Auckland Council

Bridges flips bird to Brown

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Len Brown exaggerates yet again the ‘need for the tunnel in down town Auckland with stories of crowded train platforms at Britomart.

Hints of wailing and gnashing of teeth and people unable to get home.

Britomart users may soon have to jostle their way through crowded platforms to get on to backed-up rush-hour trains, Auckland Mayor Len Brown warns, highlighting the “critical” need for the City Rail Link.

In the 12 months to April, rail use in Auckland increased 22 per cent, but Transport Minister Simon Bridges said there was still a way to go before usage reached the threshold at which the Government would consider helping fund the $2.5 billion project before 2020.

Mr Brown said the Britomart Transport Centre would face serious congestion problems by 2018 if the “stunning acceleration” of rail use continued – meaning a gridlocked city rail system and increasingly crowded platforms for passengers.

“At this rate, Auckland will meet the Government’s patronage threshold for financial support for the CRL early in 2017, three years earlier than projected. Growth has been accelerating since late 2013,” Mr Brown said.

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Waste of time, money and effort

Another example of money wasting is exposed at Auckland Council.

At a time when every cent counts as the city frowns under the pressure of growth – the clowns at Auckland Council have entered the city into a childish competition that could win it a medal.

Even my good friend John Key has joined in the folly.

Auckland is vying for the “Olympics” of world city prizes at a cost of up to $130,000 for ratepayers.

Prime Minister John Key is among those who have nominated Auckland for next year’s Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, which comes with a cash prize of $285,000, a gold medallion and a certificate.

Auckland is one of about 40 city nominees, which will get whittled down to a shortlist of three-to-five cities in late July.

New York, Bilbao in Spain and the Chinese city of Suzhou have won the biennial international award that began in 2010 and honours outstanding achievements leading to the creation of liveable, vibrant and sustainable cities.   Read more »

Is Labour serious about housing or just politicking?

Labour has been moaning for ages about affordable housing and imploring the government to DO something.

And so the government does do something…they say they will allow houses to be built on vacant government land, something labour actually asked for…I remember Annette King moaning about it last week in parliament.

Except Labour’s Phil Twyford has found something to moan about with that proposal too.

The Government’s plan to open up public land to help with the Auckland housing crisis is under attack, with revelations the land includes a power substation site.

Labour says only a quarter of the land earmarked for development can actually be built on – a claim the Government has rubbished.

The substation could be the site of the latest Government-backed housing development in Auckland. But the Government says there’s spare land behind all the wires, and it wouldn’t make a bad home.

“The substation is only in one corner, and there are three hectares of vacant land,” says Housing Minister Nick Smith. “Why would we not consider housing development on the remainder of the vacant land?”

On Budget day, the Government announced building on public land would get underway, saying it “owns approximately 500 hectares of land in Auckland with the potential for residential development”.

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Change of strategy needed to fight against Auckland Council

Property Developers, builders and the construction industry need to change strategy in the fight against Auckland Council. So far they have been losing.

Most of the industry is made up of small business. Think about how many builders exist cutting a living from building one, two or three houses a year. Predominantly – the greater portion of property development companies are staffed by a handful of people and statistically they build only 20% of the new housing stock each year. They are bit part players. Some of the group housing companies have ramped up and Asian investors are getting in on the game in bigger numbers but compared to overseas the business matrix is lacking real big players. And then there is the construction industry. A handful of bigger companies who dominate and the balance is made up of smaller business. Subbies and specialists.

Most if not all of these players are without a voice, except through the likes of their representative organisations – like the Property Council, the Builders Federation, Council for infrastructure, etc. Whilst these organisations are good to a point – they are failing miserably to get traction in Auckland. The organisations are well-connected but they play the nice-guy lobby game, organising meetings and group think sessions, talking to ministers and ministry advisors and even get seats occasionally around the table with Council for input on various matters. But the facts speak for themselves – Auckland Council is operating more or less the same as it was previously and it is charging ahead with ideas that have been fought over for years. So it’s hard to find any wins for the property industry in the current landscape that surrounds Auckland Council.

Even the Special Housing Areas are going to poo. The Council has found the gumption to tell the Government to sod off, has suspended consent processing for greenfield developments. Struggling for land – the supply chain for housing is choked and now noose is tightening. Where is the win in that?

Auckland Council is dead set useless. Consents are slow and the figures heavily manipulated. Infrastructure is poked and used as a lever to thwart greenfield. Simple consents and processes require much angst, meddling and frustration. Try getting a consent for a basic deck addition to a house and you’ll find out just how complicated, slow and costly it is to deal with Auckland Council. Only last month the Auditor General commented that the consent costs charged by Auckland Council are vastly expensive compared to the same charges for the same consents charged by other local authorities around the Country. Development Contributions, Network Growth Charges and punishing time frames are causing migraines for the development and building industry. Nobody is immune to the effect that Auckland Council has. Most Councillors are in effectual troughers who do whatever the officials tell them.  Read more »

Unelected Maori standover merchants bag $80 million from ratbag council

How does it feel Aucklanders?

After ratbag councillors stiffed you with a rates rate of almost 10%, now you wake up and listen to the wireless and find out that the same ratbag council has just chucked $80 million of your rates money at the ratbag standover merchants who have banned us from driving up Mount Eden.

Auckland’s Maunga Authority says iwi are making progress in protecting their taonga – the city’s tihi (summit) – after receiving a large funding boost.

The authority was established eight months ago, and its kaupapa is to protect the 14 Tūpuna Maunga affiliated with the 13 iwi in the rohe.

Auckland Council has allocated nearly $80 million to the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority for the next 10 years.   Read more »

Not the sort of support you’d really want

Len Brown has stated he supports John Banks…and understands what he went through.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has come out in support of his former political rival John Banks, saying he understands what he’s been through.

Former ACT MP and Auckland Mayor John Banks’ three-year court battle over allegations of knowingly filing a false electoral return ended on Tuesday with an aquittal ordered by the Court of Appeal.

Banks has likened the case against him to a “jihad”.

Brown, who found himself at the centre of a media maelstrom in 2013 when it emerged he had an extramarital affair, would not be drawn on suggestions Banks could again stand for the Auckland mayoralty.

But he expressed sympathy with what Banks had endured.    Read more »

Len’s signed his own political death warrant

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Bad financial management is one thing.   Lying another.  Cheating on your long suffering wife is also not flash, and having sex on council property with council staff another poor decision.

None of that was enough to get the rate payers of Auckland upset.

But now Len and his Council have made the biggest mistake of all – hit his remaining supporters directly in the pocket.   Read more »

National’s new tax on housing the equivalent of a dry root

John Key has announced he is going to tinker at the edges of housing by implementing a new tax on capital gains on housing.

Back bench MPs were hastily briefed last night with a once over lightly account of the policy.

Audrey Young writes about it in the NZ Herald.

The capital gains of people selling residential property within two years of buying it will now be taxed, Prime Minister John Key announced this morning as part of the Budget package.

The exemptions to this new bright-line test will be if the property sold is the seller’s main home, if it is part of a deceased estate or inherited, and or if it is transferred as part of a relationship settlement.

The tax will be on the seller’s normal income tax rate.

The move, to take effect from October 1, is expected to address Auckland house inflation which has seen property values increase by 18 per cent in a year and 60 per cent since 2008.

At present, capital gains are taxed if IRD believes it was the intention of the seller to make a capital gain on a property.

That rule will remain in addition to the bright-line test so that if somebody flicked on a property after two years and one day, they would almost certainly have to pay tax on the gain.

The Government will also introduce rules that could make the over-heated Auckland housing market less attractive to non-resident speculators.

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Understanding Auckland’s problem and the blame lies with green policies

Peter King inserted a lengthy explanation of the contradictory nature of left wing politics in trying to explain their opposition to the flag debate.

I didn’t include that in the previous post because it was tl;dr and not really related.

But it is worth exploring for understanding why house prices are rising and land supply is artificially constricted by an intransigent council.

The left quite often seems incapable of seeing the contradictions of its own policy positions. More often than not it adopts policies because they seem trendy rather than because they are helpful. This is where the effect of Green policy is at its most subversive.
The problem is that most left wing politicians fall into the Green target demographic. They are wealthy urban dwellers from well-off middle class homes. Huge numbers of labour followers are school teachers now into their late fifties who were hippies in the 70s. Greens do not target farmers or farm workers, or the urban poor for the simple reason they know instinctively that Green agricultural and industrial policies are often ill-thought out nonsense. Green voters are well-off urbanites whose incomes typically come from taxpayers or providing business services so abstracted from industry as to be on a different planet. The Green delusion is built on that inter-generational arrogance that parents are all thick and there are better ways of doing things. That and large amounts of hypocrisy (and don’t imagine we haven’t all been there). It is an ideal which suits idealists and those who rebel against their parents but rarely has any deep thought put into it.

[…]

For example the Greens hate cars. They pretend they don’t but really they do. They even hate electric cars. Cars are seen as the enemies of this idyl and the world would be so much better if everyone used bicycles and trains instead. Of course bicycles and trains work really well if you live in the city centre and your city was built around dray deliveries. But most cities these days are built around cars.
Cars carry babies, groceries, children, dogs, and other stuff without physical effort over long distances very quickly. They have liberated women like no other tool (it is no coincidence that the world’s most patriachal nations won’t let women drive). Cars expand the options of a worker seeking work. Cars provide freedom and they are massively popular demonstrated by the fact the global automotive industry is still growing.
The Greens hatred of cars means they propose “smart cities” which are built around (guess what) trains and bicycles. But to make that work they need to concentrate cities into apartments and rail networks. So “sprawl” is a dirty word and “smart cities” are “sustainable” and make up a million and one tedious arguments to justify that outcome.

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Sports trougher wants someone else to pay for yet another stadium

Another sports trougher wants someone else to pay for yet another stadium Auckland doesn’t need.

Warriors boss Jim Doyle wants Eden Park knocked down in what would be a controversial but vital step towards building a dedicated football stadium in downtown Auckland.

Doyle, who returned to New Zealand after two years as the NRL’s chief operating officer, believes it is time to let go of a big part of Auckland’s history to create a vibrant future.

Doyle wants the Blues and Auckland rugby games relocated temporarily to Mt Smart, a dedicated football stadium. In a happy coincidence, the Blues’ new HQ is nearby, at Alexandra Park.

The ultimate goal would be a 40,000-seat downtown stadium as the home of rugby, league and football with money from the sale of outdated, poorly-located Eden Park contributing to the costs. The city stadium would rejuvenate sport and boost the centre of town, with tourists who shun outlying stadiums also attracted to the new arena.

Doyle says he is continually frustrated at the favoured status of rugby, especially when it blocks vital progress. The national game could no longer sit on an ineffective stadium with a 50,000 capacity it hardly ever needed. This situation was preventing Auckland getting the football facility it desperately needed.

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