Bill English should act on Auckland Council’s intransigence

Auckland Council don’t want to zone greenfield land. We know that. They want their utopian compact city dream.

During the week Bill English fired a shot across their bow telling them to release more land or face consequences – which include use of commissioners.

As it is the Government has had enough of the nonsense around zoning and release of land so it is busy considering changes to the RMA that would require Councils to consider demand and supply within their functions and duties.

That means they would be expected to ensure supply is keeps up with demand and have a long plan for release of land. Sounds simple enough.

But Auckland Council has opposed it. In their submission to the select committee they say that they don’t want to have to consider supply and demand.  

In short Auckland Council doesn’t care about supply of housing. And so the Council doesn’t want to have to do its job.

What they want is to be left alone because – Council knows best.

Everyone else is wrong. The Council has got it all sussed out.

Except they haven’t.

I really don’t know why Billy is going to wait. The facts are all about them that the a Council is belligerent and unwilling to release land. It has stymied the SHA’s and is opposing every move the Government makes to get supply happening.

Including now – RMA reforms.

What more do they need to do before someone steps in?


Auckland Council Submission to Parliament Full-evidence-text


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  • one for the road

    They are well and truely stuck between a rock and a very hard place… The Proposed Unitary Plan (which must be implemented by Sept16) is all about developing inside the urban boundary – and even recently they tried to sneakily extend that in eastern suburbs and other communities, which resulted in a huge revolt from exisitng residents – so we will have a Unitary Plan for Auckland that at this stage include new residential land outside the urban boundary… That job will be the new councils!! So this council doesnt care, they are just lame ducks…. Better English boots them now, has a commissioner for 12 months, changes the law about unitary plan and puts something better in place…

    • Raibert

      Agree the Council is the problem, however don’t know if just replacing them with a commissioner is the answer. This hasn’t worked for Kaipara, and after six years without an elected council still seems no end in sight. When a commissioner is appointed should be for a non extendable period and with very clear guidelines. Otherwise we lose one of the pillars of our democracy, the right to only be taxed by those we elect.
      I find it hard to believe the Auditor General hasn’t become more involved also as Aucklands spiralling debt will leave a huge debt for future generations.

      • biscuit barrel

        Auckland debt isnt spiralling, well its not as much as Bill Englishs debt burden.
        Last year Bill got close to a ‘surplus’ but still borrowed around $7 billion, including nearly $1 bill of old debt , instead of being repaid , was re borrowed for another generation.

        • MrHippo

          Spiralling Is a strong and emotive word and perhaps a poor choice. Debt to gdp keeps declining and the capacity to repay increases as evidenced by the 702m incresse in core crown revenue (tax) in the nine months to March of this year most of what you mention in respect to government debt rollover is short term t-bills that are typically of maturity of one year or less.

        • Nechtan

          Apples and Oranges comparison. What has the ACC provided for this increased debt? Bugger all I reckon.

      • Disinfectant

        Appointing commissioners to Environment Canterbury (and no elections) hasn’t worked either.

        Maybe the Auditor General needs to pay a visit to Canterbury as well.

        Personally I believe that National is to blame for not getting stuck into our public sector. The evidence to do so is everywhere throughout the country.

    • one for the road

      As i said, for say 12 mth appointment with clear mandate….

    • biscuit barrel

      The unitary plan will be extending the urban boundary (RUB). The land inside the RUB has been intensifying for over 30 years, surely you have notice the sections getting smaller, as thats where people want to live “within the urban boundary”, and even in the suburbs closer to the city.

      Houses only sell it that what people want, wheter its a big house on a tiny new lot at Karaka, or a higher density lot in Mt Roskill or an apartment in Ponsonby.

      • one for the road

        Those ones inside the RUB are all selling like hotcakes, take Hobsonville point for example- 95% sold off plans, 9-12 month leadtime!! but still there is not enough new sections in greenfield developments – that is the issue..

  • Disinfectant

    Prior to the Canterbury earthquakes the Christchurch City Council (CCC)was no different. But not many people made the connection as to why.

    CCC is a very large owner of both land and buildings in Christchurch. They are also the second largest landlord in N.Z. in respect to social housing after Housing New Zealand.

    Their social housing was available to tenants at way below market rates. The council relied on capital gain to show that the value of their vast property portfolio was offset by the shortfall in rents. They could continue to do so by restricting the supply of zoned land and keep their own property values up to justify their socialism.

    Only the earthquakes and their two neighbourung councils bought about change.

  • Crowgirl

    They may have missed the boat – bit pointless now so close to getting rid of the AC losers. Unless the government wants to avoid the local elections this year and have a commissioner for the foreseeable future, they should’ve done it ages ago. This isn’t a new issue with the AC, this has been this way since the last election, if not before.

  • Who’s to say the new lot won’t have drunk from the compact city koolaid. Better the government lays down what’s expected of them and maybe the new lot can be trained

  • Keyser Soze

    He’s waiting because whoever comes out with a decent plan to rein in the ACC will be a shoe in for this election and the next. I don’t say this lightly but if labour presented a policy package for Auckland in line with Palino’s manifesto – I would vote for Andrew Little (there I said it!). I’m hoping that National are keeping their powder dry for the election and in come the Commissioners after Goff wins but does nothing to address housing supply. Timing should be just right for 2017 to buy a whole stack of Auckland voters by ousting the ACC.

  • rua kenana

    The suggestion made is far too much like extreme socialist Stalinist, Pol Pot, Jong Un type intervention into local affairs to enforce big government policies, or 5 year plans as the Soviets used to call them.
    And its becoming increasingly obvious they’re heading for the same results. The central govt has made far too much of a mess already, and now they’re being implored to make even more.
    I’d always hoped NZ would never descend to this socialist command economy type stuff.
    Am I really on the right blog? Seems, as far as this topic goes, that I may not be.
    Is there a genuine right-wing blog around here somewhere, that doesn’t advocate this leftist, socialist intervention stuff but rather deals with local democracy, individual choice and the use of the price system?