Government to go feral on Auckland Council, at last

Finally, the government is talking of going feral on Auckland Council.

The blame game between central and local government over the housing crisis is getting personal.

Housing Minister Nick Smith has attacked an Auckland Councillor, calling him a “Nimby” for blocking a housing development.

A corner in Herne Bay is a small battlefield in the war between the Government and Auckland Council over how to speed up housing supply. The Government wants 70 apartments built there, but Auckland Councillor Mike Lee is trying to stop it, and that’s got Dr Smith angry.

“Mike Lee is guilty of Nimbyism,” said Dr Smith.

The Government has designated the site of the old Gables pub a “special housing area”. That allows for fast-tracked development, with between four to seven of the apartments “affordable housing”. It’s about getting more housing into inner-Auckland’s “urban intensification”.  

But neighbours don’t like it, and, local councillor Mr Lee is on their side. Mr Lee wrote earlier this year, saying the development was “overriding the civil rights of neighbouring property owners”.

Dr Smith responded, saying he found Mr Lee’s position “ironic”, “odd” and “part of the problem”.

“We cannot have that sort of Nimbyism. That’s at the core of where Auckland has gone wrong. That’s why I’ve politely written back to Mr Lee and said ‘actually, you are being a hypocrite’.”

Mr Lee actually lives on Waiheke Island, but that didn’t stop Dr Smith.

The housing blame-game is getting messier than ever, with images from The Nation showing Aucklanders living in cars.

The Government wants to build more houses, but says Auckland Council is just too slow and it’s on notice.

Mike Lee is a classic cock-womble who wants intensification but not in his patch.

Lee is throwing a tanty as big as Nick Smith’s, but the point is Mike Lee is well past it and a typical socialist who wants to tell everyone how to live but not if it impacts him personally.


– Newshub



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  • cod

    And when they install commissioners finally, the government will be accused of doing too little too late. Mike Lee should of been rinsed years ago, he has been one of the people working behind the scenes, trying to turn Auckland into its new Russian twin city Minsk.

    • Crowgirl

      I deliberately voted against him last time. I don’t know who the idiots are who install this waste of space year after year.

    • JohnO

      Mike Lee stood up for keeping the $6 billion a year port in Auckland when lots of people wanted to copy Wellington and put a stadium on Port of Auckland land. He was a hard point of sanity among a flock of flitting nitwits. We still need him now for the same reason we needed him then.

  • rua kenana

    Big government forces democratically elected local council into compliance.
    Alternatively stated, bring on the Jong Un type commissars.
    With the continuing decline of NZ Labour, one hoped this sort of thing was gone forever from NZ.
    Bypassing democracy is no way to build a” brighter future” for NZ, as John Key used to say although with decreasing conviction each time he said it.

  • Seriously?

    The housing issue in Auckland seems to be the only real stick with which the left can hit National. Not that it is National’s fault, or National’s to fix, or that anyone really wants to see prices drop, but it does seem to be an actual issue as opposed to being completely hollow.

    The supply side issues seem mostly a Council problem.

    Is it too long a bow to suggest that the Labour controlled council has no interest n actually doing something about it?

    • Grumpy of Onehunga

      It is Nationals fault. The shortage is caused by uncontrolled immigration. If you ban immigration for five years the housing problem will vanish. Immigration also includes students who come to study with no intention of returning whence they came, it is just a tool to gain residence.

      • Seriously?

        To the extent that immigration has caused increased demand in Auckland is it not simply a National Party issue – it is an issue that successive governments have allowed to develop. But immigration also comes with plus sides.

        Despite the rhetoric we hear I very much doubt that any government will ban (or even drastically restrict) immigration as they seem to collectively believe that the benefits outweigh the detriments.

        I think the solutions rest elsewhere.

      • Rightsideofthebed

        A significant portion of the ‘immigration’ that has occurred since this government took power is New Zealander’s returning home as the global economy tanked and New Zealand was that much more attractive.
        In addition who do you think is supporting the economy – without positive net immigration the country would be in a very bad place.
        Do I think that more should be done to encourage immigrants to go to other parts of the country, Yes – however blaming ‘immigration’ like it’s automatically a bad thing is seeing one tree in front of you and missing the Fiordland National Park

      • contractor

        Agree about immigration, but it is definitely not solely National’s fault. House prices in Auckland increased 89% under 9 years of Labour and as of the last election at 6 years of National 26%. These are not National propaganda stats.

        Net immigration, average annual, under Labour was higher up until last election. The problem now is that the 20 year average annual net kiwi migration to Australia is that we have net kiwi returning to NZ.

        National has mostly been handed another mess from past govts, Labour and National.
        Edit speed wobbles.

  • DangerMice

    Used to work on Jervois Rd and frequented the Gables fairly errr, frequently. All I have to say to Lee is “pfffft there are already plenty of old apartment blocks in the area, even right across the road. Settle down son”

  • one for the road

    The Govt has been threatening and challenging Auckland Council on this issue for at least 2 years, every time the Govt does threaten them the Council moves slightly and just enough to take the pressure off but not enough to really get in and solve the issues – they complain about not enough Council budget for the new infrastructure on the Greenfields SHA builds, so they hold up consenting, evn when Dev,opers are prepared to fully fund the new infrastructure reqd – it all boils down to the Council not wanting greenfields developments over infills. Now time has run out and the rate of builds on SHAs is severly behind the timeline so much so thta a new timeline will have to be approved which will not resolve the supply issue until at least 18-24 months out – assuming we get a revised Unitary Plan in that timeframe and the supply of inputs (labour, materials, etc) is adequate….. Here is a good article on Transport blog from 12 months ago that (May16) that discusses the satnd off between central Govt and Council back then over new greefields developement in Auckland NW.

  • andrewo

    As long as we have an RMA that allows for this kind of interference then we’ll have people holding project to ransom.
    Nick needs to play the ball, not the man.

    • Mighty1

      The ball too hot to handle here though.

    • contractor

      To quote John Key from a speech I attended a year or so ago, “the RMA is the bane of my life.”
      Look for the left to block changes to it.

  • Mike Lee is part of the problem – hes another one that has been drinking from the compact city koolaid. They have pushed for their socialist utopia with high density housing and have forced it upon the rest of us. Now these councillors have the nerve to start complaining about the very thing they have shoved down our throats……. guess its getting near election time and they can sense the trough getting pulled away

  • one for the road

    Nick smith is pretty ineffective, his bark is way worse than his bite! He has been crying foul for years, since 2013 about Auckland Council and their consenting process and land boundaries!

  • Mighty1

    Is that artist impression the previous development or the current one?

    • Simon P

      The previous one.

  • Mighty1

    From What I have seen the proposed development is 70 apartments. 57 single brm and 13 two brm plus some commercial at ground level. 100+ car parks. All on 2.3ha site.

  • Mighty1

    The main point of Mike Lee’s letter to Smith was the lack of capacity of the current sewage infrastructure to handle the current load which discharges approx 52 times a year in to the putrid Cox’s creek and then flows to the Waitemata harbour at Cox’s bay which is on permanent notice from same council as unsafe for swimming. The additional load from 70 more dwellings will increase this substantially. Nick Smith is minister of conservation. Think the sewage should be fixed first as council has consistently delayed sorting these issues.

    • Platinum Fox

      Overflows are generally caused by large volumes of stormwater entering the combined sewerage system. It’s a problem derived from successive councils’ inaction over the past 40 years or so.
      Separation of the stormwater and sewerage systems in the western bays area has been on the agenda for at least that long to my knowledge, but has not progressed much due to a lack of funding allocation from council (stormwater is a council responsibility, not a Watercare issue). The regulatory part of Auckland Council has been reported as being of the view that on-site stormwater containment will be sufficient to prevent the development from contributing to any overload of the combined sewerage system.
      I heard an allegation many years ago that the then operator of the sewerage system (which may then have been a council department in the pre-MetroWater days) didn’t mind stormwater being mixed with sewage other than in or after periods of heavy rain as it generally improved the flow rate within the system despite increasing the volume of waste that required treatment.

  • MaryLou

    Just been reading a big debate on the tax cut issue. I’ve never considered myself a Libertarian, either pure or somewhat polluted with a dab of socialism. But… it also occurs to me, that in every measure, NZ’ers are a charitable people. We like to help others. So – if we were to bowl entirely, the WFF programme and eliminate most social welfare outside of that required for our elderly, very short term unemployment, and long term disabilities (for which we could provide an awful lot better than we do now) – how many would “up” their donations to entities like St Johns, Salvation Army etc? I actually am beginning to wonder if this wouldn’t almost work better than what we have now, and at a fraction of the cost.

  • contractor

    Nimbys especially of the socialist and green ilk never learn, they are never wrong.