Nick Smith

Is it time to privatise the Building Consent process?

The major problem with housing, especially in Auckland is council inability to process in a timely fashion consents.

Perhaps it is time we considered privatising the process, after all the leaky home crisis is reason enough with councils consenting faulty designs…and then walking away from responsibility.

The Government is looking at ways to boost the private sector’s role in issuing building and resource consents.

At the same time it is eyeing ways to limit councils’ liability and ensure consumers are protected if builders fold to avoid paying for dodgy buildings.

Speaking to delegates at National’s annual conference in Auckland on Saturday, Housing Minister Nick Smith said a house typically costs about $500,00 to build, but councils would only receive about $10,000 in fees – equivalent to about 2 per cent of the revenue from the house.    Read more »

Tell ‘im ‘e’s dreamin’

Nick Smith reckons he can fix housing before the 2017 election.

Daryl Kerrigan knows a thing or two about bold claims like this…and I know what he’d be saying to Nick Smith.

Housing Minister Nick Smith says he can cut Auckland’s housing shortfall by the next election.

That figure is currently 32,000 thousand, but in its latest report the Productivity Commission expects it to grow to 60,000 by 2020.   Read more »

Why is the tax payer picking up part of this private company’s bill?

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The Port of Nelson has revenues of $46 million, and a net profit after taxation of $7.6 million. On top of that it paid a dividend to its shareholders of $4.2 million.

Yet for some reason this corporate bludger has its hand out for government cash.

The Government is to give $200,000 towards a study on how to clean up an area at Port Nelson which is considered one of New Zealand’s most toxic sites.

Minister for the Environment Nick Smith says the Calwell Slip, which is contaminated from chemicals used in ship maintenance since the 1970s, ranks among the Government’s top clean-up priorities.   Read more »

SHA’s are failing dramatically

SHA’s are failing dramatically to achieve the intended purpose of increasing supply. And surprise surprise – the reason is Auckland Council.

A recently released schedule from the Special Housing Area office has revealed that the full build out of SHA’s will not be delivered for 25 years – in 2040.

You can be sure that the reason for this is the rollout of infrastructure.

Council can thwart all greenfield land rollout by refusing to produce the necessary connecting infrastructure and despite that the developers will pay for it.

So what is Nick Smith going to do about it?

Increasing supply was the key plank in his strategy to dealing with Auckland Council and the issue of affordable housing. The results of which are now – two years later – failing.   Read more »

Minister of Housing issues statement: I am not responsible for Auckland house prices

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Good grief.  Has it come to this?  Explaining is losing.  Making excuses for something you aren’t even responsible for?  That’s top grade losing.

Opposition parties are piling pressure onto Housing Minister Nick Smith after the average Auckland house value rose by $74,000 in just three months.

The Massey University report revealed the city’s 56 percent less affordable than the New Zealand average, and on track to get worse.

Labour and the Greens are placing the blame squarely on Dr Smith, but he says it’s not his fault. Read more »

No surprises here as Ngati Whatua go to court

The brownmail starts. Ngati Whatua are going to court.

I wonder when the taniwha is going to turn up?

Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua has confirmed it will seek a judicial review of Government’s plan to sell off Crown land to private developers.

The iwi said this afternoon it had filed a statement of claim in the High Court in Auckland to seek a ruling on its right of first refusal on surplus land in Auckland.

“Ngati Whatua is working closely with the government to get more houses built,” iwi spokesman Ngarimu Blair said in a statement.   Read more »

Omnishambles Smith doesn’t disappoint: He’s delivered again

Housing Minister Nick Smith has blamed 3 News for recent blunders in his plan to open up public land, saying he was put under “enormous pressure” by our constant questioning.

It comes as Labour leader Andrew Little says it’s time Dr Smith was sacked.

“If I regret an element, it’s that Brook [Sabin, 3 News reporter] – you’ve put me under enormous pressure,” says Dr Smith.

Last month, 3 News asked Dr Smith to show us some of the 500 hectares of public land he’s opening up for development, after allegations houses could be built next to substations and cemeteries.

Dr Smith organised a bus tour, but the first piece of land he took journalists to, it turned out, the Government didn’t actually own.

“I pushed officials very hard to illustrate the kinds of lands we were doing in this programme,” says Dr Smith.

“Next time you push me hard I’ll need to tell you to be more patient so that we can get all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed.”

But Dr Smith’s biggest problem is legal action by Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua, claiming it has first rights to the public land under its Treaty settlement. Read more »

Concrete Cancer Coverup: David Benson-Pope tied up in mess

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Oh the irony of having ex-Labour Minister David Benson-Pope tied up in a concrete cancer mess in Dunedin.

Dunedin readers will know about the John Wickliffe House building and how the Dunedin City Council have declined the owner’s resource concent application to repair and repaint the building.

“The Princes St building, owned by Plaza Property Trust, has been hit with a common phenomenon known as spalling, or ”concrete cancer”, which causes precast concrete facade panels to crack and partly crumble, causing fragments to fall off.

Trust director Tony Offen said the concrete panels that formed the horizontal bands of the building, were cast with reinforcing steel inside, before being surface-ground back to expose a pattern of darker aggregate.

”Unfortunately, this has left the layer of concrete covering the steel too thin to prevent moisture rusting the steel.”

The industry standard technique for repairing concrete cancer involves removing the damaged concrete (up to 25% of each affected panel in some cases), rust-treating the steel rods, then applying an epoxy-based mortar to replace the removed material.

Then the panels must be waterproofed using a special-purpose pigmented elastomeric coating system which covers the repair patch to produce an even finish.”

Read more »

The Low Rat Cunning of Phil Twyford

The Herald has run a very interesting article on Phil Twyford, saying he is doing a good job of pummelling Nick Smith.

This may be true but wait until Smith says “Well what would you do Phil?” as everyone knows Phil is a bit short in the brain department and doesn’t have a sensible, cogent strategy for dealing with housing affordability that will actually work in the real world.

And Twyford is not known for being a team player.

Twyford’s ambition has not always endeared him to his colleagues. During Labour’s frequent leadership changes since 2008, some within the party observed Twyford had a tendency to sniff the wind and ingratiate himself accordingly.

Twyford was among those understood to be trying to persuade David Shearer to step down although Maryan Street took most of the fall publicly for that. In the ensuing leadership contest Twyford helped run Grant Robertson’s campaign.   Read more »

Nick Smith was wrong, Iwi are going to court

Nick Smith’s ongoing omnishambles trundles forward and as predicted here Iwi are going to court.

Housing Minister Nick Smith says it is “disappointing” iwi are taking legal action on the issue of ‘first right of refusal’ and he would prefer the matter is settled out of court.

Ngati Whatua and Waikato-Tainui yesterday challenged the Government’s interpretation of ‘right of first refusal’ in light of Budget moves to free up surplus land in Auckland for private housing developments.

“It’s a little bit disappointing, it certainly wasn’t raised when I met with the 13 iwi [yesterday],” Mr Smith said on Newstalk ZB this morning.  Read more »