Over the years, Greater Auckland has become well-known for its work on transport. We’ve also published some fantastic articles on housing, but these have tended to be one-offs; we haven’t had a clear editorial direction on housing.*
In transport, we carved out a unique position saying constructive, evidence-based things that others in New Zealand weren’t saying, based on international best practise. We also came up with proposals and strategies – most obviously the Congestion Free Network and Regional Rapid Rail – resulting in policy influence and, indeed, those two strategies becoming government policy.
Housing is not like transport. It gets attention from everywhere – councils, government, universities, NGOs and the private sector are all looking at it, evaluating policies and coming up with new ideas. Solutions are often national-level, not local or council-level, and housing is less dogmatic than transport (or is it?)
This all means that Greater Auckland couldn’t, and shouldn’t, have the same influence on housing that it does on transport. Still, we want to contribute more than we have done. This year we’ll publish a lot more content on housing, which I’ll oversee as Housing Editor. We’ll have an overarching theme that we build up through these posts, as well as through a page at https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/housing/ which I’ll update through the year.
We’ve called this housing theme “20/20 Vision”. We want to:
- Provide a better picture on housing in Auckland and nationwide; new homes and old homes too
- Identify blind spots in housing that aren’t being talked about
- Discuss the housing/ transport interface (they’re two sides of the same coin)
- Get to the root of high housing costs.
- Encourage some broader perspectives (i.e. from others outside the usual sphere)
- Bridge the gap between public conversation, academia/ research, and practical Auckland issues
We welcome comments, ideas or guest posts that will help us do a better job. One of the best things about Greater Auckland is our awesome and engaged readers, and being a forum where we can discuss these issues.
As for my own ‘blind spots’… hopefully others can help to fill them. I’m an economist with a strong professional interest in most of the stuff above, I work for a design and property consultancy so I’m closer to property development than most economists are, I’ve lived in the city centre for 10 years, I’m dad to a toddler.
But like most of us at GA I’m Pakeha, professional, middle class, a homeowner – I’m nowhere near the pointy end of the housing crisis. I haven’t had to make really hard decisions about whether to spend huge chunks of my income living centrally or to have a long commute. I’ve never been discriminated against when looking for a place to live. So if I (or we) are naive on this stuff, call me out on it. Auckland should be a place where everyone can have secure, affordable housing that meets their needs; we’re a long way off, but that’s the goal.
I identify myself as an “expert” in some of this stuff, but by no means all of it. I don’t know much about social housing, design, Maori housing aspirations, and many other topics that we’ll touch on this year. Again, we want to bring in others who can share their own expertise, or their own experiences.
So, let’s start the ball rolling… what else should Greater Auckland cover on housing this year? What would be interesting or vital to tell this story? What are the ‘blind spots’ that the media doesn’t cover well enough? What are the things that confuse you? It’s good to be confused, as we’ll see, there’s plenty that confuses me too…
* I’m simplifying here; GA obviously tends to support intensification more than sprawl, and we’re quite YIMBY and not at all NIMBY. We’ve also advocated and campaigned on housing at times, mainly on the Auckland Plan and Auckland Unitary Plan, including the short-lived Coalition for More Homes. That was short-lived because the final approval of the Unitary Plan ended up being easier than we were expecting, but maybe there’s room for a ‘coalition’ like this to return?