Not all bad in Auckland

December 6th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

has maintained its position as the world’s third most liveable city according to the annual Mercer Quality of Living survey.

The City of Sails ranks behind only Vienna and Zurich, and ahead of Sydney (10th), Wellington (13th), Melbourne (17th) and Perth (21st).

I love Vienna. I’d put it first also.

The results means Auckland is in the top 10 in all three major international quality of life surveys, coming 9th in the Monocle magazine list and 10th in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s.

Auckland has a lot of positives. They just need more land, so house prices can come down.

[DPF: Note that this post was preset to appear at 2 pm, before the tornado struck this afternoon]

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25 Responses to “Not all bad in Auckland”

  1. Reid (15,906 comments) says:

    They just need more land, so house prices can come down.

    No, they need less new immigrants with money settling there, which has a gajillion times more effect on the market than land availability does since there are at least 10,000 p.a. of them with money who want to buy and probably a hell of lot more out of a total of 40,000 p.a. most of the rest of whom rent, in Auckland. And this happens every single year. That’s where the pressure is coming from, not land availability.

    It’s not rocket science.

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  2. unpcnzcougar (52 comments) says:

    I agree about Vienna. Have a deal with my hubby that we get to go and live there for a couple of years. Have lived in Auckland most of my life and agree that infrastructure lets us down. I’m not sure there will ever be the right people to solve that issue. We need a Dove-Myer Robinson.

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  3. berend (1,630 comments) says:

    Really David, Auckland more liveable than Melbourne?

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  4. Manolo (13,315 comments) says:

    Really David, Auckland more liveable than Melbourne?

    Not in a lifetime. Never.

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  5. whoisthisguy02 (29 comments) says:

    What in the world does liveable mean?

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  6. hj (6,330 comments) says:

    Those Mercer quality of life surveys are for companies to figure out remuneration for employees who get sent there. These are likely to be high earners so they don’t really apply to the bottom of the pyramid. They could just as easily be called the “least worse ” surveys.

    Urban life
    In recent years Auckland has ranked fifth and Wellington 12th in the annual global
    quality of city life rankings by Mercer, a US consultancy.
    But Auckland, more than Wellington, faces a challenge. Fast population growth over the past decade has strained infrastructure, boosted house prices and reduced the
    quality of life in the Auckland region.
    Addressing such issues goes right to the heart
    of the long-term strategies of the region’s councils for obvious economic and social
    reasons.
    Auckland’s ambition to become a truly international metropolis depends in part on
    maintaining the quality of life, which in turn requires bold vision, sound strategies,
    good regulatory processes and citizen commitment. Clearly, the RMA is a critical tool
    to help achieve those goals, which in turn will then help attract migrants, and help
    keep existing residents here. On present forecasts, the region could have a
    population of around 2m by 2050, a 65% rise from current levels, suggesting the
    challenges will be formidable.
    http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/0705/RMA__Oram_Paper_May_2007.pdf

    As an addendum, he also has a useful set of figures of growth from 1990 – 2004: population 21%; economy 54%; industrial production 32%; road freight 46%; car traffic 57%; energy consumption 42%; CO2 emissions 49%; household waste 35%. If we are to have sustainability with capitalism we clearly need to disconnect economic growth from resource use growth and that is going to involve a very significant change in the way this market system works.

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  7. hj (6,330 comments) says:

    What would you like New Zealand’s population to be by 2060?

    13450–13500 votes

    5 million 24%

    10 million 24%

    15 million 9%

    As many as possible. 7%

    No more – we’ve got enough. 36%
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10847678

    So once population climbs to 5 million (and paua are extinct) 60% of population are in the No more – we’ve got enough category.

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  8. James Stephenson (2,006 comments) says:

    Really David, Auckland more liveable than Melbourne?

    As a resident of the former, who travels regularly on business to the latter, damn right it is.

    Melbourne is a nice place to visit, I really would not want to live there. Sydney isn’t even a nice place to visit.

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  9. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    ^^ hj,

    Give it up! Those numbers show that 64% are in favour of a population increase to 5m or more. 40% favour 10m or more.

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  10. Bob R (1,334 comments) says:

    ***Reid (12,535) Says:
    No, they need less new immigrants with money settling there, which has a gajillion times more effect on the market than land availability does since there are at least 10,000 p.a. of them with money who want to buy and probably a hell of lot more out of a total of 40,000 p.a. most of the rest of whom rent, in Auckland. And this happens every single year. That’s where the pressure is coming from, not land availability.***

    @ Reid,

    Well said. There must be some type of cognitive bias or blindspot that prevents otherwise sensible pundits from recognising this.

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  11. Bob R (1,334 comments) says:

    ***Those Mercer quality of life surveys are for companies to figure out remuneration for employees who get sent there. These are likely to be high earners so they don’t really apply to the bottom of the pyramid. ***

    @ hj,

    That’s an interesting observation. Probably correct. Do they factor in living in higher crime areas in parts of South Auckland to the survey?

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  12. Dean Papa (707 comments) says:

    Economist sees things a little differently,

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2012/08/liveability-ranking

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  13. Reid (15,906 comments) says:

    There must be some type of cognitive bias or blindspot that prevents otherwise sensible pundits from recognising this.

    Thank you Bob.

    IMO it’s a simple fix, simply incentivise them not to settle in Auckland. Give them points or something else, I don’t care. I don’t think they do this because they think, wrongly IMO, that this would affect the “marketability” of NZ as a settlement destination. But I think they underestimate the level of motivation and reason for the decision to settle in NZ anyway. It’s normally because they can see a better life. Not because they particularly want Auckland.

    One strong settling factor is the desire to keep amongst one’s fellow migrants and we see that clearly with the South Africans all settling around the Shore. And of course this is lost with this incentivisation. But hey, whatever. That’s just part of the Kiwi life. Get used to it, living with us.

    But I think there are a lot of good families who’d be quite comfortable anywhere else, in NZ. And they would all still want to come.

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  14. simonway (371 comments) says:

    Reid: you do get points for not settling in Auckland.

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  15. hj (6,330 comments) says:

    ^^ hj,

    Give it up! Those numbers show that 64% are in favour of a population increase to 5m or more. 40% favour 10m or more.
    ….
    as someone said statistics are like bikinis: it’s the bit that they don’t show that let you see what they had for breakfast.

    What those statistics tell us is that 60% don’t want more than 5million people (about 12%more). That is significant as we have a lot of NZ citizens overseas plus natural increase so it wont take long to gain an extra 500,000

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  16. Reid (15,906 comments) says:

    Reid: you do get points for not settling in Auckland.

    Then they should do something else and this time, make it something that actually works.

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  17. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    That is significant as we have a lot of NZ citizens overseas plus natural increase so it wont take long to gain an extra 500,000

    Well wrong again hj. As at 2007 our rate of population growth was 0.95%. Over the year 2010-2011 net increase was 33,500 (or under 0.8%.)

    So you’re looking at 13 years even at the (higher) 2007 rate of growth to reach 5m. With changes in circumstances, economic performance and global economic opportunities, there is every reason to believe that the 24% that said 5m this time might revise that number upwards substantially.

    [Actually what they said was they preferred 5m to 10m - we don't know what the cut-off number for each of those individuals - there may well have been many that would have been happy (today) with 6m, 7m or 8m, but not with 10m, so the rating of 24% @ 5m is potentially misleading.]

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  18. hj (6,330 comments) says:

    Well wrong again hj. As at 2007 our rate of population growth was 0.95%. Over the year 2010-2011 net increase was 33,500 (or under 0.8%
    …..

    The nation’s population grew by an estimated 56,300 people in the year ended March, and now stands at 4.36 million, according to Statistics New Zealand.

    The 1.3 per cent increase was the highest annual rate of growth since 2004, when the population increased by 1.6 per cent.

    In the March 2009 year, the population grew by 1.0 per cent.

    Natural increase, an excess of births over deaths, was the main reason for the increase over the past year, said population statistics manager Denise McGregor.

    However, fewer permanent and long-term departures also resulted in an increased net migration, she said. As at March 31, half the male population was older than 35.5, and half the females were over 37.5.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10644904

    at 1.3% growth it takes 53 years for the population to reach 8.9 million (3.9 million more than 60% are comfortable with).
    ….
    I should also mention:

    Government policies blamed for house prices
    “Immigration and tax breaks for investment in residential property are being cited as the underlying causes of steep increases in the cost of housing over the past decade.
    New Zealand now boasts one of the highest rates of home unaffordability in the world as a result of prices rising far faster than incomes, and the government’s Savings Working Group blames that squarely on the policies of successive governments.
    Although “the favourable tax treatment of property investment” accounted for about 50% of house price increases between 2001 and 2007, the working group said, there was also strong evidence that rapid swings in immigration brought about price-rise “shocks”.
    There was a sharp spike in immigration in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and, said working group committee member Dr Andrew Coleman, it appeared that property prices did not fall anywhere near as greatly when immigration fell again.
    The report added that there was little evidence that immigration boosted local incomes. In fact, the need to build roads and schools meant that net migration contributed to the national deficit. ”
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/4622459/Government-policies-blamed-for-house-prices

    and
    80% of our population growth in the last couple of decades has been the net inflow of non NZ citizens .
    “Among policy and analytical circles in New Zealand there is a pretty high degree of enthusiasm for high levels of immigration. Some of that stems from the insights of literature on increasing returns to scale. Whatever the general global story, the actual productivity track record here in the wake of very strong inward migration is poor. In an Australian context, the Productivity Commission – hardly a hot-bed of xenophobia or populism – concluded that any benefits from migration to Australia were captured by migrants and there were few or no discernible economic benefits to Australians. And that was in a country already rich and successful and with materially higher national saving and domestic investment rates than those in NZ.”
    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/downloads/pdfs/mi-jarrett-comm.pdf

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  19. wat dabney (3,655 comments) says:

    Well I never, it’s the lying nutter hj peddling his dog-eared, partisan “evidence” for the umpteenth time.

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  20. hj (6,330 comments) says:

    Well I never, it’s the lying nutter hj peddling his dog-eared, partisan “evidence” for the umpteenth time.

    thanks, but I was quoting the “great bunch of thinkers”- Matt Nolan The Visible Hand in Economics (i.e Savings Working Group) and a Treasury economist Michael Reddell who was quoting the Australian Productivity Commission; the one which didn’t agree:

    ” that Commission’s second tranche of inquiries be selected on the degree that
    they:
    • are relatively uncontroversial given the desire to establish broad political support for the Commission” (i.e don’t piss anyone off by telling the truth).
    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/productivitycommission/pdfs/t2011-2000.pdf

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  21. hj (6,330 comments) says:

    “The vast majority of residents in New Zealand and in the 12 cities say they have a positive overall quality of life
    Life expectancy has increased across all 12 cities
    Our cities are growing in population. Over the next 20 years, the majority of New Zealand’s total population growth is projected to take place in the 12 cities. At present, our cities account for more than half of New Zealand’s population and have grown at a faster rate than the national average
    The pace of growth in our cities is placing considerable pressure on the environment, infrastructure and social fabric of our cities
    Some cities are facing environmental issues such as traffic congestion, poor air quality, poor beach and stream quality, the management of waste and protecting the cities’ biodiversity
    Residents in our cities are more likely to rate issues associated with urban life, such as graffiti, vandalism, litter and noise, as concerns than those residing in the rest of New Zealand

    Our cities are not just growing in population, they are becoming increasingly culturally diverse
    Most of our residents have a sense of connection with others, although some city residents experience social isolation
    There are continuing and, in some cases, increasing disparities between groups of people in our cities
    The burden of socioeconomic disadvantage is borne largely by Maori and Pacific Islands people, teenage mothers and sole parent families
    Home ownership in our cities has been declining, but is still the dominant form of tenure. Maori and Pacific Islands people are least likely to own their own homes
    During the past five years, all 12 cities have experienced growing levels of estimated Gross Domestic Product, low unemployment levels and an overall increase in inflation adjusted earnings. During the same period the total mortgage debt across the country has grown by $59.8 billion
    Over half of the nation’s wealth is owned by just 10.0% of the population. *Conversely, more than half the population owns only 5.0% of the nation’s total net worth
    http://www.qualityoflifeproject.govt.nz/results.htm

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  22. campit (458 comments) says:

    They just need more land, so house prices can come down.

    OK, I’ll bite. Surely if you want cheaper house prices you build smaller houses on the land that is already available, rather than McMansions on the outskirts of the city?

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  23. hj (6,330 comments) says:

    By 2031 nearly four in every 10 New Zealanders will call Auckland home.

    Currently there are around 1.5 million Aucklanders, and Statistics New Zealand expects that number to hit two million in 20 years. At the same time New Zealand’s population will increase from 4.4m to 5.19m.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/7785014/Aucklands-two-million-people-plan

    Geeee that’s .19 million over what 60% think is about right or too many!

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  24. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    hj,

    You’re peddling cant to an audience than is not listening (principally because they understand facts better than you do.)

    Give it up before the SPCA realise the the horse is dead and that you haven’t stopped.

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  25. hj (6,330 comments) says:

    Well some other people should read Kiwiblog: they might learn something.

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