A sensible backdown

February 22nd, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Anne Gibson at NZ Herald reports:

The controversial plan of containing three-quarters of new housing development within Auckland’s existing city boundaries is being revised.

has eased up on its vision of squeezing residents up closer by keeping 75 per cent of new housing on existing land and just 25 per cent outside the limits within the next three decades.

Instead, it is now discussing a 60/40 split, which the development sector is hailing as a victory after intense opposition and lobbying and independent reports which criticised the original scheme as unworkable.

Well it was. Plus the impact on house prices would have been huge upwards pressure.

The decision is not final. The Council is talking 60% to 70% and there is a big difference between those numbers. I thought 50/50 was a good split but 60/40 would be okay. 70/30 would still not be workable in my opinion.

The city definitely needs to intensify, and will. But the city also needs to grow outwards – the population growth makes this essential.

9 Responses to “A sensible backdown”

  1. ben (2,428 comments) says:

    The council simply cannot know what the right number is. There is no right number. What is wrong with allowing land owners working out what people want and then building to meet that demand? Last I checked property developers are not in the habit of walking past $20 bills and leaving demand, be it from the wealthy, the middle class, or lower socioeconomic groups, go unfulfilled.

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  2. Jim (601 comments) says:

    As long as people realize that an ever-sprawling city is wasteful in land and energy, makes comprehensive public transport either unattainable or uneconomic, will need more roads and more cars, and will worsen traffic congestion. Then fine; sprawl some more.

    Keep the cost of land down so that it makes sense to continue to use it inefficiently. Good plan.

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  3. davidp (3,864 comments) says:

    We have a huge amount of land available in NZ. Less than 1 percent of the country is urbanised. Why not take advantage of this and live in big houses with gardens, rather than try to pack ourselves in as if we were living in Singapore or the Netherlands?

    There is a clip over at Whaleoil’s showing Labour councilor and Maritime Union shill Mike Lee having a tantrum and walking out of a council meeting. Before he spat the dummy he was droning on about how Auckland’s future was in farming and therefore there was a need to hang on to farm land. WTF? It’s as if the industrial revolution passed him by completely and he’s still dreaming of peasants toiling in the fields. Why do people like Lee think that cows deserve more room than people?

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  4. wreck1080 (5,009 comments) says:

    yeah, how far outward? 10km? 50km?

    Some stats:

    Greater London,UK : Pop 13.9 million , land area 1,570sq km.

    Greater Auckland, NZ: Pop 1.5 million, land area 1,646 sq km.

    Tell me why Auckland needs more land?

    Give me a break. Here is a fault of incompetent town planners and designers rather than insufficient land.Culturally people are going to have to accept living in smaller blocks.

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  5. KH (707 comments) says:

    davidp @2.43
    Auckland’s future is in farming. For many years it has been the support service for New Zealand productive economy. Which is farming. And with the future protein shortages agriculture will be even more valuable.
    But one would have to acknowledge that Aucklands role is under threat and becoming increasingly irrelevant. In the 1980s regional centers and towns lost much of their role as their services moved to the big centers.
    The way I hear it is that process continues and support services. Anything from banking to advertising – are shifting from Auckland to Sydney, Singapore and Asia.
    What will Auckland have left ?

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  6. exile (34 comments) says:

    The developers in Auckland simply aren’t providing what people want, but the blame lies squarely with the banks at this point in time. Buyers of apartments or townhouses in Central Auckland need to front with a 30% deposit. Historically this has to do with lax building regulations (leaky buildings, shoebox apartments) but it is now a millstone around the neck of any intensive development.

    Opening up rural land to developers that specialize in low density sprawl will just bring about the situation that has happened in pretty much every Australian city. Outer suburbs with real estate prices in free fall, dragging down the rest of the market. A couple of weeks ago there was a Herald article about the ridiculous rents that those wanting to live in the inner city were prepared to pay. Rents at a level which would have paid off a house in Flatbush or Te Atatu within a very short timeframe. A growing number of people simply don’t want to live in suburbia, but the market is failing them.

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  7. immigant (950 comments) says:

    And another thing, no-one wants to buy the leasehold, cardboard walled garbage that has been built so far.

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  8. swan (777 comments) says:

    What is more important in terms of house prices is the rate at which the rezoning occurs, rather than the split. In the original plan rezoning was to be drip fed so that supply only just matched demand. This is ridiculous. The rezoning should be far reaching and be undertaken in the next few years. Only with widescale rezoning will downwards pressure be put on land prices. At any one time there should be At least 20 years worth of land available to develop.

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  9. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Wreck’s post says it all. If Auckland is so sparsely populated within the city limits why on earth do we want to create more suburbs? Go up, not out. Let’s be more like New York, and less like LA.

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