Archive | Land use

Court rejects housing on Crater Hill & peninsula near airport

Auckland Council issued a release today welcoming an Environment Court decision that the Crater Hill (Nga Kapua Kohuora) volcanic cone & the elite soils of Pukaki Peninsula – between Auckland Airport & Papatoetoe – are to remain protected from residential development & future urbanisation.

The court declined an appeal by the Self Family Trust & adjacent landowners against the Auckland unitary plan, which zones Crater Hill & Pukaki Peninsula as rural land outside the rural urban boundary.

The South-western Motorway (State highway 20) cuts through part of the hill at Mangere.

The trust had proposed including the land inside the rural urban boundary to allow building up to 575 houses on certain parts of Crater Hill and appealed against the council’s unitary plan decision.

Landowners saw parts of Pukaki Peninsula as a future urban zone allowing urbanisation over areas of very productive land.

A coalition of 5 community groups & over 800 signatories petitioned the council in 2016 to save the hill & peninsula from development, which would have allowed the houses to be built on the region’s last undeveloped volcano.

The petition was led by the Geoscience Society, Civic Trust Auckland, SOUL ((Save Our Unique Landscapes) campaign, Friends of Maungawhau & Redoubt Ridge Environmental Action Group.

They argued that the unitary plan described the volcanic cones & fields as “defining natural & physical features that provide a unique setting and contribute significantly to Aucklanders’ quality of life”.

The petition added: “Since 1950, 65% of the 26 volcanoes in the southern half of the Auckland volcanic field have been demolished, built over or severely damaged. Crater Hill is the last one left in private ownership and is currently in remarkably good shape in spite of the South-western Motorway & the owners’ quarrying & back-filling activity inside one part of the crater. The recommended unitary plan has an objective (D10.2.4) that states: ‘Where practicable, the restoration & enhancement of outstanding natural features is promoted.’”

Auckland Council planning committee chair Chris Darby said today the appeal was a test of the unitary plan provisions: “At the time the unitary plan was introduced, we were acutely aware of the need to protect the ‘green lungs’ of Auckland and ensure that the natural & cultural landscape of Auckland would be safeguarded.

In the Environment Court decision, Judge Jon Jackson and environment commissioners Eileen von Dadelszen & James Baines said that, while the decision would have implications for housing elsewhere in the city, housing demand wasn’t a simple issue: “It is not a case of ‘push the balloon of supply in here and it will bulge out elsewhere.’”

Taking into account the existing markets available for housing, the court was satisfied its decision would have minimal impact on housing supply & prices.

“Standing back and looking at all relevant considerations, properly weighted, we consider that Auckland Council drew the rural urban boundary in the correct place so as to exclude Pukaki Peninsula & Crater Hill. Its decision should be confirmed as creating an appropriate strong defensible boundary in this area.”

Attribution: Council release, Civic Trust.

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Council approves quest for $300 million of government housing infrastructure money

Against the possibility of rejecting $300 million of state support for housing development for reasons not clearly enunciated, Auckland Council’s governing body voted yesterday to apply for the money through the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund.

I left yesterday’s council meeting towards the last round of an interminable debate on fuel tax (which was approved), having gone to the meeting hoping for a quick decision on the tax and a good explanation of why the council shouldn’t accept Government funding to support suburban housing expansion.

At the end of the infrastructure money debate, the council agreed to apply for $300 million from the infrastructure fund, which would yield 6200 new homes in Auckland’s north-west.

About $130 million of it will be an interest-free loan, saving the council an estimated $50-60 million in interest over 10 years. This part will be reflected in the council’s financial liabilities, but the council can accommodate it within its prudential debt limits.

The council will repay the money from the fund through a combination of development contributions, infrastructure growth charges & developer agreements.

Financial policy principal advisor Bobbi Parkinson & Development Programme Office infrastructure funding agreements head Fiona Docherty Wright said in their report to the governing body the council must submit its detailed business case to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment before the end of this month, and funding agreements between the council & ministry must be completed by June.

They added: “If further changes to costs undermine the benefits of continuing with the proposal or developers are unwilling to meet their commitments, then Auckland Council will have the option not to proceed.”

If the business case is accepted, the Housing Infrastructure Fund will support the development plans set out in the Auckland Plan development strategy, the Auckland unitary plan, the future urban land supply strategy and the transport for urban growth programme business case.

Former prime minister Sir John Key announced the fund in July 2016, to accelerate the supply of new housing.  It was intended to provide an interim funding source to bring forward specific transport & water projects for high-growth councils with infrastructure financing constraints – specifically Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Christchurch & Queenstown.

Auckland Council’s governing body considered its final proposal in March last year, estimating it would unlock 37,100 dwellings in 4 areas at an estimated cost of $973 million.

Alternative funding arrangements were presented due to financing constraints on the council. The proposal included directly accessing the Government fund for the north-west & Northcote, and using a special purpose vehicle for the north & south.

However, the ministry assessed that only the north-west area complied with fund criteria and made the indicative assignment to Auckland Council of $300 million, which was intended to unlock 10,500 dwellings.

The ministry rejected proposals for the north & south because they were contingent on the special purpose vehicle arrangement, which was outside the criteria the Government had set. The Northcote proposal was not big enough.

According to the council report, to fully unlock Redhills & Whenuapai would cost substantially more than $300 million, but would enable about 13,000 dwellings. The report authors said: “This would not fit within the indicative fund assignment of $300 million or within council’s debt constraints. Choosing to unlock just one of these areas over the other would not maximise the dwelling yield for the funding available.”

However, they added: “In the absence of Housing Infrastructure Fund funding & subsequent infrastructure provision, some development would still occur in Whenuapai & Redhills in accordance with the unitary plan. Development on this basis will not progress housing & development outcomes and will not allow council to ensure that the wider transport network effects would be addressed.”

One of the problems the council has had with accepting the Government money now has been that it was likely to result in a less efficient development programme. Another was that costs in one area would be reduced, but could escalate in the next suburb to be developed.

The report authors suggested: “Proceeding with the detailed business case & completion of the funding agreements enables Auckland Council to progress with the Housing Infrastructure Fund process until further information on risks associated with potential cost escalation & developer commitment can be further assessed.”

They said the provision of $300 million would result in a cost of about $48,000/dwelling, and added: “Further enabling the remainder of the zones in the north-west area will require significantly more investment for a comparatively lower dwelling yield. Enabling the higher density areas now at a lower cost will result in the lower density areas facing higher costs in the future when compared to an average cost of enabling the entire area and averaging the costs across all land owners.”

Governing body, Housing Infrastructure Fund agenda report
MBIE, 21 August 2017: Housing Infrastructure Fund fully allocated

Attribution: Council agenda & release.

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Sale of 7 council properties up for vote next Tuesday

Auckland Council’s finance & performance committee will consider the sale of 7 council-owned properties next Tuesday, including 5 former council chambers around the region.

The other 2 on the list are the Graham St building overlooking the Viaduct waterfront area in the cbd, and the parking lot beside the Aotea Centre & Bledisloe House, also in the cbd.

They have a combined 2017 capital valuation of $190 million.

Local boards oppose the sale of the Henderson, Orewa & Papakura properties, which contain the council chambers plus offices of the former Waitakere, Rodney & Papakura councils.

2 of those, the Henderson-Massey & Hibiscus & Bays boards, expressed concern at the short notice and at provision for local accommodation for council services.

However, committee chair Ross Clow said the council intended to retain all its 23 customer service centres & 21 local board offices.

He said that under the council’s corporate property building strategy, the council would retain a local, face-to-face presence with communities across Auckland and provide appropriate office space for the council’s elected representatives & council staff: “Aucklanders will still be able to interact with the council in their local areas,” he said. “This proposal is about making the council more efficient, more effective & more in touch with our community.”

In some locations such as Orewa & Pukekohe, the sale of the property will mean the location of the local services will change: “Any local board office or customer service centre that could be affected by the sale of any of these buildings will be relocated within the area, in consultation with the relevant local board.

“Alongside this, we expect to reduce our operational costs of running buildings we no longer occupy as we move to more modern & efficient workplaces.”

The buildings & land being considered for sale:

CBD, 4-10 Mayoral Drive, 4238m² parking lot, capital value $28 million
CBD, 35 Graham St (and associated buildings), capital value $52 million
Henderson, 6 Henderson Valley Rd (land & associated buildings), capital value $57.7 million
Manukau, 4 Osterley Way, capital value $12.3 million
Orewa, 50 Centreway Rd, capital value $28.8 million
Papakura, 35 Coles Crescent, capital value $3.85 million
Pukekohe, 82 Manukau Rd, capital value $7.2 million

Finance & performance committee agenda, 17 April
17 April meeting livestream link

Details of the 7 properties:
Manukau, 4 Osterley Way

CBD, 4-10 Mayoral Drive
Papakura, 35 Coles Crescent
CBD, 35 Graham St
Orewa, 50 Centreway Rd
Henderson, 6 Henderson Valley Rd
Pukekohe, 82 Manukau Rd

Attribution: Council agenda & release.

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Australia moves to more energy efficiency, but campaigners see avoidable costs locked in

Public submissions close this week & next on draft changes to Australia’s national construction code relating to energy efficiency.

Submissions close this Friday on residential changes, and on Friday 20 April for draft changes to improve energy-efficiency standards in commercial buildings.

Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council executive director Suzanne Toumbourou said on Monday: “Energy-efficient buildings cost less to light, heat & cool, so more energy-efficient commercial buildings will save Australian businesses money. These very welcome new standards will also reduce carbon emissions, helping Australia meet our obligations under the Paris climate change agreement.”

The draft code also includes new measures to improve compliance with energy-efficiency standards for new homes. However, minimum energy performance standards won’t be changed for residential buildings.
Ms Toumbourou argued that, as technology provides new ways to save energy and for buildings to generate their own energy, while energy bills rise, “this would be a great time to lock in better performance for future homes as well as commercial buildings.”

The Sustainable Built Environment Council & ClimateWorks Australia have released a joint report, The Bottom Line, which shows that stronger energy efficiency standards for residential buildings could save households up to $A150/year in energy costs. They said a 3-year delay in implementing stronger energy performance standards for new homes could lock in $A1.1 billion of avoidable energy costs by 2050.

National Construction Code 2019 public comment draft
Have your say on the changes proposed for NCC 2019
The Bottom Line – household impacts of delaying improved energy requirements in the Building Code

Attribution: Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council release.

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Quiet February for consents, standalone market share slides, Auckland share up

Consents for new homes issued in February fell by 6 from February last year, from 2418 to 2412. The tally for 12 months rose by just 83 to 31,245 (30,162).

For the year, consents for standalone homes fell 1.3% behind the previous 12 months, apartments jumped 29.2%, suburban townhouses & flats 12% and retirement village units 5.3%.

The further shift toward intensification and the growth in Auckland’s share of consents have reduced the standalone share of new housing consents nationally to 67.4% in the February year. Overall floor area was up marginally (0.6%) but the value of proposed new homes (plus additions & alterations) rose 9.3%.

Auckland’s share of consents for 12 months rose from 33.3% in the February 2017 year to 35.4%.

Consents were down 1-2% on Auckland’s borders, north & south, continued to decline in Canterbury and jumped in the Bay of Plenty & Wellington.

The overall picture is of a static residential construction market that covers the net inflow of migrants but not total population growth, and continues the intensification trend which should speed up as Aucklanders take advantage of the new rules for suburbia under the region’s unitary plan.

The figures released by Statistics NZ yesterday show residential consents in Auckland were down by 21 for February to 779 (800) and 8 short of the tally in February 2016. For the year, Auckland consents have advanced by 10% to 11,052 (10,045) after rising 5.6% the previous year.

The total value of residential consents nationally in February rose 5.2% from a year ago to $1.12 billion ($1.06 billion). For the year, the increase was 9.3% to $13.67 billion ($12.5 billion), down from 14%-plus increases in the previous 2 years & 27%-plus in 2013 & 2014.

The national residential consent numbers for February & the February 2018 year (previous February & year in brackets):
Total consents for new homes: 2412 (2418), 31,245 (30,162)
Total values & floor areas for new homes: $963 million ($912 million), up 5.6%; 434,000m² (450,000m²), down 3.5%; $13.671 billion ($12.507 billion), up 9.3%; 5.506 million m² (5.475 million m²), up 0.6%
Standalone homes: 1664 (1761), down 5.5%; 21,052 (21,326), down 1.3%

Standalones’ share of annual consents: 67.4% (70.7%)
Apartments: 133 (225), down 40.9%; 3166 (2451) up 29.2%
Retirement village units: 107 (59), up 81.4%; 1950 (1852), up 5.3%
Suburban townhouses & flats: 508 (373), up 36.2%; 5077 (4533), up 12%

Around Auckland by ward, this February & last, and the February 2017 year & previous 12 months:

Region: 779 (800), 11,052 (10,045) – 35.6% of annual total
Rodney: 57 (87), 1015 (868)
Albany: 196 (196), 2385 (2469)
North Shore: 30 (72), 580 (508)
Waitakere: 49 (44), 571 (648)
Waitemata & Gulf: 11 (73), 1301 (859)
Whau: 20 (2), 366 (287)
Albert-Eden-Roskill: 117 (33), 800 (673)
Orakei: 22 (71), 222 (303)
Maungakiekie-Tamaki: 31 (6), 692 (408)
Howick: 69 (51), 648 (520)
Manukau: 64 (14), 722 404)
Manurewa-Papakura: 76 (75), 1044 (1087)
Franklin: 37 (76), 706 (1011)

Residential consents this February & last, and the February 2017 year & previous 12 months, in a selection of provinces:

Northland: 115 (131), 1237 (1261), down 1.9%
Waikato: 264 (294), 3469 (3512), down 1.2%
Bay of Plenty: 166 (226), 2630 (2055), up 28%
Wellington: 239 (133), 2432 (1711), up 42.1%
Canterbury: 375 (361), 4962 (6319), down 21.5%

Total & non-residential:

Total construction consents rose 12.6% in February to $1.68 billion ($1.42 billion), and 10% for the year to $20.855 billion ($18.956 billion).

Non-residential rose 28.3% for the month to $526 million ($410 million), and 11% for the year to $6.756 billion ($6.086 billion).

Attribution: Statistics NZ tables.

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Applications open for Institute of Building scholarships

The Institute of Building’s charitable trust has opened 2 $10,000 scholarships up for applications in the second year they’ve been offered.

Gina Jones.

Trust chair Gina Jones said the scholarships were first to recognise, encourage & financially support recipients from a trade, technical or professional role who are proposing to pursue a project linked to building through research, practice or professional development.

“These scholarships were established to encourage aspirational thinking that has the potential to increase the building industry’s performance, and we are particularly interested in applications from those in industry & training who have a project that will introduce improvements to the industry.

“We’re looking for applicants with a project that has the potential to advance some aspect of design, construction or management of buildings in New Zealand, and thereby enhance the quality of our built environment.”

A panel of 3 of the institute’s past presidents will choose the recipients.  Entries close on 30 June and the winners will be announced at the institute’s awards on Friday 24 August.

The inaugural scholarship recipients were Gerard (Ged) Finch, a post-graduate student from the School of Architecture & Design at Victoria University of Wellington, and Professor Robyn Phipps from Massey University, Auckland.

Mr Finch said the scholarship transformed his research into the potential for prefabricated construction to eliminate building & construction waste, attracting interest from both academic & industry bodies: “Winning this scholarship was a vital step & huge motivator to push the research to the next stage and has literally changed my career path.”

The trust has a fundraising programme aimed at paying the scholarships from earnings rather than from capital, based on standout events. The trust has organised a fundraising luncheon with Sir John Kirwan on Friday 15 June, the day before the All Blacks play France at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Link: NZIOB Trust awards

Attribution: Institute release.

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Council approves “transform & unlock” reinvestment for regeneration

Auckland Council’s finance & performance committee has approved the reinvestment of council property sales proceeds over the next 1-3 years into the ‘transform & unlock’ work programme – not necessarily into the same locality as the property sold – along with a broader suite of tools to fund urban development to be included in the council’s 10-year budget.

The approval was on the proviso that asset sales targets set in the council’s long-term plan are being met, “together with progressing more enduring revenue tools for funding the infrastructure, amenity & place activation required to support intensification in these brownfield locations”.

Those tools include reinvestment of proceeds of property sales and some changes to existing funding tools, such as the council’s strategic development fund. Mayor Phil Goff has proposed another potential funding tool in the 10-year budget – targeted rates for development areas – which would require legislative change.

The council will reinvest about $200 million of revenue from disposals in the transform & unlock programme to deliver amenity, activation & infrastructure projects. This will also involve the council-approved acquisition of some strategic sites.

The transform & unlock programme devised in 2015 involves the regeneration of many inner-city & brownfield sites.

The top tier, the transform locations, are central Manukau & Onehunga.

Below them, the first round of unlock locations comprises Avondale, Henderson, Hobsonville, Northcote, Ormiston, Papatoetoe, Panmure & Takapuna.

An application is before the High Court for judicial review of the Takapuna unlock proposal.

Committee chair Ross Clow said in a release after Tuesday’s meeting: “We need to be able to find ways to identify underutilised & tired areas in the central city. There are many areas that we will be able to optimise & reinvigorate through careful & sensitive development.

“To maintain the excellent quality of life that Aucklanders are used to & expect, we need to be creating more developments around existing hubs in the towns & villages throughout Auckland where there are already nearby transport options, schools, shops, community services & opportunities for recreation. By developing on existing brownfield sites, it is more likely that we can develop sustainable & affordable housing & an enhanced quality of life.”

Auckland Council, 20 March 2017: Agenda item 11, progressing urban development, streamed
Agenda item 11: 11, Progressing urban development

Earlier stories:
7 March 2018: Panmure & Takapuna carpark Unlock projects approved
27 November 2017: Panuku buys site to support Unlock Avondale project
8 November 2017: Unlock Avondale project gets go-ahead, Takapuna carpark decision deferred
7 June 2017: Hamilton-Auckland commuter rail service wins support “in principle”, Panuku gets more tools
24 May 2017: Council supports regeneration actions
29 March 2017: Committee progresses unitary plan changes, city centre masterplan, waterfront, Panuku programme, Onehunga project, land transport, northern corridor, Whenuapai, sites of significance
20 March 2017: Unlock Henderson project moves toward firm transformation proposal
19 February 2017: Takapuna reference group lodges ideas on how to upgrade
6 December 2015: How Panuku proposes to lead transformation of Auckland

Attribution: Council committee agenda & release.

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Regional fuel tax law introduced

Transport Minister Phil Twyford introduced legislation yesterday to allow regions to apply for a regional fuel tax, initially for Auckland.

The Government’s programme should allow the bill to come into force before Auckland Council’s next budget takes effect, on 1 July.

Mr Twyford said in a release yesterday: “The Land Transport Management (Regional Fuel Tax) Amendment Bill will enable Auckland Council to seek funding for specific transport-related projects. It would allow funds raised in Auckland to be spent only in Auckland.

“Auckland is at a standstill and the Auckland Council understands the frustration of its ratepayers who are spending hours of their day stuck in traffic.

“Auckland has gone through massive population growth in recent years and its current infrastructure can no longer support the city. Improving infrastructure in Auckland is vital for its businesses & its people for whom just getting to work, school & about their daily activities can be a struggle.

“Solving Auckland’s traffic gridlock is also important for the rest of New Zealand, with congestion in the city between 2015-17 estimated to have cost the economy $1.3 billion/year in lost productivity.

“Under the bill, Auckland Council must first consult with residents on the proposed projects it wishes to fund. It must then obtain Government approval before the regional fuel tax can be implemented.

“The bill will go to a select committee for public submissions. We expect the law to be passed in June, ready for potential implementation in the Auckland region from 1 July.

Goff sees $1.5 billion for transport infrastructure

Auckland mayor Phil Goff said the timing would allow the council to put the fuel tax in place when the 3-year interim transport levy expires: “A fuel tax will provide up to $1.5 billion to invest in critical transport infrastructure in Auckland.

“Aucklanders understand that, with huge population growth and hundreds of extra cars on the road every week, the response of doing nothing simply leads to more congestion & gridlock, and billions of dollars in lost productivity.

“A fuel tax is cheap to administer, contains a user-pays element for road usage and raises twice as much money as the interim transport levy, which expires on 30 June this year.

“It can only be spent on transport infrastructure and people prefer that transparency around its use.

“The equivalent rates increase needed if there were no fuel tax would be an 8-9% rates increase on top of the general rates increase of 2.5% plus any other targeted rate.

“Aucklanders can’t expect other New Zealanders to meet our share of the contribution towards solving our transport problems.

“During the mayoral election campaign, I told every meeting that if people wanted a solution towards stopping greater congestion they would need to contribute towards it. I strongly advocated for a regional fuel tax and said that if people thought they could get something for nothing they should consider voting for someone promising that, but that I did not believe that was honest.

“Council is currently consulting on its 10-year budget and half of public submissions on the regional fuel tax so far received support it.

“Aucklanders will soon get another chance to have their say on how we tackle congestion in Auckland when we consult with residents on the proposed transport projects we want to fund.”

Link: Land Transport Management (Regional Fuel Tax) Amendment Bill

Attribution: Twyford & Goff releases.

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Australian research attributes high proportion of housing cost to regulations

Advocates of removing urban growth boundaries have hailed a research paper on the effect of zoning on house prices, issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia last week.

The research paper, by Ross Kendall & Peter Tulip, was published in the bank’s discussion paper series “intended to make the results of the current economic research within the Reserve Bank available to other economists”.

The bank noted: “Its aim is to present preliminary results of research so as to encourage discussion & comment. Views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Reserve Bank. Use of any results from this paper should clearly attribute the work to the authors and not to the Reserve Bank of Australia.”

The authors wrote in their abstract: “Zoning regulations provide benefits, but they also restrict housing supply and hence raise prices. This paper quantifies their importance by comparing prices to the marginal costs of supply at different points in time. For detached houses, marginal costs comprise the dwelling structure & the land that other home owners need to forego.

“Relative to our estimates of these costs, we find that, as of 2016, zoning raised detached house prices 73% above marginal costs in Sydney, 69% in Melbourne, 42% in Brisbane & 54% in Perth.

“Zoning has also raised the price of apartments well above the marginal cost of supply, especially in Sydney. We emphasise that this is not the amount that housing prices would fall in the absence of zoning. The effect of zoning has increased dramatically over the past 2 decades, likely due to existing restrictions binding more tightly as demand has risen.”

In their introduction, the Australian researchers wrote: “Some government policies, which we will refer to as zoning, restrict the supply of housing. Examples include minimum lot sizes, maximum building heights & planning approval processes. Although these restrictions may confer benefits, they also raise the price of housing. This paper attempts to quantify the effect of zoning on housing prices in Australia’s 4 largest cities.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that zoning can have a huge effect on land values. For example, a 363ha site in Wyndam Vale (40km west of Melbourne) increased in value from $A120 million to $A400 million following its rezoning from rural to residential.

“Examples like this are common. Such large increases in values as a result of zoning changes are inconsistent with the view that a physical shortage of land itself is the main cause of high land values & housing prices – and instead point towards a high ‘shadow price’ of government permission to build dwellings as a likely explanation. It is difficult, however, to gauge how representative these anecdotes are, or to analyse how they change over time or place.”

3 issues – urban footprint, zoning & construction rules

3 planning issues are involved, and appear confused here. One is the allowance (& support) for expansion of the urban footprint; the second is the zoning confining property activities to specified areas. Third are the many rules on construction, such as height:boundary.

In the New Zealand context, Auckland has had an issue with the urban growth boundaries instituted by the region’s local bodies in the late 1990s, which made it nigh on impossible to expand the urban footprint.

The Auckland Regional Council was most opposed to expansion, while the Manukau & Waitemata territorial councils pressed the case for enabling development to expand.

The Auckland City Council saw the boundary constraint as an aid to intensification, which suited the council for the region’s central isthmus.

With inadequate boundary expansion & inadequate forethought given to intensification, the immigration spike of 2003-04 under the Labour government was met by an inadequate supply of new homes.

But the net inflow during that spike peaked at 35,000/year. This time round, the inflow began to surge in 2013, reached 60,000/year in August 2015 – compared to a total net inflow of 65,000 over the previous 7 years – and reached 70,000/year in October 2016.

It’s easy to see that housing supply could have caught up during that 7-year immigration slump, but that’s asking a sector which traditionally expands when the sun’s out to do so during a downpour.

The supply of money increased when the US introduced its quantitative easing programme (and other countries adopted similar measures) as a means of exiting the global financial crisis of a decade ago, but it also slashed interest rates.

This meant people could borrow more; it also meant prices would rise.

Attributing a rise in house prices to “zoning” (or, I think in the Australian examples as well as in New Zealand, inadequate expansion of the urban footprint) is irrational if these other causes are ignored, and it’s difficult to see in this Australian research what value is placed on the positives of regulation or on other economic factors such as the contribution of low interest rates.

Auckland’s unitary plan

As for zoning in the New Zealand context, Auckland’s unitary plan – the combination of both regional & district plans that preceded it, and updated – has provided a far greater capacity for intensification throughout suburbia, as well as providing for greenfield expansion. But that plan is new, and it will take time for the effects to be felt.

The next question concerns the orderly & efficient provision of infrastructure to enable intensification & expansion – one of the 2 reasons for creating the urban boundary. The other reason was to curtail urban encroachment into Auckland’s countryside, and that still hasn’t been dealt with sensibly.

Reserve Bank of Australia, March 2018: The effect of zoning on housing prices
Earlier stories:
19 January 2017:
Building consent highs still don’t match migrant demand
23 December 2016:
48% of net migrant inflow stops in Auckland
22 November 2016:
Migrant inflow tops 70,000/year
31 January 2014:
Migrant inflow strongest since 2003

Attribution: Reserve Bank of Australia research paper.

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Panmure & Takapuna carpark Unlock projects approved

Auckland Council’s planning committee agreed yesterday to advance 2 of its “unlock” projects, in Panmure & Takapuna.

The Panmure project, for Panmure’s main street, Queen’s Rd, had already been agreed to by the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board, but the majority on the governing body’s committee was at odds with the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board over the fate of the council carpark at 40 Anzac St (and fronting Lake Rd).

There was also division over why the local board should be able to present its view to the committee on the Takapuna project when 2 local groups, the Takapuna Beach Business Association & Takapuna Action Group, had their applications to address the committee during its public forum were declined.

The reason given by committee chair Chris Darby was that the local board was a part of the council, while outside groups had been able to present their views to the Unlock hearing last year. Cllr Darby said that when the committee had deferred its decision last November, it had done so specifically so it could engage with the board.

While the Panmure decision yesterday was straightforward, questioning & debate on the Takapuna project was prolonged. It was approved after a 13-8 vote in favour.

The Unlock programme is led by the council-controlled property arm, Panuku Auckland Development, and is aimed at revitalising centres around the region.

  • I’ll have more on these 2 Unlock projects tomorrow.

Committee agenda items:
9, Unlock Panmure high level project plan
10, Change of use of 40 Anzac St, Takapuna
Council stream on Takapuna

Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda.

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