Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: So what now?

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  • Marc C, in reply to nzlemming,

    Well, cutting all the interjections out of a meeting lasting well over six hours and putting them in a 5 minute video, showing this in condensed and also edited, lopsidedly commented form, that is of course representative of the whole meeting, I suppose?

    Nobody said there were no interjections, but the claims by some that speakers were shouted down are nonsense, as that sounds as if they were stopped from speaking. And when the speaker from Generation Zero and some others make comments that are also not quite factual, like the claim that they would be shut out of housing near the city and near centres, that naturally caused some anger. For instance Glendowie (one of the areas where out of scope zoning was widely applied) is not really close to the city, is it? What occurred was in a tense atmosphere, but it was by far not as frequent and excessive as some try to make out, and I was at the meeting, as I was interested in what was being discussed, so I saw and heard what went on.

    Let us discuss facts and what matters and end this silly generation and other blame gaming, I may suggest. The hearings will continue and Council will have some opportunity to speak also re the residential rezonings. If the planners simply refuse, or their experts cannot talk by focusing on what they should now comment on, then it is their incompetency and attempts to seize or block the hearing process.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    they would be shut out of housing near the city and near centres

    What's non-factual about that? It was a general statement, not a response to any particular suburb's zoning,

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Marc C,

    Well, cutting all the interjections out of a meeting lasting well over six hours and putting them in a 5 minute video, showing this in condensed and also edited, lopsidedly commented form, that is of course representative of the whole meeting, I suppose?

    You were the one who said there was no shouting, especially at the young people, when there quite obviously was. Consequently, the rest of your observations and conclusions must be taken in the light of a lack of objective observation on your part.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to nzlemming,

    I note then that you must have been there then, since you are so sure. I was talking about some in the media commenting on “shouting down”, I never denied that there were interjections. Go and watch the whole video of the whole meeting, to get a real impression of how it went, there was a bit of anger and some not so friendly "shouting" at the beginning, yes, but that was definitely not what happened through most of the meeting, as the people were soon reminded to be considerate and let people speak. Every person had their say, whether others liked it or not. “Shouting down” was commented by others, which sounds like people were shouted down so they could not speak, which is rubbish. Also did some applaud the speakers from the Youth Panel and Generation Zero, they had some audible support also.

    But in New Zealand we do not like robust debate, I gather, better keep your heads down, that is when there is no alcohol involved.

    I sometimes wonder whether I am on the left of centre version of Kiwiblog on some blogs that want to be progressive, and when reading some comments, where people are blind-sighted on one eye, only wanting to see and hear what pleases them, or what furthers their personal views and arguments.

    As for the shouting or interjections, as I would rather describe it, I did not like it, but that is what you get at some public meetings. And while there were more people over 40 or 50 and into their 70s there, nobody stopped the younger persons that were concerned to attend, so why did they not make the effort?

    But I am sure, going by your comments, I will not change your view, so feel happy with what you want to believe, that is all your choice. Have a nice weekend.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Sacha,

    The people that were there in larger numbers were from places like some Eastern Suburbs, where more out of scope zoning was proposed by Council, and this was done this late in the hearing, and mostly covered areas rather far away from any significant centres or the CBD. So naturally those from those suburbs that attended were a bit astonished about such comments.

    And as I remember, that meeting was meant to address the question whether that additional rezoning was acceptable and in line with natural justice principles, i.e. whether process was followed. So making wider or more general comments sounded more like just making political statements.

    I did not mind those, but they did not address the real core issue that the meeting was meant to resolve. And what some failed to realise is that there has already been an substantial increase in so-called feasible capacity, with changing development controls, also allowing higher densities, more heights and so forth in MHU, THAB and also to some degree the MHS zones.

    Again, why did Council not do all this capacity modeling before drawing up and notifying the plan, and come with such late zoning changes just before the whole hearings are about to come to a close? We are back to square one, a chicken and egg discussion, I presume. In my view Council stuffed up by going too far with additional rezoning, and the ones affected stood up and said, enough.

    Good night, and have a good weekend, we have to agree to disagree on some matters.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    why did Council not do all this capacity modeling before drawing up and notifying the plan, and come with such late zoning changes just before the whole hearings are about to come to a close?

    The panel moved the goalposts. The modelling was revisited accordingly. The change was not governed or communicated properly.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    nobody stopped the younger persons that were concerned to attend, so why did they not make the effort?

    most people are busy on weekday afternoons.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Sacha,

    Ah yes, that is a good excuse, most people are busy during weekday afternoons. Thanks for mentioning this, as that is what I thought myself, when noticing that Council and the Independent Hearings Panel had set all the mediation meetings on various topics for exactly such day-times during weekdays, where few ordinary citizens have time and means to be there, to take part.

    And hence we have had endless mediation and hearing meetings attended almost exclusively by the vested interest holding big players and submitters, with their expert and representative entourage, the lawyers, the planners, the various other “advisors” they have, that is during all the hearings for the AUP.

    So if this may be unfair to young people, is it then not also unfair to all others, that have to work, study and do other chores?

    Thanks for pointing out how appallingly we get treated by those institutions (Council, the Panel), as interested Aucklanders, who are thus virtually shut out of much of what happens in regards to planning and organising our future. Democracy and public participation are dead, stone dead, I must note.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    So if this may be unfair to young people, is it then not also unfair to all others, that have to work, study and do other chores?

    Yes. The retired and the wealthy do tend to have better options.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes. The retired and the wealthy do tend to have better options.

    And sadly it's not just a NZ problem. D:<

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5442 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Housing NZ summons Council experts at the hearing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Mike Lee's perspective (sounding similar to that of a certain hat-wearing activist) includes this claim:

    what Len Brown seems to have forgotten is what John Key personally told him at a joint meeting between the Governing Body and cabinet ministers last July at which I was present. At that meeting the prime minister advised the council to exercise restraint in imposing more intensification and high-rise on what he called the ‘leafy suburbs’ of Auckland. The council chose not to take this sensible political advice and pushed ahead with its secret plans.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Sacha,

    So which experts are they going to summon, those that cannot agree even on the capacity modeling, that now has many holes shot through it also?

    https://hearings.aupihp.govt.nz/online-services/new/files/8XIb7Jjn0pxGdHG583uKlzelApv1QWCXaa0GH25rQG8X

    Quote:
    "Other particular concerns relate to whether It is reasonable to use three year old sales figures in this model rather than factoring to bring the prices closer to current prices; inadequate identification of the current housing deficit; and noting that any development capacity numbers used in a shorter period (e.g. 10 years) will require a different assessment criteria to be applied to the ACDC Model.
    Finally, those members note that the failure to provide information in a timely manner has frustrated the ability of the Group to reach a consensus and cast doubt on the validity of the output."

    Even the expert group is divided, between developers having their interpretation and criteria for modeling, and others having different ones.

    So Housing NZ can march in in their usual expert arrogance, but I see little being achieved with their attempts to push intensification, where it may not even be wanted.

    This is all far from over, and I see this going to the courts, no matter what happens, either Auckland 2040 and some others will be unhappy, due to their members and supporters screaming “unfair”, or those like Housing NZ will go to the court, trying to have it their way. Prepare for an extension for the hearing, or for court action to go into another year or two after mid year 2016.

    And much of this mess is due to a laissez faire, hands off government, that simply let the Auckland housing market get out of control, by not using policy instruments to control the demand side of things. At least one good thing will come out of it, a likely change of government in 2017, I was rather impressed with the three opposition leaders on ‘The Nation’ today, looking more like a government in waiting, sufficient ideas and alternative plans in common, for a change.

    Also I went for a bit of a walk today, more homes are up for sale again, I wonder, is this now the rush before the crash, or will there be a revival of more speculation, as some buyers want to snap up homes in areas zoned for intensification, to flick them off for a neat gain again in a few years time. I have see a few homes sell repeatedly over recent years.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    A long Listener story focused mainly on wealthy older people moving into plush apartments.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Sacha,

    This is the problem, under present market conditions in Auckland, apartments will not be the so much talked about "affordable" housing as they cost even more to build per square metre, no matter how you try to cut or spin it. Only if you allow blocks of tiny units, in rather high rise typed of developments, may these become "affordable", but that is like building the ghettos of the future.

    To achieve affordability again there would have to be a massive supply to be built, that would drive existing property and land prices down, but that is not wanted, for economic reasons, as this will badly affect those owners that now sit on rather expensive homes and land. We are in a catch 22 situation, thanks to the government in Wellington, and thanks to Council having also failed to keep up with things.

    And where will be the affordable homes for those going into retirement, who may not match the wide spread baby boomer image of the do well generation? Those without savings and assets will be condemned into poor homes for the elderly, living in misery.

    Some baby boomers will leave their inheritance to their daughters and sons though, the ones that will have a good start in life already, in a New Zealand that is more class focused and divided along those lines as it may have been for generations.

    The Auckland Unitary Plan will solve little, I fear, damned little, once it will be put in force.

    We may have to look at tough new taxation laws, and at only allowing individuals to own one or two homes, not for investment, only to live in. Tax on land that is underused and homes that the rich own as additional patches or investment may need to be brought in. And the state may have to step in to build housing again, and to be a social landlord. Multi unit landlords may get tax exemptions only if they let homes that are affordable. With present conditions we will only get more of the same and more social division for the present and future.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Sacha,

    At the end of that Listener article I did again read something that is no longer applicable, and which few in the media seem to know:
    "The council increased the minimum size of apartments from 30 to 35sq m metres in 2007. “But that makes the minimum price $350,000 – it’s all wrong and completely unnecessary.”

    That was Council's position since 2007 and what was also notified in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, but has been reduced to 30 square metres again, during mediation and consultation as part of the hearing process. 35 square metres it is for those units in new developments that already also include balconies.

    https://hearings.aupihp.govt.nz/online-services/new/files/IRePCVxDR8JOu7YsWO1BeWKCArh94AthZta8MwFIRePC

    See sections 7.17, 8.17 and 9.16 for details re minimum dwelling size. Bear in mind also that a minimum dwelling mix also no longer applies under the Council's now adopted position re the AUP, so a developer can build developments that consist only of 30 square metre studio units.

    I am astonished how the media continue to misinform the public, they obviously do not know all the details about what they are writing about.

    And Martin Dunn of City Sales does naturally have very vested interests, does he not, same as many developers that want as little in rules as they can get away with.

    Truly, who is happy to live in 20 square metre size apartments that do already exist??? Maybe students not having to live in them for long?

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    An architect discusses the complexity of interpreting the Plan.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Sacha,

    The architect (usually employed by the developer and/or builder) commented:
    "The debate has suffered from blinkered thinking and cherry picking of facts; those engaging in the process desperately need a holistic understanding of both the controls and their purpose. It’s time that the voices of the informed, specifically those who regularly deal with the built environment, are heard and valued."

    A "holistic understanding", and therein lies the devil. It alredy implies much flexibility, and reading the proposed PAUP text, there are so many words and terms used, they mean one thing to one person and a totally different thing to another person.

    Another look at Council’s marked up text for the PAUP (after mediation meetings and taking various concerns on board) may be warranted, and look at sections 10 and 11 re how much discretion Council will have, according to their adopted position on assessment criteria, to allow developments (from the residential provisions covered by hearing topics 059 to 063):
    https://hearings.aupihp.govt.nz/online-services/new/files/IRePCVxDR8JOu7YsWO1BeWKCArh94AthZta8MwFIRePC

    Also take note of the new terminologies like "Planned built character and residential amenity", "planned built character and neighbourhood", which allow significant changes to the build and character of existing neighbourhoods.

    Read also – for instance – the inserted point under 11.2 Assessment criteria, page :
    "e. Whether the infringement will, in combination with other control infringements, give rise to adverse cumulative effects on the environment. This will require the effects of multiple development control infringements to be considered as a whole and not in isolation from one another."

    This is all very different to what was proposed with the notified Plan, where some rules kicked in after 3 controls would be breached.

    And this is what was agreed on by an extra stakeholder “expert conference group” – further to and following mediation under hearing topics 059 to 063:
    https://hearings.aupihp.govt.nz/online-services/new/files/6fPnRRQBwa9hbNuQ2vjiVsKKFINCps7V2LJ9JW6YV6fP

    What all this means is, that Council officers will have lots of discretion under the already proposed and further changed plan provisions to allow developments that involve MULTIPLE infringements of development controls. It appears rather that infringements will be the rule than the exception, which puts all this into a new perspective.

    Those that simply rely on what was notified, and on what some “experts” tell the public, they will be astonished about what will be allowed already, should the Independent Hearing Panel adopt and recommend all these proposed changes.

    The issue with the so called “out of scope zoning” that arose since December does not change anything of this, and it is silly to make this such a drama. As the plan has already allowed for much intensification, zoning is just one instrument, the application of the development controls (allowing many discretionary infringements in a rather flexible assessment process) is what really matters. The changes to density in MHS, MHU and THAB zones, even Mixed Use zones, I believe, allows for more developments already, much more than was notified.

    With no required minimum dwelling mix, with minimum studio apartments at 30 square metres, with deleted storage and other requirements, we will have a potential for many new developments that will not really turn out to be what some may think.

    Going by past examples, I have little faith in Council’s officers to make the right decisions. And all this does still not address the high building and land costs we have, which have been inflated by increased demand and lingering supply, and also by significant speculation on the Auckland housing market. Nothing will come cheap now, nothing.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Right-leaning candidate Stephen Berry has withdrawn from the mayoral contest and endorsed Palino.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

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