Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: So what now?

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Leanne Pooley,

    The fact is having apartments at the end of streets on main roads makes perfect sense. Plopping them in the middle of tiny cresents (as suggested in the out-of-scope plan) doesn’t.

    I agree, and I wonder if the fact that we submitted on HNZ's submission to spot-rezone in our street has meant that hasn't happened to us.

    I expect HNZ to develop (or sell up) in our little cul de sac under its existing MHS zoning and that's fine. I could live with something bigger on the corner, 50 metres away. It's just the bid to zone a tiny cul de sac as if it were a main road we objected to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to John Farrell,

    an answer to the Auckland housing problem

    Makes sense, hence rising house prices in other NZ cities recently. Ironically at least some of the grumpy grey folk at yesterday's meeting should prepare to visit their grandchildren in other cities and countries, and to die alone in a multi-storey retirement complex miles from those they love. Karma bites.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Sacha,

    I checked the real estate listings here this morning. There are (admittedly old, and needing work) houses for sale in Dunedin for under $200,000. If you were able to support yourself, there are better prices in places like Lawrence, Milton, Balclutha and Oamaru.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • John Palethorpe,

    Here’s the thing about intensification in richer areas, it helps younger and new buyers to get homes. It really does. Here’s how.

    An established buyer or portfolio holder, with sufficient funds, wants to buy in one of the richer areas, but there’s no properties there. As a result, they buy in a cheaper area. That’s one house less for a first time buyer. Rinse, repeat – prices rise and the area becomes unaffordable.

    Now, if there’s housing available in that richer area as well as more housing in a cheaper area, there’s supply for the demand for the richer areas and those who can’t buy in those areas aren’t competing with them in other cheaper areas.

    It’s a false argument that developing more housing in rich areas doesn’t help people with lower incomes buy houses, based upon people seeing the rich areas alone, rather than the role that they play in the housing market as a whole.

    Auckland • Since May 2015 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to John Palethorpe,

    and imported demand tends to start at the top and work its way down.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I am not what is more amazing about that Orsman piece - its shear gloating malevolence or that he managed to restrain himself from calling the mayor "pants down". An utterly, ridiculously, one sided bit of tripe.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    The media reporting on this is shockingly incompetent, biased and misleading. I was there, not as a so-called "nimby" (I support some intensification in suitable areas in the right manner), but as an interested observer. I know some people who submitted as ordinary residents of Auckland, who are concerned about the plan put forward.

    What was voted by the special meeting of the Auckland Council yesterday was that Council withdraw the so-called out of scope re-zoning, which was never part of the notified Unitary Plan. They introduced these towards the end of the whole hearing process, apparently just trying their luck to add more rezoning in the form of a submission.

    There have been various models run by the research unit of Council, re what feasible capacity there is for intensification and further residential development. Kyle Balderston presented the latest as evidence (on behalf of Council) on Topic 081 Rezoning and Precincts (Geographical Areas) in January. Those models that were run did not include the late changes proposed by Council and have significant develop-able capacity upon some earlier changes (abolishing density rules in MHU and for also larger sections in MHS zones) to the Plan, reached by mediation and some additional expert advice.

    It is simply total bullshit what Bernard Hickey and some others claim now, that the now possible capacity is only another 80thousand homes. It is far more than that, go and read the evidence on the Independent Hearing Panel website:
    https://hearings.aupihp.govt.nz/hearings

    It is total nonsense by Hickey and some others, TVNZ repeated the nonsense, same as John Campbell on RNZ tonight, that now there will be 200thousand homes less that can be developed, due to the vote by Council last night.

    This is not so, again, read the evidence reports by Council planners and expert advisors that is all on the above website!

    It has become clear to me that the media journalists and also Bernard Hickey have not read the Plan itself (maybe they read a few bits of it, but not all), and they have NOT read the evidence by Council and various other submitters put forward.

    Council's planners were yesterday making embarrassing claims and giving ridiculous explanations what supposed "disaster" it would be to withdraw the additional rezoning evidence. Councillor Casey asked them repeatedly what a withdrawal would mean, and Council planners were reluctant to accept that evidence can be rewritten or considered by ignoring the additional out of scope zoning proposals.

    Council is NOT excluded from the hearing and can still represent itself and their interests, simply they now have to leave out the out of scope zoning requests or suggestions.

    It was total BS by Council's planners to say that affected property owners could try and get access to the hearing through other existing submitters, as this is simply not that easy, as submissions will in the view of the Panel only be heard on what submission points were initially presented. So adding new arguments on newly zoned or suggested re-zoned areas would not strictly fall into that scope.

    And evidence had already been presented by 10 February, now that deadline has passed. So how are people supposed to present additional evidence when the Panel set that deadline already?

    Councillors were clearly embarrassed yesterday, as their planners had gone and taken a risk without considering the consequences, and that is what Council has to carry now.

    Of course this will be seen as a victory by those opposing intensification, as Councillors will now have to tread more carefully when voting for or against the new Plan, once recommendations are received from the Panel.

    Corin Dann, John Campbell and Bernard Hickey and others had enough time to read the actual plan as notified, had the time to follow the changes proposed since then, and time to read other persons' and Council's evidence. Clearly none of them have done that, so their biased and stupid reporting and comments have totally discredited the media in my eyes, of which I have already had a very dim view.

    Talk about what you know and do not make stuff up, dear journalists, you are not worth to work and report in the positions you have, it is an utter embarrassment.

    P.S.: And re those claims that young representatives were "shouted down", that is not true either. There were one or two young representatives of boards or so, and later a man talking for Generation Zero. As some made some comments re the "older members of the public" that in their view were the only public members present, that was resulting in some disapproving comments from the audience, which was then silenced by the Mayor. The young persons, including Generation Zero, were able to present their concerns as did all others!

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think intensification is important to try and reduce sprawl (although given Aucklander’s love for sprawl, cars and traffic jams, I can’t see this working until fuel finally becomes unaffordable).

    However, I don’t think it will reduce prices. Housing in Auckland has become a token independent of utility. As has happened in other property bubbles (the empty office buildings of 1970s London spring to mind) it is not necessary for there to be a demand for property to be put to use in order for prices to rise. The desirability of land (which is all property is - appreciating land and a depreciating structure) is based on the expectation of price rises and the ability to finance the purchase with debt. Whilst the expectation of price rises and the ability to finance persists, prices will continue to rise.

    The only way to stop property inflation is introduce measures that remove the expectation of gain and the ability to finance.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    I heard the first comments by government today, reported on by the media. If it is correct that Bill English sent signals that the government may step in to force more intensification in Auckland, or to push Council to allow for this, then it shows me yet again, that we no longer have a true democracy in New Zealand.

    Such arrogant actions as already taken re ECAN are nothing short of dictatorial. Perhaps we should let the government go ahead with it, and I would like to see whether they will get away with it here in Auckland. I rather suspect that many Aucklanders will be up in arms re that, should it happen, and the days of this rotten government will finally be numbered.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Ben Ross,

    And how is your submission for unlimited heights in Manukau and elsewhere going, for the Super Metro Centres?

    Have you not a vested interest in intensification, as I suspect?

    Which developers have you consulted with over recent months?

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Sacha,

    So a refusal is the same as being "excluded"?

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    I met a woman from Sydney, Australia, when waiting for a bus to take me to that Council meeting (as an interested person). She talked about all those lovely older homes in my area, and how nice it was, as she knew no such homes still existed in much of Sydney. Then I had to tell her that our suburb has in large areas been proposed to be zoned into Terrace Housing and Apartment Building zone, allowing up to five or even seven storey developments. She was gob-smacked and in disbelief, that we follow Sydney's intensification that has led to homes being unaffordable in many inner suburbs and the centre for twin income earning young professional couples.

    I went also for a walk through the Viaduct Harbour development, seeing all these nice developments for the filthy rich, who park their luxury yachts in the harbour outside. That is the "affordable housing" for those earning enough, at the upper end of course. Even recent Council research unit models - taking into consideration all changes so far made to the PAUP - offer damned little affordable homes, as even small studio apartments cost hundreds of thousands per piece to build.

    Somehow we are on the wrong track in this country, where the rich have gotten even more rich, own their nice patches and more, and where most struggle to afford their homes, which ever more of them can only rent. This country is stuffed, and neither central government nor Council seem to have the answers.

    And nobody dares mention the elephant in the room, continued high immigration, that comes on top of natural growth, and regions that are not growing much, hence more and more New Zealanders move to the cities, particularly Auckland.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    slummertime blues...
    I don't see the problem - there are plenty of volcanic cones in Auckland that could have perfectly good favelas created on their slopes...
    We have a lot of corrugated iron roofing going to landfill here in Chchch we could send a coupla trainloads up to start things rolling...

    Having said that I am currently in Grey Lynn and looking at some pretty intensive housing on Richmond Road (where the Mattress Factory was last time I was here) it also seems to have an art installation by Christo attached to it - tres stylish!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Leanne Pooley, in reply to John Palethorpe,

    I think we're at cross purposes John. The Gen-0 brigade have argued that Nimbies are keeping them out of the inner city suburbs where they want to live. My point is that apartments in Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Westmere etc. won't provide them with the cheap inner-city housing they want because the developers will lean towards the "luxury" end of the market where the profit margins are bigger. It MAY mean prices in the outer suburbs come down (although I'm not convinced) but they'll still be kept out of the inner city. There are a number of things we can do to protect diversity in central Auckland, sadly none of them are part of the plan.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2016 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall, in reply to John Farrell,

    There is an answer to the Auckland housing problem, for some - 2 years ago, my daughter and son in law left Auckland for Dunedin - they despaired of buying a house in Auckland. Two months ago, they bought a house here -

    Agreed, ultimately that's the way to go if you don't want to be leveraged to the hilt and don't have family money to help. Opt out.

    Density improves liveability (car dependence, housing types, etc) and social mobility which is a fine thing but I'm sceptical of it's effect on affordability. Auckland is not going to go from a median multiple of 10 to 3 in my lifetime absent revolution or natural disaster.

    Better approach on affordability is to make other regions more viable for work. Pressured cities like San Francisco are seeing an outflow of talent to smaller regions, boosting jobs (and gentrification) where they settle. Chicken and egg though init.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Leanne Pooley, in reply to Marc C,

    How unusual that the media has taken the lazy option of clinging to the Nimby vs Progress narrative. Why bother looking the complex layers of the issue when they can run with good guys and bad guys.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2016 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Seriously did Len Brown steal Bernard Orsman’s lunch when he was a kid?

    No idea, but I think we've have to raise Zombie Freud to run intensive group therapy to get to the bottom of The Herald's obsession with slut-shaming Len Brown's penis out of office.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Zach Bagnall,

    Auckland is not going to go from a median multiple of 10 to 3 in my lifetime absent revolution or natural disaster.

    Look at Christchurch and tell me a natural disaster will lower house prices. Admittedly in that case followed by a protracted, entirely man-made disaster. To misquote, "he's the man, and he made the disaster".

    If you did lose a big chunk of Auckland to a volcano or sea level rise or whatever, I suspect the cost of building new houses would simply be added to the existing land price problems... except for those who owned the destroyed land who would be "individually negotiating with their insurer a settlement that best suits their particular situation".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Marc C,

    P.S.: And re those claims that young representatives were “shouted down”, that is not true either.

    Just for the record, Youth Advisory Panel deputy Chair Alex Johnson's account of that meeting is here.

    When Flora, justifiably nervous with the responsibility and the tense atmosphere in the room, pointed out that we were the youngest people present by a lot, and that she felt the “weight of our generation” on her shoulders, she was met with heckles of “poor thing” and “aww” from the crowd. I would like to believe that some of that was genuine sympathy and not sarcasm or condescension. However the vociferous response we got through the rest of our presentation – when mentioning the struggles young people face with housing and conveying the impression that property owners are pulling the ladder up behind them – would suggest otherwise.

    I don't think Alex is lying, Marc. And from what I've been told by other people in the room -- all of whom I trust and none of whom have axes to grind -- he was positively restrained. What they told me was worse than "some disapproving comments" and in the time I've covered local government I've seen exclusion motions passed for less. When it comes to arrogance, condescension and closed-minded dishonesty, Generation Zero has nothing to teach the likes of Richard Burton and Bernard Orsman.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Marc C,

    Somehow we are on the wrong track in this country, where the rich have gotten even more rich, own their nice patches and more, and where most struggle to afford their homes, which ever more of them can only rent. This country is stuffed, and neither central government nor Council seem to have the answers.

    And that’s going to be fixed by the Quaxian fantasy of endless sprawl until Hamilton and Whangarei get absorbed into Mega-Auckland One? Be really careful what you wish for, Marc, because there’s plenty on the current Council who would be quite happy to see all those icky poor and brown people as far out of sight as possible. Take another look at the social geography of Sydney some time. And then take a look at the history of “intensification” in Hong Kong, because I suspect the people using that city as some kind of urban planning bogeyman wouldn’t have cared about the people who were dying in low-rise slums there either. Hong Kong’s public housing projects may not be pretty or large enough for villa fetishists but they actually saved lives.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The only way to stop property inflation is introduce measures that remove the expectation of gain and the ability to finance.

    Auckland’s rentier class is beyond reasoning with now, and I’ve previously mentioned that they’re just as wealthy and powerful as an unelected House of (Land)Lords. Everyone reading this thread, feel free to suggest any ideas to bring forward the Auckland housing bubble burst. Sure, it’ll be ugly and there’ll be collateral damage, but I’m angry about the whole affair and it’s the only thing guaranteed to rewrite the rules in the absence of political will.

    John Farrell:

    I checked the real estate listings here this morning. There are (admittedly old, and needing work) houses for sale in Dunedin for under $200,000. If you were able to support yourself, there are better prices in places like Lawrence, Milton, Balclutha and Oamaru.

    Moving to outside of Auckland is a partial solution, if the right jobs are available, or if you’re allowed to tele-commute. Most of us are still required by management to turn up to a physical office or shop-floor.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    As some made some comments re the "older members of the public"

    Sigh. No such thing. One of the presenters for council's youth panel said she felt the weight of half a million young Aucklanders on her shoulders and could see she was one of few young people in the room - and the chair agreed that was a factual observation. Really, stop making shit up. It undermines your other points.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    it also seems to have an art installation by Christo attached to it

    courtesy of the previous Nat govt and their fashionable leaky buildings

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Everyone reading this thread, feel free to suggest any ideas to bring forward the Auckland housing bubble burst. Sure, it'll be ugly and there'll be collateral damage, but I'm angry about the whole affair and it's the only thing guaranteed to rewrite the rules in the absence of political will.

    Waiting for the crash that will fix everything is a hopeless strategy. Ever increasing property value is baked into the economy at this point. People depend on it for their retirement.

    "Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent."

    Abandoning Auckland is a good solution - if you can find an opportunity. It can be done. It needs investment and incentives to become viable on a large scale though.

    Most of us are still required by management to turn up to a physical office or shop-floor.

    Yep, tele commuting isn't going to save us. Companies investing in workplaces outside Auckland will.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    intensification that has led to homes being unaffordable

    Now you're being downright silly. More intensive dwellings are cheaper.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

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