Auckland is currently in the middle of a massive building boom with consents reaching a new all-time high in August with just under 20,000 issued in the last 12 months.
Most of these consents are within the existing urban area but as Auckland’s population has grown, so too has its urban footprint. That is currently set to continue to happen long into the future with around 30-40% of Auckland’s growth expected to occur in ‘greenfield’ areas. In total there could be as much as 130,000 new homes added those areas.
Yet we also know that growing this way results in some of the worst outcomes for our city. For example, it helps lead to longer journeys to access work, education, recreation and other amenities resulting in greater emissions and congestion. There are many other issues with it too – some of this was excellently explained by urban developer Mark Todd of Ockham
Since 2000, New Zealand has lost a third of all its vegetable-growing land. Once buried in concrete, it’ll never come back. Death by a thousand diggers.
The numbers are numbing – a thousand hectares a year, a hundred thousand trees, a million birds displaced, innumerable lizards and insects. Wetlands are drained, waterways piped. In their place, dozens of new suburbs you’ve probably never heard of. If you can place more than three of the following on the map, you are the undisputed King of Urban Sprawl Bingo.
Hingaia, Waiake, Pahurehure, Red Hill, Rose Hill, Pinehill, Redoubt South, Wattle Downs, Northcross, Randwick Park, Clover Park, Totara Park, Totara Heights, Fairview Heights, Lucas Heights, Palm Heights (note: any land more than five metres above sea level automatically earns the moniker ‘Heights’ in the urban sprawl dictionary).
We tell ourselves this is inevitable – that this is the price of progress. We endure ever-worsening congestion – more lanes, more cars – and arrive late and frazzled, ‘Bloody Auckland traffic’ our stock greeting shared with rolled eyes and a rueful smile.
We fudge or rationalise or simply ignore the cost of our urban sprawl – the billions of dollars for our roads and motorways, the billions of hours wasted at the wheel, the billions of tonnes of carbon emitted. And then there are the 50,000 hectares of nature that have been sliced and diced into subdivisions. Like the apocryphal frog in the pot, we keep adjusting to the new normal, not realising what we’ve lost until it’s gone forever.
It is a development model replicated in car-centric countries all over the world, one driven by a frontier mentality and underpinned by the folly that our horizons are unlimited, and we can just grow ourselves out of trouble. It’s never been less true than now.
Growing this way is also expensive as the council need to pay for the infrastructure to support it, infrastructure such as transport links, parks, three waters and community facilities. Back in 2019 the estimated cost for just the transport infrastructure alone was expected to top $10 billion with the actual figure likely working out at over $100,000 per new home.
It’s no surprise then that the sprawl industrial complex is falling over itself in places like Drury to race ahead of the councils plans for developing these areas when you hear they only contribute between $11,000 to $18,300 per dwelling. In other words, as ratepayers we are significantly subsidising sprawl which in turn helps make our city less liveable.
So it is interesting to see the council are considering changing the amounts they charge for development contributions and the initial cab off the rank is Drury.
Charging development contributions enables us to recover costs from those who cause the need for, or will benefit from, the infrastructure Auckland needs to support the rapidly growing city. If we cannot recover a share of these costs from developers, the full cost will need to be recovered from ratepayers.
What we are proposing
We are proposing a new Contributions Policy, to take effect from 10 January 2022.
Updating for new information in the Recovery Budget
The proposed changes result from updates to the growth component of capital expenditure in the 10-year budget. The development contributions price will rise in some areas and fall in others depending on the level of investment in each area. Overall, the weighted average development contributions price is falling as the pace of growth is outpacing investment.
Including projects beyond ten years
We propose gradually updating the Contributions Policy to include the infrastructure required to support growth in the infrastructure priority areas over 30 years.
For the Contributions Policy 2021, we are proposing to start with Drury. Drury is the area where we have the best information to implement the changes. Others will follow as work progresses.
We have included plans for $400 million on investment in local and arterial roads and parks in the Drury area in the next ten years and a further $2.1 billion to be delivered beyond 2031. Under the new draft policy, development contributions will rise from between $11,000 to $18,300 to $84,900. This ensures developers in Drury pay a fair share of costs. The alternative is for these costs to be met by ratepayers.
What increasing development contributions will do
Our research indicates that increasing development contribution charges will:
- better align these costs with the actual cost of infrastructure
- increase the certainty that infrastructure will be delivered
- ensures ratepayers don’t have to bear all the costs of growth
- encourage more accurate pricing of land purchases for development to reflect future development contribution prices
- impact developers who have paid for land based on current development contribution charges
They’re also looking to change the policy so that these development contributions have to be paid at the time the consent is granted.
Unaspiringly the sprawl pushers aren’t happy, claiming it’s unfair and will put developments at risk. While that may not be the direct intention of the council, which is more focused on balancing their budgets, it could well be a positive side effect. It has long been suggested that one of the best ways to curb growth on the fringes and to encourage more development within the existing urban area is to ensure the developers pay the full cost of greenfield development. While this change still isn’t the full cost, it is a lot closer than it has been before and that potentially helps shift the balance and makes redeveloping existing urban sites more attractive.
Further, the changes that should come as a result of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development, if the council implement it properly, will serve to open up more urban land for redevelopment.
The council are just starting with Drury but it seems these kinds of changes will be seen elsewhere too. It’s unclear what impact this could have on developments within the existing urban area but it should be noted that even if new/upgraded infrastructure and or services are needed to support them, they will also likely benefit existing ratepayers too.
As noted above, the council are focused on this as a way to balance their budget but if it ended up slowing the rate of our urban spread it could end up one of the most significant and positive policy changes of recent times.
Finally, it’s also worth noting the council don’t think this decision will impact on house prices.
Development contributions and house prices
National and international evidence shows that increased contributions fees do not cause house prices to rise over time.
House prices are determined by the supply and demand for houses not the cost of land and building.
Over time the Development Contribution costs are deducted from the price paid for the land. Developers will adjust the price they are prepared to pay for the land, reflecting the price they can sell a house for fewer construction costs, development contributions, other costs and a margin for profit.
The council are currently consulting on the proposal with submissions open till 17 October.
This is excellent news and well overdue. Goodness knows why we ask the public purse to subsidize hugely rich developers to create car dependent sprawl.
Now do all the other greenfield areas!
I would want to see more evidence of the UPS actually delivering intensification of the type required that we could do away with exo-development.
The reality is that without it, we would have had far more pressure on existing housing stock prices and the greenfields development has at least let some of that pressure ease off. The UPS is an exciting development but ‘slowing spread’ can’t be ‘stopping the supply of houses coming to market’ in drag.
As for ‘won’t cause cost increases’: A slight change in the wind’s direction is enough reason for house prices to go up in this country. And let’s not pretend that central or local government have stellar track records in forecasting that, or managing it.
That’s fine. Higher prices will eventually make Urbanists happy because all new residents will stay in apartments on Hobson st. CBD vertical labour camp is a good way to feed the economy and to make existing land and home owners richer. Twenties is a really bad time to arrive to Auckland – better to choose another city or another country.
Favouring sprawl developments with massive subsidies has created sprawl and a deficient city that’s been starved of upgrade funds. It has swallowed up our transport budget, leaving us with an enormous maintenance burden and household transport burden. It has created and continues to exacerbate the choices and the environment future generations will face.
If you want to argue – despite what has clearly happened, and despite the numbers showing the sort of subsidy involved, and despite the AUP showing that changing regulations does indeed enable intensification, and despite the desperate need to use those billions of dollars on repairing and upgrading our existing infrastructure instead of creating yet more – that there is somehow a “good” in continuing this shonky subsidy, go right ahead.
But the onus is on you to try to find some logical argument. Subsidies shouldn’t be continued without good reason.
Most people including business people are mostly against subsidies and call for level playing fields.
Why don’t we know the true cost of building a house in a new sprawling development? Roads $100 000 plus footpaths, power, 3 waters, schools, parks, PT services to low use areas, waste removal from low density areas, ongoing emissions and congestion costs for too much travel.
Surely most groups including environmentalists, capitalists, socialists, Nats, Lab, Greens, family, health and education all support transparancy and good business decisions and need to know these true costs. We shouldn’t be wasting precious when $billions there are other needs.
Best way to lower housing prices, open up new land for supply.
You’re so smart David.
David these new land areas are not cheap houses. New build in Waiuku is selling for around $800,000 for new build 3 bedroom house with next to nothing section.
The driving pattern living in Waiuku is interesting. You can walk to local schools but at 12 minutes tend to drive to Town. As the kids get older sports is further away. My sons closest rugby away game is 20km to Pukekohe. Shopping is 20 km away in Puke as well.
So close, it’s actually ‘open land up for new housing supply’. I.e open the existing urban land up for intensification.
To me the main thing is to allow choice by removing most of the unnecessary planning rules, whether it be “up” or “out”. But that choice should include the real costs without subsidies.
I heard the policy was leaked by Charybdis.
What’s your opinion on these changes miffy? Probably one of the more qualified to talk about it I guess?
Looks good, should help level the playing field for brownfield development.
No prizes for figuring out what they’re building here:
Also no prizes for figuring out the one and only way you can get in and out.
If you expect the increase in CO₂ emissions to slow down over the next 10 years I think you should manage that expectation.
and you know the line they roll out on all the adverts for these new places.
‘minutes away from the new Warkworth to Auckland motorway’
Google has not flown this way recently ( https://youtu.be/zbQOj8oM8V4) and a few more houses have been added since.
Officially this is known as Arran Hills, which is the final phase of Project Millwater “Aging Like A Bottle of Plonk”
Pioneering Lifestyles : https://www.millwater.co.nz
Locally it is known as “The Island”, largely for reasons of topography and as you point out; access. It also has a theme tune : https://youtu.be/eVy1h2FcRiM
** Note that “Arran Hills” should not be confused with “Ara Hills”. Arran to the East of me, Ara to the West; Stuck In The Middle With You : https://youtu.be/ln7Vn_WKkWU
There are a lot of photos, of varying focus via the link below. Please note that in my experience analysing Millwater too deeply can cause headaches.
There is no Mill and the water can be a bit iffy,
Millwater Development : Arran Point ( East of Arran Hills, Easter of Ara Hills) : Slope Reinforcement : https://youtu.be/M8nE7J4j6FY
Millwater Trees : Then : https://www.flickr.com/photos/lsjherbert/50200739331/
Millwater Trees : Now : https://www.flickr.com/photos/lsjherbert/50455181661/
Millwater Trees : Protest : https://www.localmatters.co.nz/hibiscus-news/neighbours-protest-as-giant-trees-felled
Slightly off topic,
I do HVAC maintenance and on my last job I found lots of black soot all through the heat pump inside, I also noticed it on the walls inside and out, I also noticed the motorway nearby and thought that would be right, I always find filters loaded with this black dust when I’m within 100m of a motorway.
I can’t understand why we continue to build residential housing so close to motorways.
It’s a major health hazard.
It shows council and government are not thinking ahead including building housing so far from anything.
Yes check this map out:
Rural land “costs” what developers are prepared to pay for it – or what farmers are prepared to pay. If developers don’t value it more highly than farmers due to the new charges, maybe we can keep eating veggies.
“Since 2000, New Zealand has lost a third of all its vegetable-growing land.” Good grief what can we possibly do? Oh that’s right grow some vegetables on other sites instead.
I completely agree with you there. There are lots of great reasons to oppose sprawl, but ‘we grow veggies here’ is a terrible one. Every dairy farm converted to vegetable production is a massive win for water quality and the environment
Totally disagree with you guys here – not all land is equal in quality. Two areas in particular spring to mind: Hawkes Bay’s good horticultural land (orchards, cornfields, peas / beans / other vegetables) is being swallowed up by crap suburban sprawling of places like Flaxmere and Havelock North. Its honestly a tragic waste of really good growing land.
The other is closer to your home: Pukekohe. The richest soil in Auckland, feeds most of Auckland, and currently being poached piece by piece for yet more cruddy suburban housing. All the old Chinese land-owners are gradually selling up and taking their profit (fair call that they should want to get recompense for years of hard slog) but Auckland will never get that land back for the public benefit. Its incredibly short-sighted. Do you want all your potatoes to have to be shipped up from Oamaru? That’ll push the price up drastically…
Plenty of the Waikato is incredibly fertile soil that is totally wasted on dairy. Soils around Pukekohe have essentially been totally stripped of nutrients by decades of intensive farming. Potatoes are a staple crop because they will grow good yeilds in pretty much any soil. The only reason we don’t grow vegetables elsewhere is because we have massively subsidised animal agriculture and large producers have been very effective in spreading the myth that our soil or topography is unsuitable for growing vegetables.
You could look at it from a macro point of view: the world is fast depleting its quality agricultural soil; it is irresponsible to do so unnecessarily here.
Or from a micro point of view: quality soil involves complex interactions and ecosystems that should be protected and honoured, not degraded. This means both preventing sprawl and returning dairy blocks to actual farming, ie treating the land, water and ecology sustainably.
Or from a public health, resilience and logistics point of view: it makes good sense to grow food close to where people live, so they can be part of the food growing, transport costs are minimised and we minimise potential risk from future disruption.
@Heidi, that’s a much better way to frame it.
Pukekohe soils are rich and largely frost free.
North Shore to Silverdale is generally heavy clay not good for growing much.
If you had to choose the side of the city to expand, it should be to the north.
Labour was supposed to have released policy on productive soils, but like everything else its delayed. I’d like to see similar rules to the UK, where farm land surrounding towns and cities is protected. All our towns and cities are very flat, we need to build up.
Me too. New Zealanders love to visit old, compact urbanist villages in Europe and Asia. We can create beautiful places here too, which could become tomorrow’s wonders, but only if we stop following the sprawlist pattern.
$5.50 lettuces. its up to you Sailor
….the Pukekohe growing area contains some of New Zealand’s most fertile and productive soils and is on Auckland’s doorstep…. if Pukekohe continued to be swallowed up by housing, the county ran the risk of an economic hit to Auckland of up to $1.1 billion in 25 years. ….Up to 4500 fulltime jobs would be lost and less fruit and vegetables would be available, causing prices to spike up to 58 per cent….
Of course, no link to that study. Usually the absolute doom mongering in stuff is based on some outrageous assumption like no new horticultural land developed.
It is unethical to buy lettuces at any cost. They are made of water and transport costs. Either grow your own or don’t eat that crap.
I worry that overly penalising greenfields development could lead to an absolute reduction in housing construction, rather than a one-to-one switch from greenfields to infill development.
The insane unaffordability and resulting poverty from Auckland’s undersupply of housing seems a far more critical issue for our city than congestion and car-oriented sprawl. At this point, I’m happy to get behind more housing, no matter where it’s built.
That’s a false dilemma. We could just zone to enable huge amounts of brownfields housing and solve all 3 problems.
I agree completely – that would be a better way of growing the city. But given that we aren’t currently doing that upzoning (and given the fraught politics, it looks unlikely to occur anytime soon), penalising property developers without offering an alternative very well could suppress housing construction.
We are literally doing that upzoning right now. The government mandated it through the NPS-UD.
I wouldn’t worry too much about Greenfield proliferation, I suspect much of it won’t happen.
With the costs of construction skyrocketing and mortgage rates rising, many potential First Home Buyers, who have been a big part of this market, will be priced out.
Also factor in the very large development contributions proposed in greenfield locations, which again will contribute to pricing people out.
Although perhaps that might result, in time, in a slump in Greenfield land values, which brings the financial viability back into play…
The Sunfield development looks like it might buck this trend:
I fear this development is ahead of its times.
The website said there will be no carparks on the houses. All residents expected to use car sharing and shuttle to go to train station.
There will be one shared car per 10 families.
The problem is do you expect people to just go to train stations and shop just inside the development?
Or do they have to fight for the shared car with 9 other families when they want to drive their kids to the beach?
If it is located in central suburbs maybe the bus and cycle is good enough to go most places.
But man, this is Takaini!
I think it is hard sell.
The only people can live with that possibility retiree who can’t drive.
Go to Auranga (with mostly one carpark per dwelling) to check how approximately this will look: Pavement and berm are full of cars.
Nothing enforcement can’t fix.
This must be a SERIOUS enforcement with actually towing vehicles away, rather than just fining them. I remember a person arguing that it’s better not to pay for parking: “If I park here and pay for parking every day, this would cost 12 dollars a day which is 60 dollars per week, parking guys giving me a 50 dollars fine once every two weeks and it’s actually cheaper to get fined.”
Agreed. And it doesn’t matter where you go, there is a correlation between parking enforcement and voluntary compliance.
Surely we can smarter about these things. Each time you get ticketed, your rego shows up in the system and a 50% surcharge is added. That keeps compounding. Further to that, at a certain threshold, it must be financially viable to have towies competing to pick these cars up, where they get the value of the compounds (AC retains the original penalty, so retains its revenue).
Towies make pretty good profit don’t worry for them.
I think a good rule of them for enforcement is that the fine should be a minimum of 24 hours at the hourly rate. i.e if the rate is $6 per hour, the fine is a $240 minimum. We also have to start towing more vehicles. If you are parked in a clearway, you get towed, we should absolutely be doing the same for cycle lanes, footpaths and driveways.
Not sure what happened with my maths there sorry, should have been $144 minimum.
Wow, amazing, especially for a developer that is usually very conservative.
Great to see.
This tiny bus looks great. I really like the idea. Hope this will actually work and will replace these monstrous feeder buses sooner or later.
Let’s see. It is possible that it is just a gimmick added to the proposal to help sell it, instead of something that is actually viable.
Except for the fact that it’s right next to the runway of the busiest General Aviation airport in the country…
Please can you fall into the habit of captioning the photos?
Where is the photo of the subdivision located?
If we stop greenfield developments completely today how do we address the existing shortfall of housing in the short to medium term? How will this assist stabilising let alone reducing house prices?
At a broad scale the big issue seems to be that greenfield is cheaper/ easier/ quicker for a developer to deliver and more expensive for Council/ society in the long-term. The opposite is true for intensification.
Unfortunately, the intensification process is ad-hoc and takes a long time, there are only so many sites which can be feasibly developed (hence why we need things like the NPS_UD to provide more enabling planning rules). The infrastructure costs (particularly 3-waters) to deliver intensification at scale is still incredibly high.
The only way house prices will be meaningfully addressed is through state intervention with a massive house building program. Government can direct that towards compact, quality development rather than sprawl.
In all sprawl cities, it’s much more expensive to have to add and maintain new sprawl infrastructure than to upgrade the existing infrastructure. The situation in Auckland is extreme, as our three-waters infrastructure needs significant upgrading, so it makes no sense for us to build new greenfields at all.
I still don’t understand why there aren’t, right now, 1000 new dwellings going over top (especially) and around the Northern Busway stops.
Anywhere else, developers would be chomping at the bit to get a piece of that action.
Interestingly, I was somewhat recently talking to one of the lead engineers on the original northern busway project.
At the time they made some effort to make some TOD around some of the stops. They went so far as to get almost all of the parking minimums removed for would be bidders / builders, and some other incentives. Which would have been a massive saving on their mall / apartment project. It was pretty rare to see such accommodations made in the early 2000’s apparently. Noone bit as they were sure the busway was going to flop, and it would be used like the downtown bus station dirty and to be avoided, and any parking minimum removals were kind of pointless as they thought they needed to build all of that anyway. The future in Auckland was still the car.
The zoning is really not that favorable at the moment mostly for all the stations too. The THAB as sunnynook quickly falls away within a couple hundred meters, although there are a few developments going in eg http://skystone.co.nz/sunnynook. Its my favorite station and I think will be one of the better performers in the end.
Smales farm is apparently supposed to be getting some apartments built instead of the current parking lots, but most of its catchment is pretty useless golf course, and school.
Akoranga is almost totally useless being beside a big interchange and bush / sea.
Albany is probably the worst offender, all that land baking and massive parking lot is disappointing. But it was never on the busway proper, perhaps that increased reliability will improve the building around there.
Oh and constellation is pretty poorly zoned too.
And Rosedale is all industrial area, so wont be all that much use in terms of development I think. Being beside the motorway, the busway is just not as favorable as say the western line for development I think.
The NPS ud will help.
So I guess our only hope is the rail lines and, maybe, the eastern busway….
Smales Farm has to be the worst offender for built form at the busway stations. Huge consolidated land block to the south that is covered in at grade parking, with owners who specifically fought to retain single use zoning and car parking minimums on their own site.
KLK – I’d say its all coming. We don’t need anything too crazy, the NPS-ud will fix it.
Things like this right beside a CRL station are just as, if not worse than the busway too.
with single house zoning almost immediately alongside.
Sailor boy, I’d rate Albany as the worst.
I mean most of its not even a car park. Its just gorse. How this is legal I have no idea.
Smales Farm didn’t fight to keep parking minimums. NSCC dropped the minimum from their site and they agreed to it. They also accepted a parking maximum that would come in progressively with future development. They build more parking spaces than they needed on the future building platforms so they had somewhere to move tenants when each of those sites gets developed with a tower. Given the scale they have achieved there already maybe they are the only ones getting it right.
Miffy, I was meaning the Unitary Plan hearings, but I wonder if I have gotten myself confused and it was actually the council officers fighting for office park zoning with the owners pushing for more? This seems especially likely as it looks like the owners have successfully got the site re-zoned to a more appropriate land use.
I also really hope this development goes ahead soon and it’s encouraging to hear that the owners have sensibly structured their tenancies to enable future changes.
The scale of their development is much lower per unit area that the stuff on the northern corner of the Shakespeare road intersection, but it is definitely better in terms of potential re-development to better form.
@Jack, Albany is a close second for me. It has the excuse that he zoning there changed from essentially rural less than 20 years ago, and as part of the unitary plan it actually got good zoning on the west side too. The development on the eastern side of the motorway there is particularly bad though. The site was developed after the unitary plan came in with Mixed Housing Urban zoning. A single owner had several hectares and they still built standalone 6 beds on 600m2 each
It seems the concept of mixed use wasn’t really understood: https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/HearingDocuments/pc23-agd-20191210.pdf
“The concern is that residential intensification could undermine the ongoing business/employment development of Smales Farm that Sovereign might have been ‘counting on’, towards “creating an attractive commercial hub” and attracting ongoing investment. Residential development could “substantially change the commercial amenity and sense of place of the area” and “dilute the effectiveness, operation and benefits of the business park locating office and commercial activities together”…
“Sovereign seems to be primarily concerned that the proposed heights would facilitate too much residential intensity and thereby diminish the ‘business park’ dynamism of Smales Farm. This issue has been addressed elsewhere. For similar reasons Sovereign requests the deletion of the tower standards; these requests are not supported.”
substantially change the commercial amenity and sense of place of the area
Thanks for this, I did laugh when I read it.
Now call me crazy, but 9 to 5 office parks filled with corporate offices really doesn’t scream great “sense of place”. Unless by sense of place, they mean the place where that bland, watery, samey, hr driven ‘culture’ that every small to medium sized white collar company in Auckland has managed to copy from one another lives.
+1, changing the sense of place from a stale office park to a dynamic town centre should be seen as a positive effect!
Yes does make you wonder if those businesses understand people. There are a few places to grab lunch at Smales Farm but they are really just glorified works canteens if the only people with access come from your office. With people living there those cafes, shops etc could operate beyond the 9-5.
What? Mixed Use? What sort of dark magic is that? We don’t even do that in the city centre.
But yeah my main question about Smales Farm has always been why. Why use the space next to a busway station for a lot of parking + office blocks? While we’re at it, there’s probably also some equally retarded reason why buses can’t use ‘The Avenue’ when coming in from Northcote.
If you stop greenfield development in Auckland then it will shift to Pokeno, Te Kauwhata and Huntly and people will drive further and have fewer opportunities to use PT. You can’t fix a housing crisis with more regulation.
It would only shift there if we allowed it to shift there though. This is why the Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga region needs a single, integrated land use plan. It probably needs to come from central government.
In which case you push people even further away to places like Whangarei, Wellington, the South Island and Australia. Regulation has caused the caused the housing crisis. It is the problem not the solution.
It amuses me anyone would think there is any benefit to these crackpot rules.
This would be true, miffy, if single family housing in greenfields represented a healthy development pattern, and apartments were a mere frivolity. Instead, apartments within the existing urban area will repair our urban form, and single family houses in greenfields are an unhealthy frivolity.
We don’t have to stick with the conventions that don’t work for us.
“It amuses me anyone would think there is any benefit to these crackpot rules.”
Haven’t you repeatedly expressed support for parking minimums?
Nothing a road pricing scheme with a regional cordon wouldn’t fix.
Stop the leeches sucking big city benefits without paying the dues.
And if that pushes shitty sprawl to elsewhere the great, job done for Auckland. Then Whangarei and Wellington have more chance for it if they want it, or they can set their own plans of not.
Development contributions for transport are completely wrong.
It is not the developer that causes transport demand but the road users.
The full cost of road use including externalities & removal of ratepayer cross-subsidies needs to be placed on the road user.
At the same time the land use rules need to be completely rewritten to be effects based with no density restrictions.
No one will opt to live in low density greenfields housing except the very rich if faced with their true and full transport costs.
This would be the better long term solution. But given this would be extremely hard to pull off, I think the charging of average transport requirements across the new development is a reasonable short – medium term solution.
Sprawl creates costs beyond that of the residents’ driving: the roads and carparks push amenities apart which is a disamenity for all residents; the loss of the biodiversity and soil. The driving that others have to do because distances are further. The costs of the infrastructure itself, as opposed to the driving – the pipes, cables, kerbstones, vehicle crossings, parking lots.
The driving itself is best avoided than just taxed. There’s a huge juggernaut to turn around to encourage intensification instead of sprawl; and once the sprawl houses are built, they’re built.
It’s similar to how we should try to reduce sugar use not just by taxing it (because it’s sugar users that ‘create demand’ for medical services) but by fixing many contributing elements in the food system, eg ensuring all neighbourhoods have healthy food stores (fruit and vege shops etc) and tackling the ‘food deserts’.
Or attempting to reduce smoking use not just by taxing it (because it’s smokers that ‘create demand’ for public health services) but by fixing several contributing factors related to smoking, such as regulating where they can be sold and where people can smoke.
I’m not from New Zealand but I have lived in Auckland for 4 years from 2010 to 2014, I was very surprised by how fast house prices have increased in such a short space of time, where I loved in Glen Eden in West Auckland, the house my parents had owned increased by a huge percentage from $495,000 to an eye watering $795,000 in as little as 3 years.
I recently found out that the new owners who had purchased that home from us in 2014 sold it for $1.6 million.
At the same time the previous government was encouraging immigration and refusing to listen to the evidence and people’s concerns. National are the main culprits behind this as they encouraged uncontrolled immigration and rich investors from China to come here and buy housing unrestricted at a time when the house prices were going through the roof.
The government claimed not enough housing was being built to suit demand but everywhere I looked and went to in Auckland they were building massive subdivisions on Greenfield land, even building new suburbs like Flat Bush and expanding the urban area in all directions. Even with doing that they want to expand it even more it’s difficult to imagine how things can get even worse. It’s apparent that population and immigration need to be controlled, it seems to me that these developments are encouraged for the sake of economic growth and developers making money so they can continue their multimillionaire lifestyles where most of the money that they make is sent overseas and to expand their portfolio.
At least the current government is trying to do something about it, they’re not perfect but they’re much better than who was in power before. The Auckland plan needs to be scaled back and more development needs to be focused around public transport hubs and not in remote areas that need infrastructure to be built. Let’s make the future better.
Disagree, overall population growth rates are not that high. More immigration is better, especially for a country in NZ’s position. It’s our own fault for not having policy in place to build enough for that growing population. The net benefits for the average immigrant are high, come here with training, it’s getting another high value worker but skipping the 100’s of thousands it costs society to raise a child.
Theres no reason we couldn’t import all the workers we need for design and building of infra, housing, or whatever else. We have the natural resources or access to them. Immigrants provide enormous revenue over their lives to levy future tax against and borrow money today for infrastructure spending to support them.
It’s just that we choose to build low value, high cost infrastructure and high cost to service housing, in high cost to service areas. The amount of development that could be supported along the Auckland rail lines, or new busway lines is astounding. The new rules will help though.