Auckland Council getting their beans from all sides now…except Phil Goff

Labour have called Auckland Council’s housing plan deluded:

Labour says Auckland Council is deluded, after it said its metropolitan urban limit wasn’t holding up development of new housing.

“I think [Auckland Council is] utterly out of touch,” says Labour’s Phil Twyford.

“If they think that the current status quo is working they are absolutely deluded.”

A rare alliance between Labour and National saw the council backed into a corner, but today the council came out fighting.

“We feel there’s quite a lot of misinformation out there,” says Auckland Council’s Penny Wright.

Much of the debate is around freeing up land for new housing.

The council rejects the idea it’s kept a tight grip on the Metropolitan Urban Limit — essentially a ring around Auckland dictating where housing is built.

Idiots like Bill Cashmore are defending Auckland Council’s stupidity by using social media to promote the Council’s own propaganda department’s assessment.

The ground has moved beneath them though with Labour, National and now the Greens all agreeing on the removal of the Rural Urban Boundary (RUB) which artificially constrains the city.

Green Co-Leader and Housing Spokeswoman Metiria Turei said the Greens were also open to Labour’s package of relaxed city limits, relaxed density controls and new infrastructure financing, as long as it included integrated planning with public transport and protection of special land.

“That deals with a lot of our general concerns about just freeing up land on the rural boundary to allow for more sprawl. On the face of it, it looks like something we could consider and support because it has all of the parts of the puzzle integrated. The devil is in the detail always, but we’re certainly interested in their proposal,” Turei told me, adding she was also open to the infrastructure funding idea.

“If this is a measure to help with the affordability question, then this is a measure that should be given some serious thought. With the housing crisis as it is, every idea needs to be explored. We can’t afford to dismiss any idea outright.”

And you know Council is the cactus when David Seymour agrees with the Greens, National and Labour:

ACT Leader and Epsom MP David Seymour said he was glad Labour had adopted ACT’s position from before the 2014 election, when it was the only party calling for the abolishment of the RUB.

“They say, first they fight you, then they laugh at you, and then you win,” Seymour said.

He also said he wasn’t opposed to Labour’s call for a removal of density controls within the city limits, but said the Council needed to convince residents like those in his Epsom electorate that their concerns about congestion, school zones and community character were also being addressed.

“If you talk to people to people in the Epsom electorate, on balance they’re in favour of intensification. They just want to know what it looks like and how it’s going to effect them. If you can’t answer those three fundamental questions it just ain’t going to work,” he said, referring in particular to the need for a new feeder junior high school for Epsom Girls Grammar and Auckland Grammar.

Seymour also welcomed the calls for infrastructure bond financing, which he described as a Texan-style Municipal Urban District (MUD) with mandatory Council involvement.

“All of this disarms the speculators and the land bankers. The best thing to do to the land bankers and speculators is to drown them in supply of land and that will do this, so I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do,” he said of the plan to remove the boundary and bring in new financing techniques.

“The National Party should swallow their pride and admit that once in a blue moon Phil Twyford gets something right and he’s certainly right about the Rural Urban boundary and isn’t it a good story that in only six months he’s gone from Winston Peters style race-baiting to an orthodox approach to urban economics.”

This is all part of John Palino’s already published policy initiatives, so he is showing at least he is onside with almost every political party, a true independent.

Phil Goff, who has a policy vacuum has come out against his own party’s stance:

Auckland Mayoral candidate (and favourite) and Labour MP Phil Goff stopped short of endorsing Labour’s proposal for the abolishment of the RUB, saying other measures would have to be put in place to control growth or fund the subsequent higher infrastructure costs of housing developments well beyond the fringes.

“If you abolish them you’ve got to put other measures in place,” Goff said, referring to the bulldozing of farm land he had seen near Kumeu which he did not approve of.

“You have to have controls. You have to have a situation that if somebody wants to build way out of the city, the developer and therefore the property purchaser, will pay for the internal infrastructure — the streets and the water supply — but the Auckland ratepayers pay the cost of getting infrastructure to that area and the further out you go the more expensive it is,” he said.

“And unless you’ve got a user pays system in place there you can’t have open slather.”

Phil Goff, who has a lifetime as a politician has been caught flat-footed and it shows. He hasn’t thought this through and all he can do is mouth platitudes that central government must work nicely with Auckland Council and how he as a politician that has spent a lifetime telling others what to do is the perfect man for the job of continuing to tell others what to do.

Phil Goff thought he could sail through this election without saying or doing anything and just presenting a small target. He was wrong.

Now he is the only candidate for Mayor against removal of the RUB. I wonder if that is because his donors are known to be notorious land bankers and developers?


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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