Auckland

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 »

Worst Labour slogan ever…after Vote positive

Trevor Mallard posted the latest Labour social media “staring at goats” meme on Facebook.

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Note we paid for it…the parliamentary crest tells us that.   Read more »

Key’s tax: Rushed, under-cooked, and won’t actually work

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John Key’s new partial CGT proposal is being dismissed by the very people it is supposed to bring into line

Auckland-based financial adviser Becky Bi said her clients, mostly from China, were investing for the long term and buying before prices rise further.

“I don’t think it will affect them at all because either their children will come to New Zealand to study here, and some of them [are] planning to migrate to New Zealand.”

Ms Bi said her clients were often attracted to New Zealand because it was easier to migrate here compared to the United States, Canada, and Australia.

John Shewan of Victoria University’s business school said excluding the family home from the tax changes meant they would not affect rising house prices.

“The real elephant in the room is family homes,” said Mr Shewan, a former chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“If you wanted to change house prices you should tax all homes including family homes.
“Now, nobody’s going to do that, or they wouldn’t survive as a politician.”

Stepping back a bit it concerns me that Key is now doing a Labour: making up policy on the trot – no detail, no wide party support, and getting shot down by media and public.  Worse:  by people in the industry that know better. 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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Labour: National is stealing our immigration policy

The Government is set to give skilled migrants, investors and those planning to bring businesses to New Zealand extra points if they settle outside of Auckland.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse told The Nation it could happen within months.

Labour says it’s a good idea, but the Government is lacking a regional development plan to support it.

Skilled migrants and those applying to live in New Zealand under entrepreneur visas already gain 10 points in the immigration points system if they say they intend to settle outside of Auckland. That could soon get a boost.

“Those entrepreneurs, those innovators who could make a contribution to regional development, it is possible for us to bump up the points settings to incentivise that,” says Mr Woodhouse.

Immigration researcher Paul Spoonley says too many skilled migrants go to Auckland and incentives are about more than just points. Read more »

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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Another accord? How did the last one go?

This could be Simon Bridges moment. Or his epic failure.

The Government and Auckland Council are looking to negotiate a formal accord to make progress on Auckland’s transport plans and secure some certainty on the city’s most contentious and expensive issues.

The agreement is in the mould of the housing accord signed in 2013, which aimed to rapidly increase housing supply, and it could pave the way for more central government funding for transport projects.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown wrote to Transport Minister Simon Bridges this year to request an Auckland Transport Accord.

Mr Bridges and Finance Minister Bill English are now writing terms of reference for the proposed agreement.

Before it can be signed, the Government wants the council to agree on the mix of transport projects in the city’s long-term plan and their impact on congestion. At present, the two parties differ on the best ways to reduce congestion around the city.

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​Auckland Ratepayers will pay for the compact city not developers

Auckland Council is in meltdown. The pressure is now coming on from all quarters and there has virtually been nobody in support of Len Brown or Auckland Council for some time. The mainstream media is now calling the Auckland Council a disaster and lead commentators are saying that the amalgamation is now looming as a national economic crisis in the making.

The spending at Council is recklessly out of control and ratepayers are viewed as a bottomless pit. Increasing staff numbers, grandiose plans for tunnels and ballooning debt are just the beginning of the troubles. Now with excessive rate rises it is becoming hard to see how this is going to get better. Last week the Auditor General Lyn Provost reported that Auckland Council’s consent charges are vastly more expensive than any other Council and consents take much longer to process. It’s a total mess.

Then there is the Housing Accord in tatters. Auckland Council is abandoning greenfield Special Housing Areas to protect its compact city dreams but foolishly has said that the costs of sprawl are too much of a burden on ratepayers so it intends to focus on brownfield developments (intensification in the city) as a preference. They say that is cheaper. The problem with that is it is a bold-faced lie.

Most of Auckland’s existing infrastructure – the pipes in particular – were only ever built to service the capacity of the houses that are there now. It is widely known that capacity in the existing pipes around in Auckland is therefore limited. So the pipes are going to have to be upgraded if you cater for growth, although most are due for replacement anyway.

And here is the catch. The cost of putting in the new replacement pipes with larger capacity to cater for intensification – won’t be paid for by property developers. The reason why is that growth is only a small percentage of the pipe capacity and by law the developers can only be charged by Council for the portion of the pipe that relates to growth. You see the LGA sets out how a Council can apportion the costs equitably and it clearly directs that existing users bear the cost of maintenance and replacement of the existing pipes. The developers only pay for the cost to expand pipes to cater for the growth % of use that will add to the pipe system That cost is very small.    Read more »