Yesterday we posted about housing prices and who was to blame for the situation, especially in Auckland.
It prompted this email from a Â reader:
Re: Minimum wage, how about a minimum house price
This whole discussion about housing in Auckland aggravates me because itâs not just the RMA, or the availability of land that is ramping up the price of existing homes and discouraging development. Itâs more the power of the mafia council and its ability to squeeze every last drop out of homebuilders that is the big issue.
The ânew streamlinedâ Auckland Council is actually more of a bureaucracy with a capital âBâ than its composites, irrespective of the duplication of tasks. Itâs a heaving, monolithic, Stalinist leviathan, long since irrelevant in the post-colonial era but with the statutory authority to dictate what use you may put your land to and to gouge you for the privilege.
Try just getting their consent to build a house. We did in 2012, on 3200 square metres of bush in Titirangi, Auckland. We selfishly thought we might (gasp) construct a home for our family there but the thought that someone might purchase a section for such a nefarious purpose was obviously something the West Auckland chapter of the Auckland Council Mafia was prepared for.
We were barely owners of the property for a day before the council weed-fascist was onto us. We had a ginger infestation that needed taking care of immediately or weâd be put in stocks and/or executed. We did the environmentally-friendly thing and approached the Waitakere Weedfree Trust. The guy there sold us a plastic tub and told us to dig out the ginger and put the bulbs in it to rot. A day later, and barely one percent of the ginger removed, I hit the local hardware store and bought the most toxic weedkiller I could find. Six months later, it was all still alive and the council guy was threatening court action.
In the interim, we hired an architect and got him planning our dream home. He prepared a resource consent submission, which we took to lodge at the Henderson office. The architect had warned me that there may now be a charge for the pre-lodgement meeting. What heâd heard anecdotally, and no one since has been able to verify this for me to a legal standard, is that since the formation of the âSuper Cityâ, whichever ex-composite council charged the most for any particular service was now the going rate for all. What was once free in Waitakere now cost $200.
First shock. A development levy would apply upon the successful lodgement of our consent. Approximately $10,000. I pointed out that our property was within an enclave of seven properties, six of which had been built on many years ago, but not ours. All utilities were already on site: water, power, phone, storm-water and sewage. Nothing needed to be provided, we merely needed to tap in to the pre-existing infrastructure which we had paid for as part of the purchase price. No matter. The levy was for other things, added pressure on the local libraries and such. I thought about saying I had a Kindle but doubted that would have gone down well. Â Read more »