No costings done for Auckland Plan

Bernard Orsman writes in the NZ Herald:

The hasn’t done any work to compare urban and rural infrastructure costs as it asks Aucklanders to adapt to a new way of life that includes a mix of residential intensification and urban sprawl.

The council is commissioning an “Auckland cost-of-growth study” that doesn’t begin until after feedback closes on a new planning rulebook which has huge implications for the city’s urban, rural and coastal environments.

One would have thought you’d commission such a study before you even draft the plan. This strongly suggests to me the plan is based on ideology, not evidence.

Councillor Dick Quax said it was unbelievable that the council was only now seeking evidence that the compact city being promoted was better in terms of infrastructure to “peripheral expansion”.

“I would have expected that before plans are drawn up to change forever the way people in Auckland live … there was some hard evidence to guide council. Sadly this has not happened and is another failure of the draft Unitary Plan,” he said.

I have no doubt there are extra costs with new subdivisions further away from the centre. But what we don’t know, is how much extra cost. For my 2c I think any extra costs should be borne by those deciding to live out there. People should have the choice on where to live – but to get that choice, you need to move the urban-rural boundary.

Dr Blakeley said it was well established that infrastructure costs for new “greenfield” developments were higher than the costs for urban “brownfield” developments. One Sydney study had put greenfield costs at more than twice those of brownfields.

As I said, those costs should be met by developers and home-owners. But give them the choice.

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