The main issue as Russell mentioned is that big infrastructure must meet *future* rather than current needs. Statistics NZ predicts two-thirds of all NZ's population growth in coming decades will be in Auckland, mostly from local breeding rather than migration. We have been silly enough to elect a string of councils and governments who have penny-pinched and delayed building.
We are also only playing catch-up nationally on decades of underinvestment where Aucklanders also paid for roading in other regions - which is fine. We all live in the same country, and visit other places. I do feel sorry for Dunedin and the mainland coping with a cultural transition over many decades away from being the main focus in NZ. But this whole nation needs Auckland to pull our weight now.
http://www.dunedinrailways.co.nz/ runs commuter trains occasionally.
I wasn't necessarily agreeing with the ODT view - but I thought some might be interested in what some of those outside the hothouse think.
Well appearing in your blog as an opinionated friend certainly feels nicer than a mere retweet :)
Further on National’s softening on the idea of densification – Key’s comments to media after his speech square with what you point out:
If you look around cities around the world you’ve seen quite a big change of patterns in recent decades – you’ve seen a lot more people choosing to live actually in cities – a lot more apartments being built – and that has not been at all controversial…it’s where people want to work often, it’s certainly where people want to eat and often live…
…there’s no question that the structure of Auckland housing is going to change because it has to change
You can watch his standup here (but the embedded player won’t skip to the time you need, which is 1:09:25 – or click the ‘from youtube’ link) :
Keep repeating and it happens
Or I just give up
I wasn’t necessarily agreeing with the ODT view – but I thought some might be interested in what some of those outside the hothouse think.
It was worth knowing, for sure. Thanks.
That pretty much confirms the comment I made to Russell yesterday and was picked up on in the original post.
Looking at the MofEnviro's own submissions to the Unitary Plan they do support the 60% Brownfield 40% Greenfield rule as set in the Auckland Plan.
This will present issues again with the Auckland Centre Right establishment which again National should just jettison (as mentioned earlier).
One thing to watch is the talks between Government, Iwi and Panuku Development Auckland around using Crown Land (and most likely Council Land) to get higher density housing going.
Ultimately I think we can chalk two wins as such
2) Intensification supported by the Government
PS am I in Auckland or some alternative Universe :-P
Just to show you that lack of urgency in infrastructure projects is not confined to Auckland.....back in the 1960s the MOW started building a southern motorway out of Dunedin. The earliest part was built past Green Island. Then in the 1970s, they started buying houses in Caversham Valley, for the new road. Another part of the motorway was built, parallel to the railway, past Carisbrook in the 1990s.
The part of the "motorway", to link these, was opened last year. It still has traffic lights, and a 60k/h section up Caversham Valley Road.
One part of the motorway that caused a lot of trouble, was the section past Fairfield. There were underground coal mines under the land - millions of tons of coal were extracted from here in the late 19th century. Expensive back filling was necessary.
I see Phil Kitchin has resigned from Paula Bennett’s office
I’m guessing it would be hard for any journo of integrity to spin some of the lies which come out of Paula Benefit’s office. Like the one about those useless state house tenants turning down homes because "the birds were too noisy" or "they didn’t like the colour of the front door”.
Her department couldn’t provide sources for either of those statements, presumably because they were mere inventions.
Hopefully we’ll see Phil Kitchin popping up in an investigative role soon.
Just actually drawing from a wider lens here, the global economy is looking into an abyss (not immediately obvious to most NZers); national and global private debt is reaching its natural limits; and the world is looking to the public sector to print and spend on infrastructure to save us going off a cliff. Only days ago, Bill English suggested that NZ is not isolated in terms of the need for public debt and spending; in fact, NZ has been a target of this false, monetary-driven post GFC world. Therefore, this decision is not necessarily a victory for vision and good judgment. I would imagine part of it's driven by economic necessity.
If the world economy goes to hell in a handcart, Auckland's traffic woes will be solved. Other woes, though....
Only days ago, Bill English suggested that NZ is not isolated in terms of the need for public debt and spending; in fact, NZ has been a target of this false, monetary-driven post GFC world. Therefore, this decision is not necessarily a victory for vision and good judgment. I would imagine part of it’s driven by economic necessity.
Interesting point. I think it is starting to dawn around here that there aren't many levers left to pull.
Thomas is fine with the CRL and has been for a while
His press release yesterday was not particularly supportive - he seems to be saying that the money would be better spent on smaller projects that help the 'locals' - whatever that might mean...
The Gerry-built city…
We can only be thankful Mr Brownlee is not tasked with making decisions on the future of any of our other major cities. Oh, wait.
Meanwhile back in ‘the-City-in-the-clutches-of-the-Minister-of-the-Indefensible’ at least some citizens aren’t having a bar of it – it being the ludicrous notion of selling of a profitable asset to pay for assets we don’t want, don’t have a business or viability plan and traditionally operate at a large loss (an oversized Convention Centre and over ambitious extra stadium).
On my reckoning City Care (valued at approx 130 million) would return that one off gain to our coffers in a decade and a half (it’s been returning about $10 million in dividends annually)* – well before the city is anywhere near complete – and it will still need an infrastructure repair company that we shouldn’t have to pay an overseas company for every action it takes – Rates would still have to go up to cover the shortfall from lack of dividends – shallow and short term thinking – it’s as if Key and co don’t want us to have any control over our destiny…
surely that can’t be the case…
and I see we just had another 4.1 quake today
*I wonder how much of Bill English’s $100+ billion will be paid back in a decade and a half or will they still be crowing about making the interest payments (and they talk about student loan defaulters…)
If Steven Joyce is still swinging wildly, Brownlee had no reason to...(snip)
It just seems funny to me..
I imagine naughty children wildly pushing a man on a swing ...or ....
I wonder how much of Bill English’s $100+ billion will be paid back in a decade and a half
'We have no choice but to privatise all government services to pay off our tab'
Interesting point. I think it is starting to dawn around here that there aren’t many levers left to pull.
I think that there is a strong element of opportunism at work here. I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing for the sake of the economy. NZ's public debt is relatively constrained so makes sense from a macro perspective.
Greater Auckland is home to 34% of New Zealanders and responsible for 35% of GDP. Per capita, Aucklanders get less government expenditure than people in any of the other regions. Even transport spending is only commensurate with Auckland’s share of the tax take. And infrastructure spending is about growth expectations – in the next 30 years, Auckland is expected to account for nearly two thirds of New Zealand’s population growth. You can’t not plan for that.
Last time I looked, 66% was almost twice 34%. In the asset sales referendum, more non-Aucklanders voted than there were registered voters in the Ak electorates. It's only that they don't all vote the same way - much like Ak itself.
I posted that too quickly, sorry. What I really wanted to say is that this projected growth is another issue to address. We have to fix Auckland, but we can also make life better for everyone by trying to reduce this rate and spread it across other parts of the country. So yes, that regional approach is really important. Keeping Auckland's growth in proportion would help with its infrastructure problems, instead of being so fatalistic about preparing for the flood instead of setting up better defences.
We have to fix Auckland, but we can also make life better for everyone by trying to reduce this rate and spread it across other parts of the country.
Realistically this is not going to happen. For example I did a quick check of advertised IT jobs on a couple of days ago. Here is the breakdown (total around 1800):
Auckland - 58.5%
Wellington - 23.7%
Canterbury - 10.9%
Rest of the country - 6.7%
and I suspect many other high-paying professions will be similar. The choice for skilled people isn't between living in Taupo and Auckland it is Auckland vs Sydney or London.
Think about immigrants, these days you need at least a degree and other skills to get enough points. Somebody like that is going to settle somewhere where those skills can be put to use.
It is possible for smaller places to compete in the global market but even for the Hamilton, Dunedin and Tauranga this requires a lot of skill and luck.
I think that there is a strong element of opportunism at work here. I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing for the sake of the economy. NZ’s public debt is relatively constrained so makes sense from a macro perspective.
Yeah, it does. But it's interesting that pretty much no one here is characterising it the way you have.
an oversized Convention Centre
Looks like they'll make an announcement about that soon - The Crown will own it not the council - which means they'll gift running it to some offshore group like Accor or the Ozzie Plenary Group - any profits will go overseas and us locals will get the the scut jobs if we're lucky at the lowest possible wages - oh yes this will really help Chchch out of a slump...
The point is, as Russell noted, Auckland gets less per capita than the rest of NZ.
Which is absolutely as it should be, it always costs more to put infrastructure in low population areas but it is necessary, hence you get that per capita differential.
But every single time Auckland gets funding for something some numpty from below the Bombays will trot out some drivel that amounts to
"waaah waaah waaah Auckland gets all the money and we want our fair share"
completely ignoring the fact they already get their fair share.
And note I didn't say "more than their fair share" because I actually believe the rural areas will always need more support than Auckland. I just have no patience for the whining and will treat it with the contempt it deserves.
Interesting point. I think it is starting to dawn around here that there aren’t many levers left to pull.
Unless you actually believe in the data and invest in research. R&D spending by governments appears to be the one thing that consistantly sustains growth - but it's slow - hardly the kind of thing that gets votes next election.
I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing for the sake of the economy. NZ’s public debt is relatively constrained so makes sense from a macro perspective.
NZ hasn’t had a great experience with public debt. It can be worthwhile but it can also be badly managed and end up being a dead weight on the economy.
It only really works if you can be sure the asset will generate enough value to pay off the debt and generate further gains beyond just debt servicing.