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Speaker: Sprawled out

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  • Moz,

    The flip side of people getting pushed out by gentrification is the people pushed into gentrifying because it's all they can afford. In the old days people like that would buy in new subdivisions, but these days the equivalent is new apartments... and have you *seen* the new apartments? They're aimed at investors, not occupiers.

    The solutions aren't personal, they're systematic. Choosing to stay renting because otherwise one particular family of people even poorer than you will have their rented house sold out from under them is both missing the point, and not going to work. The owner is selling, not the tenants, and if you don't buy someone else will. It's the general pressure from lots of people doing that, that matters. And you can't meaningfully affect that pressure by opting out.

    For us the choice was borrow to the max, pay the extra costs and extra interest, and buy where we had rented, or move 20 minutes further out and get a nicer house at a much lower price. Even so, if house prices dropped 40% or 50%, we'd be so far underwater that I can't imagine we'd escape bankruptcy without an Iceland-style bailout (they bailed out the people, not the banks... they jailed the worst of the bankers). If there was a US/EU/NZ style bailout of the banks at the expense of the people we'd be screwed.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Here is a safisticated study that’s better than just reading the news paper hype. I could work as an antidote to realestate glossy add disorder.

    Its in pdf format and it’s called Priced Out. One of the authors is a little bit suspect and the cliche ’climbing the property ladder’ is used more than once. But I didn’t see ’housing market’ so I conclude it might not have been commissioned by the mortgage industry’s.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I recently read a piece by Greg Pritchard and Stephen Jennings quotes and found myself agreeing with what I thought was common sense. This requires work from all political parties, but instead it will become a messy and ugly election issue (and looking at Brexit and Trump, I am scared of how ugly NZ has the potential to get).

    When Business Roundtable types are saying the Auckland housing bubble is inflating too much, you know that a turning point is coming. It's single-handedly sorted out the genuine free-marketeers (who are usually OK with building upwards) from the Generation Rentier crowd (who speak von Mises but will cry "SLUMS!" at the very mention of density).

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    It's single-handedly sorted out the genuine free-marketeers (who are usually OK with building upwards) from the Generation Rentier

    Interestingly that link from steven takes the approach of also bashing town planning for their restrictions on sprawl.

    Saying that the housing market is
    significantly influenced by government
    is a statement of fact.

    and

    The compact cities cult

    Yeah, problematic describes that paper pretty well. I find it amusing that first they complain about planners preventing people building what and where they want, then they flip that and talk about what people have been doing as an indicator of what they want to do. "very little intensification means people want sprawl" does not follow from "planners prevent intensification", if anything the contrary would be true.

    I admit to losing interest half way through, when they get into praising the relaxation of building codes in the same paragraph as admitting that that led directly to the leaky homes crisis. But they won't let up on all the "regulatory costs", as if people would be any happier buying a new house then discovering that they now had to pay to have the road extended to the end of their driveway, a water main extended ditto and all the rest. You could easily end up as it is with cars, the "on road costs" package adding an extra 10% to the final bill. The whole reason developers are forced to pay those contributions up front is because it's cheap to build out the infrastructure in one hit, and that has to be disclosed because otherwise property developers would drop it in the fine print as an extra bill only noticed once the other payments had been made.

    Although I hear there's a few islands in Auckland's harbours that could be built on, allowing it to expand east and west rather than just north and south. We should get rid of the petty restrictions that stop people building on active volcanoes, I think.

    Russel, your stupid system just looked at my reply and said "I will throw that away, and ask Moz to log in again. That is extremely undesirable. Fortunately my browser cached it.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • Aotearoan, in reply to Moz,

    "We should get rid of the petty restrictions that stop people building on active volcanoes, I think."

    I couldn't agree with you less, Moz. Already the encroachment by housing onto the volcanic cones is too much.
    They are in great part what gives Auckland it's beauty.- green spaces to walk a dog, run the kids round,have a picnic, fly a kite- enjoy the views without a pricey trip up the tragedy that is the Sky tower (monument to Mammon).

    Northland • Since Jan 2011 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Aotearoan,

    Already the encroachment by housing onto the volcanic cones is too much.

    Keeping the natural hillside might slow the lava flow a bit too - but a built environment will give it artificial channels to speed the lava flow up and redistribute it to the lower-lands faster - though perhaps it doesn't act like water...
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    The New Zealand Home on TV1 on Friday nights is quite interesting – The radio sports jock ‘everyman’ character can be a little annoying at times, but I guess ya have to cut those intellectuals down a bit for common consumption.
    Last friday’s episode noted that even the first State Houses built were too expensive for the people they were supposed to cater to and in the wrong place – they also had a wee piece on an enclave of Hurst Seager homes in Sumner Chchch – I hope the mention they made of the others being empty and earthquake damaged didn’t trigger some arsonist, as one of them was burnt down on the Saturday night (owned by local old architecture fan, brewer and developer Alasdair Cassels)

    watch The NZ Home here:
    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/the-new-zealand-home

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Keeping the natural hillside might slow the lava flow a bit too - but a built environment will give it artificial channels to speed the lava flow up and redistribute it to the lower-lands faster - though perhaps it doesn't act like water...

    Call the fire brigade, report a pyroclastic event. According to Maurice Shadbolt that's what Aucklanders did in the late 1950s, when a bunch of students lit a ginormous bonfire on top of one of the Auckland cones.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Re: the NZ home, I had a sulk when they were talking about 1870s houses and showing houses from the 1900s. And later they described the villa as having come from the UK, when I think there's better evidence it was based on a style developed in Virginia. So the architectural history seems either to be getting lost in translation, or only done once over lightly in the first place.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Aotearoan,

    We should get rid of the petty restrictions that stop people building on active volcanoes, I think.

    I couldn’t agree with you less, Moz. Already the encroachment by housing onto the volcanic cones is too much.

    Yes, people have built a fair way up several of the major cones – look at Mt Albert. I'm agreed that preserving parkland by the summit is really important. It's a small fraction of Auckland's land area and the public good in having the summits open outweighs the benefits making the land available for building.

    I think viewshafts are a trickier question. In how big an area around the volcanoes do we want building heights limited?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    “Call the fire brigade, report a pyroclastic event”

    There aren’t any active volcanoes on the isthmus in the geological sense. However there is activity to stop development around the Otuataua volcanic stonefields. Partly because it would drown one of the last living papakianga in the country, partly because it will cut the papakianga from its (volcanic) maunga and partly because of the incredible archeological significance of the area.

    Fortunately the proposed development is one of the governments special housing areas so it’s being land banked which gives a different government the opportunity to stop the desecration.

    Since Mar 2010 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Moz,

    Yeah, problematic describes that paper pretty well. I find it amusing that first they complain about planners preventing people building what and where they want, then they flip that and talk about what people have been doing as an indicator of what they want to do. “very little intensification means people want sprawl” does not follow from “planners prevent intensification”, if anything the contrary would be true.

    That's a great libertarian logic fail right there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That's a great libertarian logic fail right there.

    I think it's more a classic example of libertarian logic. "less government is always better, you can tell by {insert example of government doing what people want}". The libertarian solution is usually to remove those disruptive elements of "the people" from consideration.

    The problem in this case really is that "the people", specifically, those who vote in council elections, don't want intensification. The people who want that generally don't live where it's proposed to happen. Which is one problem that the super-council is designed to solve. I think there is a real need for larger-scale planning than we get with lots of little sub-city councils. But at the same time, anything the democracy-hating elitists want strikes me as a bad idea purely for that reason.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    The crisis is only mainly about housing if you live in Auckland, though.

    For the majority of New Zealanders, it is about a lack of job opportunities in their region, and a complete absence of regional development. You looked, Orchid, and there were no jobs for you. There's also naff all for the locals, who are also looking for work, meaning they have to move to, guess where?

    Twenty years ago or more I made a radio broadcast about the lack of foresight in running this country as a farm for Auckland's benefit. Things have only got worse since then. Now that state of affairs is actually impinging on Aucklanders' lifestyles, of course, we are hearing a sustained long moan about it.

    Maybe we'll one day vote in a government that looks at New Zealand as a whole and considers some holistic healing. Healing the regions by putting the jobs (and many of the immigrants) there will also heal Auckland's woes, but few are even suggesting looking in this direction for an answer. Yet it's such an obvious starting point.

    It would, naturally, require a government that chose to take real action, and had a plan. Good luck with that.

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Moz,

    The problem in this case really is that “the people”, specifically, those who vote in council elections, don’t want intensification.

    That particular perspective isn’t universal in Auckland. Its loudest voices have come from a privileged class and been amplified by certain journalists.

    But it is pretty amusing that that class – and in many cases the same people – are now tribally obliged to get behind their centre-right government enforcing change. I really think a few Auckland National party types want interviewing about whether they’ve changed their minds …

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to daleaway,

    Healing the regions by putting the jobs (and many of the immigrants) there will also heal Auckland's woes, but few are even suggesting looking in this direction for an answer. Yet it's such an obvious starting point.

    Sadly, that's not what most relevant research and policy evidence says. The world is moving towards competing city-states/regions again rather than nations.

    Scale counts for providing both business-to-business relationships and infrastructure needs, and the equivalent cultural and social opportunities for residents. Planners talk about benefits of 'agglomeration'.

    Regions around Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga have some great niche opportunities, but only Auckland feasibly has the scale to beat overseas competitors for talent and investment.

    We can certainly encourage other regions to focus enough on one or two economic niches to prevail on a world stage. But that requires governments prepared to back such decisions for longer than 6 years.

    Otherwise we have low-value tourism and primary production jobs to offer our children. Gee, wonder if they'll move somewhere else?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    the brown kids who walked home with me

    I'm always grateful for learning young how my Maori friends saw people and the world. Acceptance is gold. Lifelong challenge to live up to..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    All we can take from your response is
    [shrug] Whatareyagunnado?

    Suck it up, hicks.

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I’m agreed that preserving parkland by the summit is really important. It’s a small fraction of Auckland’s land area and the public good in having the summits open outweighs the benefits making the land available for building.

    This makes me think of Central Park on Manhattan island.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Sacha,

    Otherwise we have low-value tourism and primary production jobs to offer our children.

    the most depressing part of current and at least near future NZ and both under threat from climate change and farming practices

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Moz,

    The problem in this case really is that "the people", specifically, those who vote in council elections, don't want intensification. The people who want that generally don't live where it's proposed to happen. Which is one problem that the super-council is designed to solve. I think there is a real need for larger-scale planning than we get with lots of little sub-city councils. But at the same time, anything the democracy-hating elitists want strikes me as a bad idea purely for that reason.

    Once again, Generation Rentier wants it both ways. They're happy to preach the virtues of von Hayek/von Mises and the vices of Big Government to the rest of us, but they're equally happy to use Big Government to shift the goal posts when it suits them. All they're doing is sending the message that honest hard work counts for nothing, and dumb luck and knowing all the right people is everything.

    Call me nihilistic, but I look forward to the day the bubble burst jolts Generation Rentier back to reality. That is, if they don't dig deeper into denial and go full-on Trump.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to daleaway,

    Whatareyagunnado?

    It's a bigger dynamic than we can control. I'd still push for regional economic development, but it's probably best focused on each area's existing strengths.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Sacha,

    It's a bigger dynamic than we can control. I'd still push for regional economic development

    Yep, this. It's difficult for governments to fight it, and the ones succeeding seem to have 50M people or more, but that is possibly just because with that many people you can have several 5M people cities. In New Zealand with only 5M people total it's hard enough to have one decent city, let alone several. Christchurch is great, as is Dunedin, but they're "technically cities" rather than the sort of place where you can have multiple symphony orchestras and a decent selection of touring international artists. Even if everyone goes to see the theatre production... that's 2000 people a night for a couple of years, and good luck getting literally everybody to go.

    Look, I live in Sydney because there are relatively few people doing my sort of work in NZ and if I want one of those jobs I'd have to be willing to live in Wellington or Auckland on half the money I get now. There are more people, more jobs, more of everything in Sydney than in Auckland. When we bought a house it was "out along this train line until we can afford it", and my approach to jobs is much the same "smallest city with more than 5 job openings". And I still whine occasionally that there's only one train on my line between 4am and 6am on weekends.

    And FWIW Sydney has been trying the "second city centre" game for, oh, 25 years now, and it still hasn't worked very well. Even at 30 minutes on the train, every 10 minutes, people still won't go "all the way out there" for a meeting. Forget decentralising 100km up the coast to Wollongong or Newcastle, for every job that moves out there I reckon at least two move in.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Moz,

    Look, I live in Sydney because there are relatively few people doing my sort of work in NZ and if I want one of those jobs I’d have to be willing to live in Wellington or Auckland on half the money I get now.

    A big contributing factor is that those in a position to invest in NZ's productive sector have instead put everything into the housing bubble since the 1987 Crash, and the fact that DFC NZ had no serious replacement after it collapsed.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Moz,

    And FWIW Sydney has been trying the "second city centre" game for, oh, 25 years now, and it still hasn't worked very well. Even at 30 minutes on the train, every 10 minutes, people still won't go "all the way out there" for a meeting. Forget decentralising 100km up the coast to Wollongong or Newcastle

    Yep. Humans love being where the social buzz is buzziest, even just for 'work'. Crazy.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

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