Did Len Brown just cop a flogging from Nick Smith?

20130510041701_518cacfd0fedfThe Policy Parrot says;

Auckland Council just got stiffed good and proper by the National Government and old Nick and deservedly so.

The announcement of an ‘accord’ between Auckland Council and the National Government is a fantastic case example of why PR spin doctors can screw things up for you.

When Penny Hulse, Mayor Brown and Roger Snakely begged Amy Adams for the Unitary Plan to be given operative status on notification they were given their marching orders and told to get lost.

At the same time old Nick announces houses are bloody expensive and its time for Council to release some land.

Council panicked and with a bit of spin told media that a fast tracked unitary plan would allow Auckland to get on with it adding that they specifically want to release greenfield land.

The Council can hardly be surprised to find the Government has given them what they asked for. 

With Hulse and Brown at one point or another insisting they want to enable greenfield through a fast tracked unitary plan whilst asking for the Government to leave them alone it is of no surprise that Nick has wisely recognised the opportunity.

Alright then, if that’s what you want here it is. A fast tracked process…… for greenfield land only.

I’m sure Nick is smarting over his cunning response. I would be too. It’s genius. The unitary plan still goes the long democratic process allowing communities keep their rights. The National Government gets greenfield release to help housing affordability and Council gets a fast tracked process.


The problem is Penny and Len meant to say ‘we think our plan is perfect and we think nobody should meddle with it so let us make it operative on notification’.

They didn’t really mean to fast track greenfield. They hate greenfield.

Trying to be clever with manipulated PR spin can turn around and bite one and today’s accord proves that.

Score one to the National Government.


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Sorry I have missed something somewhere, who is the policy parrot? (interested in credentials, experience, background rather than name). Sounds like someone who is informed and writes well.

    • They are and wish to remain anonymous.

  • JeffDaRef

    That was my first reaction to the news too.
    For months now the argument has been intensification (council) v free up land (Govt).
    What was announced yesterday was all about freeing up land.
    Still nothing doing re intensification, as the people voice their disapproval of the Unitary Plan.
    A win (then daylight) to the Govt.

  • Cue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCwLirQS2-o

    Might be Nick Smith getting the large trout right back from Auckland depending on the City’s mood.

    The Council elections might be a litmus test on the mood of Auckland – and I have a gut feeling the Centre left is going to hold on to Council

  • boristhefrog

    Well the other smart thing about this is that Len is now committed to 39,000 houses over 3 years … the genie is out of the bottle… so when he doesn’t deliver (95% level of confidence on that one) the Govt has the high ground to march in and sort Ak Council out…

    One thing that Lenny Boy has to do is sort out his fecking planning department – its like a holy war is going on inside there – on one side are the intensifiers who are all gung-ho about about shit boxes (its a technical term) and on the other the (what I would call) preservationists who want to retain the more traditional look of our suburbs…

    What’s buggering up the housing market in Auckland amongst other things is this unholy mess inside Ak Council… and besides Len and his ‘vision’ this is the beast that needs to be dealt to…. IMHO…

  • philbest

    Sorry, I am not impressed with Nick Smith and the Nats grasp of this problem. Even if the 39,000 houses get built, there is no guarantee that they will be affordable. The problem is that land supply is being quota’d. These “releases of land” every few years will get snapped up by land bankers, or the original owners of the land will hold out for whatever price the market can stand, just as the owners of zoned land have been doing already. We wouldn’t stand for the
    price of bread or milk to be set by “whatever the market can stand” and
    we should not accept it with housing.

    The “free market” would fix it; we have not even started to think of what this would mean; what it would mean, is that anyone can build housing or even a whole new
    city anywhere they like without having to deal with a bunch of central planners. The only place for “planning” by government, is to follow the market as necessary with infrastructure co-ordination. This works dam well in most of the USA (not the eco-loony and NIMBY bits like CA and OR).

    Check out “The Woodlands” near Houston to see what can be done. When the developer gets the land at well under $10,000 per acre it is possible to build in every imaginable amenity and still end up with affordable houses of still-large size and quality.

    “The untrammelled free market” did NOT produce the loony overbuilding that accompanied price inflation in Ireland and Spain – what went on there was exactly what we are stupidly now doing – “releasing more land” and “releasing more land” in quantities that will suit the racketeers and specufestors just perfectly. Specufestors do not care whether the houses they buy have actual households buying them to live in at the end of the day, that is irrelevant to people crazed with greed for “guaranteed, sure-fire” capital gains.

  • philbest

    Cam, what did you not like about the comment I posted here yesterday? I assumed you would have found it interesting. I am very surprised by its disappearance.