Busting Len Brown’s spin

len in blunderland

Planning Parrot says:

Len Brown’s team at the Auckland Council have again proven they are monumentally out of control.

This week Auckland Council issued a Request for Expressions of Interest from consultants to conduct and prepare a study report that ‘undertakes a more thorough empirical research basis showing the true cost of servicing different types of development and assessing the impacts of location and typology’.

So what does that mean?

In a nut shell Council has just decided to do the analysis study work that is required to support the argument that intensification is cheaper on infrastructure than Greenfield.

The REI says:

For some time there has been a view, supported by Council’s Transport, Water and Wastewater CCOs, that it is more costly to service development at or beyond the urban edge of Auckland than it is to service development within it. There is some evidence supporting the view on development location in international studies but no specific work has been done for Auckland. In addition there is growing acceptance that different dwelling types place different demands on infrastructure. 

In their own words ‘No specific work has been done for Auckland’.

Yes you read that correct.

Auckland Council officers and politicians have been arguing for years (and in recent times) that the cost of green-field sprawl is in fact too expensive because of the cost of infrastructure (sewer, storm water, potable water, roads, etc).

But they haven’t done any studies to prove this. In fact, they don’t even know if it is true – hence the reason they have now gone out to seek the analysis (to be prepared by external consultancies) to understand the costs.

That is a spectacular and unfathomable moment of clarity that has seeped out of Auckland Council. The major impetus, emphasis and rationale for a the ‘compact Auckland’ is the so called claim that the city cannot afford to keep growing outwards.

So what they are telling us is that they plainly lied.

Comments by politicians and commentators in recent times on the cost of infrastructure and sprawl is nothing more than shooting from the hip and unsubstantiated nonsense. Here are a handful of quotes for you.

Mayor Brown said:

More sprawling suburbs. More roads. More laissez-faire development. And what would happen?

There would be more congestion. There would be even less of a sense of pride in being Aucklanders, as we live in far-flung suburbs and centres.

We would see the loss of more of our farmland – some of the most productive land in New Zealand – as it was turned into roads and pavements.

And there would be more costs on ratepayers – because of the huge infrastructure costs associated with sprawling cities.

Penny Hulse:

Auckland Council has dismissed the recommendations as ideological.

Acting Mayor Penny Hulse says the commission has ignored the higher costs associated with sprawl.

She says the most sensible direction for Auckland is to develop towards a compact city.

Ms Hulse says the commission may well have made up its mind at the start of its work and ignored evidence which did not fit.

And they have never done the analysis. They simply don’t even know if that is true.

Call me a parrot and feed me birdseed but isn’t that the single biggest admission of incompetence and systemic blunder of all time by Auckland Council?

How can Len Brown and Penny Hulse stand up now, with hand on heart and say that the city growing outwards is more expensive?

It is time for the Government to step in and take the reigns. Len should stand down as Mayor for deceiving the public. This is an outrage.


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  • Whanga_Cynic

    What reatesarerevolting said.

  • GregM

    Must be my turn.
    LBIAFC! ( D d, D d ).

    • Dumrse


    • P1LL

      You bastard , that ditty is stuck in my head now LOL ;P

  • Mr_Blobby

    “consultants to conduct and prepare a study report that ‘undertakes a
    more thorough empirical research basis showing the true cost of
    servicing different types of development and assessing the impacts of
    location and typology’.”

    Translation. Hired gun to write a report to justify our position.

  • sheppy

    This whole sorry mess, that affects 1/3 of the population, should like the world cup be taken away from Len’s idiolistic idiotic council by the government. It should be dealt with properly in a manner that preserves the Kiwi way of life instead of seeking to impose some half baked, hidden away in the smallprint jumped up crap inherited from overseas idealists with their own hidden agendas!

  • Whafe

    You see what the woman in London did to the murderer, and it gives you faith in mankind…..
    Yet in Auckland, the largest city in the country, a third of the NZ population and we have a lyer and a team of incompetent clown pants running the city, whom have no clue what is going on….
    It is economic sabotage, much like the Liabour + Greents and the MRP share offer… Treason to the very country that feeds them…..

  • Lion_ess

    Just love the picture – says it all really.

  • boristhefrog

    yet again assumption and presumption has (almost) trumped evidence based analysis and research… at least Ak Council are admitting that they don’t know whether their assumptions are true… but don’t hold out any hope for the real answer being found!

  • philbest

    It would be freakin’ impossible anyway, to claw back in “infrastructure cost savings” and “reduced car use” and “reduced externalities”, the difference between the bottom-end “fixer upper” family house in a free-to-grow market at $100,000 or less, and the same thing in Vancouver or Sydney being $700,000, which is where Akl is headed thanks to a—hole Len.

    $100,000 or less is not a typo; it is no problem at all to find houses at this price that you would pay half a mil for in Dorkland, on RE sites in 150 US cities – any with median multiples of 3 in the Demographia reports.

  • philbest

    The Productivity Commission in their Report on Housing Affordability did a bit of a review of academic literature that found that there is no conclusive correlation between density and infrastructure costs in the long term. There is no lack of higher density cities with infrastructure maintenance and renewal funding crises. Planners tend NOT to have allowed for easy access to infrastructure or rights of way for expansion etc in their “planning” over the last 100 years, meaning that renewal and expansion of capacity is often more expensive than just growing out on greenfields instead.

    I very much doubt that any NZ city has “cheap expansion of infrastructure in existing built areas” as a prime feature of their planning for the last 100 years. Not going by the regular bollocks-ups in the city streets that are dug up for months on end.

  • Len Brown is a fucking cunt

    Rates are Revolting !

    • richard.b


      • Phil T Tipp


  • Gazzaw

    More ammo for Richard Burton & Guy Haddleton. I would love to see a head to head debate between these two urban heroes and Numpty Brown & Numpty Hulse.

  • Honcho

    First time I have ever heard ANYONE in nz politics complain against laissez faire. The free market has a habit of finding equilibrium, only interventionalist policies can stop that, if what Len Brown has been saying for years truly is correct, if his UP is the future direction of the city, then a free market would already have chosen it.
    But no, he is a chardonnay socialist, he will be driving at speed to the rugby whilst the serfs are forced to take the train, cunt.

  • rrroberto

    flabbergasted! the only consultants who are going to get this million dollar contract are the ones who will be willing to produce the waffle to “prove” that Len is correct. There will be a big queue. On a downstream note, might as well save a few ratepayerbucks on consultants to rename the new city in his image , lets just call it Lengrad.