengths at 9pm. We can have pedestrian phases which make crossing the road a bit more than just theoretically possible. And, if really ambitious, we can fix our missing pedestrian legs.

    And about that $350,000 map, it’s even more striking if you zoom out a bit more. Even Warkworth and Pukekohe are mostly unaffordable. That gives a whole new ring to that phrase “a bit further out”.

      1. Which explains why a lot of these aftermarket pipes seem to hang under cars by a bit of no. 8 wire.

        I’m quite sure that a lot of motorcycles on the street go way over that limit. Even the (in comparison) gentle purr of a jackhammer is already supposed to be 100 dB. And, motorcycle riders love to rev up their engines at red lights.

    1. Very few cars have anything on a motorbike. Problem is most motorbikes are reasonbly quiet when idling but wring the throttle and they are loud as f**k! That applies to both hogs and pocket rockets. They really should have Rev restrictors or better mufflers.

  13. “You can’t even afford to live in Otara or Manurewa.”

    Actually Manurewa is not one of the worse suburbs in Auckland. Mangere and Takanini are far worse.

  14. Building lots of apartments works. The one place in the city where we’ve allowed it to happen – the city centre – is now the most affordable place in the city.

    In the last boom we built apartments as fast or faster than Brisbane or Melbourne or Sydney. But then we elected Len Brown and now we build them at less than 25% as fast as Melbourne, 35% as fast as Brisbane. 90% of all Brisbane’s new apartment builds are in the CBD, a highly restricted area. Brisbane is building apartments 3x faster than we are, mostly within that highly restricted area.

    So what’s the holdup?

    It is not commercially viable to build lots of apartments in Auckland. Land costs too much. Land costs twice as much as Brisbane and 80% more than Melbourne. Loosen Auckland’s MUL and we will get way more apartments. It is very simple.

    1. That’s funny you mention Sydney and Brisbane, because I visited both cities the other week and I saw lots of cranes erecting tall buildings outside of their city centres.

    2. I’m not sure that Len Brown has held up apartment development in the cbd. Plentty going up all over the place. And better quality than the ’90s National and later Banks era (both right wing).

    3. Angus, I often appreciate your perspective, but you are re-writing historical facts when you try and blame the slow down in apartment construction on Len Brown. That’s flat out wrong. In reality the slowdown in apartment construction in Auckland was caused by 1) plan changes enacted in 2005 which made it harder to develop apartments and 2) the GFC in 2008, which led to a contraction in private credit.

      The Unitary Plan, which is Auckland Council’s first attempt to write planning rules under Len Brown, isn’t even operative yet. As such all the planning rules are determined by the old district plans. And even when the Unitary Plan becomes operative, you should be honest about the fact that it represents the consequence of a political process in which Len Brown has but one vote.

      Please stop misrepresenting this issue.

      1. The Auckland Plan stipulates a 70:30 upwards growth to outwards growth – an achievable growth pattern typical of cities of Auckland’s size and it is a professional plan. Auckland is forecast to add approximately 2/3rds more population under the period of the plan. 2/3rds of 30% is 20% – should Auckland add 20% more greenfield we would get typical growth.

        Then we look at the PAUP, which as you say is written by Len Brown and friends, which specifies exactly what land is to be added to Auckland City and the growth of the City is to be a lot more restricted than that 20% required expansion to facilitate growth in a normal city. This planned land restriction has created the greatest property investment in NZ, land in Auckland City is guaranteed (by council) to increase in cost. And so we have what we see today, land costs a heck of a lot more making building in Auckland less feasible.

        The GFC ended in a flood of cheap money and apartments flourished everywhere except here, Houston builds more apartments per capita than we do. Typical growth of apartments is typically much higher than Houston (which is higher than Auckland) under typical regulations are of a typical type similar to those Auckland. Typically apartment builds occur 3 – 5x faster than in Auckland. Our regulations aren’t that bad.

        So what’s the holdup? The hold up is land cost.

        1. We had a much less well developed apartment development model than elsewhere ore GFC. The model was based on finance from non bank lenders instead of actual equity from developers. Those non bank lenders disappeared post GFC. Its no real surprise nothing was built for several years. Things are heating up now though. I agree land costs are one ossue. So are restrictive planning rules.

  15. It is impressive isn’t it, even the smaller proportion of in Brisbane’s apartments that are outside of the CBD – that tiny fraction – in absolute terms are about 2/3rds of the entirety of Auckland’s build. Amazing what lower costs create. Pity we’ll never see it here, with such a strong lobby being in favour of higher land cost.

    I went for a tour of Warkworth and Silverdale the other day, we are sprawling so much faster than ever before. Who would have thought we’d live to see Warkworth tripling in size, whilst Auckland ground to a halt?

    1. Angus, to some degree you have a point, but there is no need to just make stuff up to try to state it: It is simply and utterly untrue that ‘Auckland has ground to a halt’. Apartments are being built very strongly again in the city and city fringe. And, happily, they are both better designed and better built than the previous apartment boom you seem to be wistful for. Sure it is regrettable how and where the city is still sprawling, as are the regulatory and political conditions that are causing this, but you undermine your own argument through absurd exaggeration.

      1. We are proportionally building less apartments than Houston.

        To misquote: “Houston?! We have a problem.”

    2. For someone totally obsessed with land supply, it’s amazing that you can’t understand that it might be important make more land available *for apartments* through zoning provisions that allow them to be built in *more areas of the city*.

      Sydney is a great example. Apartment development there is possible due to a *lot* of rezoning for higher density. Here’s some details on some areas rezoned in 2014. Notice how the rezoning generally allows buildings in the range of 5 to 20 storeys – far in excess of what’s contemplated almost everywhere in Auckland. (Building height limits are below 20 storeys even in parts of the city centre.)

      And here’s a recent news article on a state government plan to rezone land around 11 rail stations to enable up to 36,000 apartments to get built.

      By comparison, a 2014 Auckland Council study found that it would be possible to develop perhaps 38,000 new apartments in and around the Auckland city centre. Even if land prices were lower, we simply haven’t rezoned enough urban land for apartments to get the kind of outcomes you observe in Sydney.

      1. Rezoning is a great idea, Melbourne has a more liberal approach to zoning than Brisbane (and similar land costs) – Melbourne is building apartments 40% faster than Brisbane. I agree with your logic and your reasoning completely. In fact so complete is my agreement that I’ve applied the exact same logic to the MUL and came up with the exact same result. It is amazing what you can do by applying consistent logic to all aspects of a problem.

        The problem with rezoning is it doesn’t have as big an effect as land cost. Auckland has frontloaded $350,000 per unit cost onto building in Auckland City and needs to build 230,000 dwellings (70% up) before 2040 – that is $77billion cost against urbanisation.

  16. “Today, there are more people living in the Auckland city centre than there are in Whanganui”

    You forgot to mention most of them are asians from larger cities overseas and there is nothing in their living arrangements that remotely resemble the kiwi lifestyle. Put simply, they don’t know any better. Generally speaking, it’s not kiwis embracing inner city living in Auckland.

    Auckland’s property market is stuffed because of immigration, and because of overseas investment in our property market. Make it compulsary for immigrants to settle outside Auckland, and outlaw buying houses you don’t live in, and the problem of housing affordibility will resolve itself overnight.

    What we need is politicians with the balls to make those two changes.

    1. “You forgot to mention most of them are asians from larger cities overseas and there is nothing in their living arrangements that remotely resemble the kiwi lifestyle. Put simply, they don’t know any better.”

      Good grief. What on earth is the kiwi lifestyle Geoff? Maybe they think you dont know any better for living out in the wops. I would hope everyone lives exactly to their own tastes as long as they arent hurting anyone else.

      “outlaw buying houses you don’t live in”

      Good idea. We can all live with Mum and Dad until we save a deposit (or in the car if we dont have parents in Auckland). Better to sleep under a bridge than rent accomodation right?

        1. The defining feature of the kiwi lifestyle is a housing typology? These kiwis sound like a pretty boring lot if so!

      1. “Better to sleep under a bridge than rent accomodation right?”

        People live under a bridge (actually most in their cars) precisely because renting is too expensive. Owning is actually cheaper in terms of mortgage payments generally being lower than rental payments. Hundreds of thousands of Aucklanders are unable to rent, having to live with friends or family, or in their cars.

        The Auckland property market is greed-driven. So-called “investors” who treat renters as a commodity, and many of them don’t even live in this country. It needs to end, but the politicians are too weak-kneed to make the necessary changes.

        The knife needs to be put into property investors, and twisted and turned until their guts spill out. Ban overseas ownership of Auckland homes, tax domestic rental owners to the hilt, ban multiple home ownerships beyond a certain level, and start empowering renters, with rent caps, guaranteed long term contract periods, etc.

        Make those changes, and you’ll see the price collapse in the market that everyone wants, and investors flee. And good riddance to them!

        1. Some people dont want to, or cant afford to, own their own property no matter the price. Good to know your Auckland doesnt include those people. If it was up to you I would have never been able to move to Auckland to study and then get a job. I guess that is my problem though right?

        2. Geoff, where in Auckland is it cheaper to pay the mortgage on a house than it is to rent? Also if that was the case then what would the problem be!?

    2. Your unsupported assertions about the “un-kiwiness” of city centre residents and blithe dismissal of their needs and preferences are (a) ridiculous and (b) potentially in violation of user guidelines 1, 5, 6, and 8v.

      Next time you want to comment on the subject, please bring some data to support your arguments and an open mind about people who are different to you.

      1. Also, while I don’t think NZ politicians are perfect, I’m glad that they’ve mostly got enough sense and empathy to avoid pogroms against people with the wrong skin colour or accent.

        If you think it’s possible to fix your problems by stepping on people who are different from you, you’re welcome to head to the US and volunteer for the Trump campaign!

        1. Sorry Peter, but why are you (and others) referring to skin colour or accent? I’m making the distinction between the kiwi lifestyle and non-kiwi lifestyles. Has nothing to do with race. Kiwis include every race on Earth.

          “will reflect approximately 1,000 years of immigration from all over the world”

          Yep Stu, we’ve had a lot of time, and combined with our scenery and outdoor lifestyle, we’ve finely tuned and overwhelmingly embraced houses on sections, with trees and lawns. Of course not all new arrivals hopping off the plane and moving into their pre-purchased apartments have figured out how unnecessary that lifestyle is once out of the overpopulated mega cities dotted across asia. But those that do don’t look back.

          IMO, if immigration was more responsibly managed, with requirements to settle outside Auckland, the trend toward apartment living would all but dry up. It’s only happening because there’s no choice when you have so many new people arriving into one small area. You have to start stacking the homes for the same reason they stack shipping containers when port land is scarce.

        2. Sorry Geoff, when you use phrases like:

          * “asians from larger cities overseas”
          * “foreign concept of high rise apartment living”
          * “nothing in their living arrangements that remotely resemble the kiwi lifestyle”
          * “folk from Hong Kong, Bejing and Tokyo”

          then it’s pretty obvious that you are making this out to be about race. And when you try to backtrack and deny that you’ve ever engaged in racial stereotyping, you also make it clear that you lack the courage of your (unpleasant) convictions.

          Any future comments in this vein from you will be deleted in accordance with our user guidelines.

      2. “Your unsupported assertions about the “un-kiwiness” of city centre residents”

        The population of the Auckland CBD is about two-thirds asian. Have you been there lately? Just pointing out the correlation between the foreign concept of high rise apartment living and the fact they are largely filled with foreigners. Each to their own, but please don’t claim inner city apartment living is driven by some desire for change by kiwis. It isn’t. A few yes, but most would reject the notion entirely.

        1. “The population of the Auckland CBD is about two-thirds asian. Have you been there lately?”

          Are you saying that by just going to the city centre and looking around you can determine the residency status and life history of the people who reside there (obviously you must be able to differentiate between workers, tourists and residents to do this). That is an amazing skill and definitely nothing to do with racism.

    3. ‘You forgot to mention most of them are asians from larger cities overseas…’

      Firstly this is an entirely unsupported claim, and second; so what? What has race got to do with anything?

      ‘…and there is nothing in their living arrangements that remotely resemble the kiwi lifestyle.’ Again; so what? Whatever this means; who are you; Barry Crump? Which cliché are you referring to and who cares? Perhaps people in the inner city just aren’t racist enough to qualify for your definition the ‘kiwi lifestyle’.

      ‘Put simply, they don’t know any better.’ Oh Geoff you are now showing yourself to a very nasty little man indeed; do you really believe yourself so superior? How sad.

      Generally speaking, it’s not kiwis embracing inner city living in Auckland.’ Again; unsupported by evidence, do be sure to tell that to Graham Henry, or indeed my Mother who lived for 15 years at No 2 Queen St. There are people of all sorts in the City Centre; that’s one of the great things about it.

      There are plenty of new New Zealanders out in the burbs too; I suppose this means that that lifestyle isn’t real either?

      1. Race has nothing to do with it. But when someone claims there’s some groundswell for change to highrise urban living in New Zealand, it’s worth pointing out that it’s immigrants who are largely behind that trend – and from places where that lifestyle already exists. In other words, it’s not kiwi-driven change. The apartments are filled with folk from Hong Kong, Bejing and Tokyo, not Gisborne, Taumarunui or Timaru. At least be honest about who and what is driving the changing urban lifestyle in Auckland.

        1. I am (the descendent of) an immigrant from a large city – London. Do my consumer choices represent kiwis or are they confounding what kiwis really want? Perhaps you would like to tell my 95 year old Grandmother that she isnt a kiwi because she wasnt born here (she came here on a boat) and worse still came from a big city.

        2. That’s true, the folk from Gisbore and Taumaranui are living in apartments on the Gold Coast!

        3. In your own silly words Geoff:

          Geoff May 16: ‘most of them are asians’

          Geoff May 17: ‘folk from Hong Kong, Bejing and Tokyo’

          Geoff May 17: ‘Race has nothing to do with it’

        4. Want the really funny bit?

          I took a look at the Census data, and it turns out that the only two local boards with a majority of overseas-born residents are Puketapapa (51.7%) and Howick (50.6%). Both of which are very suburban.

          Based on that data, it looks like demand for suburban living isn’t an authentic Kiwi desire either. Or, alternatively, maybe it’s *completely normal* to have a diversity of people living throughout a large, diverse city.

        5. What an awful ignorant bigot Geoff Blackmore is. I was going to make some points about why he is wrong but there is no use responding to that kind of hateful ignorance.

        6. [This comment has been deleted as it violates user guidelines 1, 6, and 8. Previous warnings were issued.

          That being said, it was responding to a personal criticism from Frank, which is also strongly discouraged under our user guidelines.]

    4. Geoff, all New Zealanders are either 1) immigrants or 2) descended from immigrants. The “kiwi lifestyle”, if such a thing exists, will reflect approximately 1,000 years of immigration from all over the world.

      Moreover, apartments have always been part of Auckland’s development. My seven storey apartment building, for example, is located in the city centre and is 100 years old.

      Your argument doth butter no parsnips.

  17. To be fair i don’t think he’s necessarily a bigot or racist, but he’s definitely narrow minded.

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