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Rats & mice….

Today’s newslist contains a number of stories where the heading is longer than the story, a rats & mice mop-up….

Among them, Vital issues the prospectus for its rights issue…. A bill cutting the reporting requirements on small companies progresses through Parliament….. Christchurch City Council hands over control of its building consent functions to the Government…. US ladder maker Werner buys the Bailey business….. And the change in pastoral leases to a new rental system begins….

In apartment agency, both City Sales & Ray White had success in the auction room this week….

And in residential, Barfoot & Thompson says its average sale price has plateaued….

Over the weekend, the website will be shifting to a new platform – hopefully without trauma this time. It should happen smoothly and you won’t need to change bookmarks…..

The newsletter will spill out through the MailChimp system as usual on Monday, but with a different look to it…..

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Unitary plan proceeds to next stage….

Published 3 July 2013
After a certain amount of huffing & puffing, Auckland Council’s Auckland Plan committee did what it needed to do yesterday: give the staff a direction to follow so they can work on turning the draft unitary plan into a finalised one….

There were still quibbles, and in due course some of those might turn out to be major – Dick Quax with his demand to see evidence, not just an unsupported theory, that the compact city model is best for Auckland…. Wayne Walker wanting all 22,800 submissions to be available before the council reaches any conclusions…. Cameron Brewer pumping the concerns over building heights…. Sandra Coney seeking analysis for the committee to base its next steps on, not just staff interpretations of the broad direction of submissions….

Today’s is the second-last newsletter in this format – over the weekend I’ll be changing the Bob Dey Property Report website to a new platform (hopefully this time it will work) for a different look on WordPress on Monday…..

The new format will enable you to comment immediately on stories, and it will also offer new opportunities for advertising…..

Work on that has hampered some of my news coverage in recent weeks. Assuming all goes well over the weekend, we should be back to normal (but better) next week…..

In other news….

Argosy raises capital again after using debt for new acquisitions….

The Court of Appeal imposes stiffer sentences on Lombard Finance’s directors – but Sir Doug Graham will still be allowed to go for a daily walk while on home detention and Laurie Bryant doesn’t have to do community service because of his health…..

I’ve updated the diary to include items from 2 council committee agendas on Thursday & Friday….

On the move has its first entries for July…..

A notable absentee from Christchurch’s consent accreditation debate is who will do the work – as Auckland construction ramps up, there is less capacity to help out in the south….

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Unitary plan proceeds to next stage….

After a certain amount of huffing & puffing, Auckland Council’s Auckland Plan committee did what it needed to do yesterday: give the staff a direction to follow so they can work on turning the draft unitary plan into a finalised one….

There were still quibbles, and in due course some of those might turn out to be major – Dick Quax with his demand to see evidence, not just an unsupported theory, that the compact city model is best for Auckland…. Wayne Walker wanting all 22,800 submissions to be available before the council reaches any conclusions…. Cameron Brewer pumping the concerns over building heights…. Sandra Coney seeking analysis for the committee to base its next steps on, not just staff interpretations of the broad direction of submissions….

Today’s is the second-last newsletter in this format – over the weekend I’ll be changing the Bob Dey Property Report website to a new platform (hopefully this time it will work) for a different look on WordPress on Monday…..

The new format will enable you to comment immediately on stories, and it will also offer new opportunities for advertising…..

Work on that has hampered some of my news coverage in recent weeks. Assuming all goes well over the weekend, we should be back to normal (but better) next week…..

In other news….

Argosy raises capital again after using debt for new acquisitions….

The Court of Appeal imposes stiffer sentences on Lombard Finance’s directors – but Sir Doug Graham will still be allowed to go for a daily walk while on home detention and Laurie Bryant doesn’t have to do community service because of his health…..
I’ve updated the diary to include items from 2 council committee agendas on Thursday & Friday….

On the move has its first entries for July…..

A notable absentee from Christchurch’s consent accreditation debate is who will do the work – as Auckland construction ramps up, there is less capacity to help out in the south….

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The regional development potential opens up….

My pick of the stories on the Government’s announced support for major Auckland transport infrastructure is the take of Council for Infrastructure Development chief executive Stephen Selwood on it – not just about transport, the potential for development around new stations, and the potential for change for the better throughout the region…..

Meanwhile, in the council chamber, the 2 post-feedback workshops on the unitary plan so far have produced a number of agreed positions which will be debated tomorrow in the first open meeting on putting the final plan together….

Building heights are, not surprisingly, one issue. Another is dwelling size…..

At Hobsonville, the fast pace of development will continue as a new batch of 5 sites are opened up to builders….

The national building consent figures out on Friday show a decided shift in the economy as consent numbers lift…..

In the affordability scene, Fletcher Building got in first on Friday, acknowledging the Commerce Commission was looking at materials pricing….

And in the weekly Bob Dey Property Report diary, all the month’s council meeting dates, detail on a number of consent applications, and the economic diary…..

For the rest of this week I’ll be working with my spare hand on bringing the new-look website & newsletter into existence while I type you a bunch of stories with the other. It’s looking good, a lot of fiddly bits to tidy up and some good changes coming for advertisers…..

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Len Brown takes charge…..

Published 1 November 2010

“Auckland, this is our time.”

Len Brown was inducted as the first mayor of the whole Auckland region’s unitary council this evening and promptly launched into a speech promoting his 100 projects – led by a call for Auckland Transport to begin the designations for a city-airport rail link.

Defying Government suggestions that there isn’t the money, Mr Brown said: “Remarkable futures don’t just happen, they are made, with hard work & determination…..”

He said he wanted “a city of proud local communities, secure in their identities” to be “a city that works, that moves that is not held back… by an under-funded transport system. I said I would get Auckland moving. I will do that….

“Imagine the prosperity,” he said, “(ex-Auckland mayor) Sir Dove Myer Robinson’s system would have created…. We will build an inner-city loop. We will have rail connecting the city to the airport and we will have rail connecting to the North Shore.

“It won’t be easy – these are expensive projects. There will be a cost but we will do it, we’re not going to postpone again this work for a future generation to deal with. Auckland’s infrastructure needs to match & surpass that of Melbourne,Sydney & Brisbane.”

Want to comment? Go to the forum.

 

Lineup of stories to put your views on…..

Published 1 November 2010

The slow response rate to The Bob Dey Property Report Forum has made me forget about it, but it’s a resource that’s being wasted. On Friday, Doc posted a comment about the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation of Blue Chip, saying the SFO’s let Blue Chip off the hook.

 

Also on Friday, I received a response from the receivers of Nigel McKenna’s ticket-clipping Westin Hotel intermediary, saying the owners of 22 units who got their leases cancelled on Thursday remained in the hotel pool and were being paid rent, which was not my impression from the courthouse.

 

The demise of the Westin Hotel is a fiasco which ought not to have happened and ought not to be happening. The damage spreads far wider than the failure of a developer and the non-payment of money due to investors. By selling units in Asia then renegeing on payment, Mr McKenna damages NZ Inc’s reputation.

While Lighter Quay Management receiver Michael Stiassny was trying to ring me back to answer questions I had about his statement on my Friday story, I was taking an international call about a multi-million-dollar scam concerning New Zealand property. I suspect there are global financial crisis reasons in the background of this one, too.

And on Friday evening I dropped out to Mt Albert to see the announcement of the winners of a student competition on revitalising or regenerating the area around the Mt Albert town centre. Most seemed to me to have missed the plot, leaving only a couple I’d pick up on. But the winner, Unitec student Brendan Scott-Woods, seized the opportunity to advance ideas based on the existing centre.

Mt Albert is one of many centres around Auckland that need revitalising. The focus on that will become more real – and could become more urgent – as the new Auckland Council gets into dealing with the spatial framework now required as a planning tool.

I figure there are likely to be few Aucklanders who will have a clue what the spatial framework means or is about, so that’s an aspect of design I want to work on over the next few months.

Today, the AMP NZ Office Trust’s units turn into shares in AMP NZ Office Ltd as the trust is converted into a company with new governance & fee structures. While the managers have recognised a call for change in the listed property sector, what’s been put in place falls well short of alignment of the manager’s interests with those of investors.

This is another NZ Inc thing: Cut the cloth so small investors think they’re being left half-naked, and the reputation of the market remains damaged. Small investors have had little faith in the NZ sharemarket as a place to put their money for more than 2 decades – one explanation of the preference for investing in houses.

I was sitting at an auction mid-week – beside an investor whose affairs I’ve written about from time to time, but who shall remain nameless in this story – and he put to me a question: Name one entity on the NZX that’s performed outstandingly in the past 5 years. At the end of the auction he commented: “You still haven’t answered.”

It wasn’t a question simply about the meteoric – and continuing – rise of a particular stock, but about our faith in a marketplace, overall business performance in this country, the ability of local businesses to grow then evolve into stocks which remain locally owned because we believe in their future management and their managers believe they will get support here.

That’s a faith-based question based on our business education, the strength & potential of our economy…. right down to how we shape our suburbs, how easy we make access around urban areas and how we transform structures. This government has been working hard on transforming structures that had become clogged but it’s a main-chance government, taking a few easy options where some more considered preparation will prove in time to have been better.

So I didn’t answer the NZX performer question because a name didn’t spring to mind and, given we’re still at kindergarten when it comes to creating economic & financial structures that advance the nation without wrecking the environment we do it in, I think we’re a long way from having a crowd of robust performers to cheer on.

But changes are occurring. One is in local government structure, with the Auckland Council holding its first meeting tonight. Another is in the listed property sector, with AMP Office converting into a company from today and being reassessed on that basis (but still with external management).

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Stern words for bankrupt Nielsen

Published 25 September 2009

Property developer Rod Nielsen – variously of Auckland, then Queenstown & nowadays Las Vegas – tried to argue his way out of a bankruptcy adjudication from afar. Instead, Justice Paul Heath gave a few views on how a property developer whose business collapsed in the good times should have behaved and should be regarded…..

 

Among the judge’s comments on his decision, out this week: “Mr Nielsen operated a speculative business in good financial times and, I infer, did not make adequate provision to deal with any adverse financial conditions that might arise. Property developers cannot do business on the basis that the market will always be buoyant. Mr Nielsen must take responsibility for being (at best) imprudent or (at worst) commercially irresponsible…..

 

“The way in which Mr Nielsen conducted his business interests suggests that there is good reason, on grounds of commercial morality, for the Official Assignee to inquire into his behaviour.”

 

Check the story here: Rod Nielsen bankrupted on Bridgecorp claim

 

I’ve added the brief item on the bankruptcy to part 1 of this week’s U column, and also added 2 more pages containing quite a mix of pieces from the court…..

 

In property research, Zoltan Moricz at CBRE has produced a different look at market rents versus the rents necessary to get markets moving again. The other side of that coin is what happens to land prices – do they hold up, perhaps delaying a resumption of development, or do holders & lenders allow them to fall?

 

Check that story here: Wide gap between market rents & development feasibility

 

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Results from 3 auctions…..

Results from 3 auctions head the storylist today… First, Bayleys’ Total Property auction in Auckland last week, plus 2 from apartment specialists City Sales & Ray White’s Lorne St office…. In the Ray White story, I’ve looked at returns on a leasehold unit in different ways…..

 

Check the stories here:

Some strong yields in mixed outcome from Total Property auction

8 units sold by City Sales

3 sales under hammer at Ray White apartment auction

 

A note to auctioneers: If you want to see your results reported, send them in:

Email [email protected].

 

The U column stretched to 5 pages over the weekend, including the addition on the first page mid-week of Rod Nielsen’s bankruptcy. I also wrote a separate story about the Nielsen bankruptcy last week, which included some advice to property developers from the judge:

Rod Nielsen bankrupted on Bridgecorp claim

 

The securities area is regaining attention, for various reasons – first up, Cynotech boss Allan Hawkins pulled the company’s interim dividend in a bout of caution over the state of the finance sector…..

Cynotech pulls dividend after closer look at state of finance sector

 

ANZ has been the “silent” partner in its joint venture with Dutch group ING in New Zealand & Australia but will now take control. In New Zealand there are 2 listed entities directly affected, plus a few other passive investments…..

 

And last on the Securities list is a Brisbane investment proposal with a few New Zealand connections:

Brisbane trust with NZ connections promotes new syndicate

 

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Despite upheavals, another development plan surfaces….

Published 29 September 2009

As the region goes through a governance upheaval, long-developing plans for controlled growth keep coming to fruition. The latest of these is at Hobsonville, where the regional council has agreed to expand the metropolitan urban limits and the city council has been working on a plan change & concept development plan. The Waitakere changes are among a number which will change the top of the Waitemata Harbour…..

Regional council approves urban limit shift days before first sod turned on Hobsonville development

 

In the construction sector, building consents for new homes have held up to their monthly level of the past year – except for apartments – but the residential sector is now running $2.8 billion behind the level of activity consented 2 years ago. Keep that in mind the next time somebody tells you we’re coming out of recession – it will be a long journey…..

Consents for new homes running $2.9 billion below 2007 level

 

I continue to go to auctions to assess the market – one yesterday, another one coming up this afternoon…..

3 sold at CBRE auction

 

And the big regional news of the moment is the shortlist of designs for Queens Wharf. I had a little trouble downloading images and gave up, but wasn’t hugely inspired at first glance (a closer look at the detail of the proposals may change my mind). The story has a link to the Queens Wharf website, where all the design images are listed…..

Queens Wharf top 5 revealed

 

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Blue Chip cases left & right, and a banking question…..

Published 2 October 2009

Business news isn’t slowing down, and as I took time out yesterday to look after a private investment interest I missed the hearing at which Blue Chip controlling stakeholder Mark Bryers was adjudicated bankrupt….

 

The day before, Chief High Court Judge Tony Randerson issued what I find is a remarkable ruling in the High Court case which was to mark the way for some 300 more Blue Chip investors’ cases….. I’ve raised 2 questions on the judgment, which I don’t believe the judge could pass in the way he did to reach his conclusions. It doesn’t surprise me, on the limited evidence that I heard, that the judge could find against the investors in their claim against GE Finance. What dumbfounds me is that evidence of clear & crucial Blue Chip positions of control does not appear in the judgment to the degree it ought…..

 

I went to the courthouse on Wednesday to hear why the Commonwealth Bank of Australia was so adamantly opposed to the insolvency scheme proposed by Perron Group directors Cameron Marsh & Mark Perriam, which a majority of creditors has accepted. Counsel for the bank said much of the $41 million lent had disappeared into thin air. Well hello….. The question I wanted answered – and it wasn’t – was what made the borrowers worse than the stupidity of a bank lending so much on a development site at the end of a property upcycle……

 

On the more positive side of the ledger, syndication of the Goddard’s Centre in Tauranga took time to put together, but the syndicator has gone unconditional, improving the balance sheet of St Laurence-managed vendor The National Property Trust….. And in a second St Laurence move, the St John Balanced Fund, which it manages, has been placed on the Unlisted trading facility…..

 

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Warkworth & Waimauku decisions

Published 11 September 2009

2 decisions out this week – one on the Warkworth town centre, the other on Cornerstone’s proposal for a railway station on the edge of its Waimauku Estate land (which it’s sold) – make for interesting reading. I’ve got stories on the decisions today, will have more detail at the weekend….

 

Kiwi Income has taken the first step by a listed entity to put a large commercial property on the market….

 

From the Auckland City Council, a short version of decisions at yesterday’s city development committee meeting….. These include decisions on the city ambassador scheme….. deferral of reports on poster boards & Waiheke Island waste services….. construction shortlist for the Marine Events Centre….. changes to membership of the council’s urban design panel….. shared space….. Cooper & Co’s revised proposal for the Seafarers site at Britomart….. and the Balmoral McDonald’s consent….

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