Property Council

Why business people generally make poor politicians

Stephen Franks has a considered piece about why business people make poor politicians.

Few business people?are good at democratic politics. They expect what works in business to work in?democracy. They?re?frustrated?by the messy necessity to maintain a working consensus, by multiple conflicting objectives, and by the unreliability of delegates.

They?think that if only the right people were in charge, the best structures and systems would be like those in business, where everyone accepts?single prevailing decisions from nominated rulers, and he who pays, rules.

Business people who get embroiled in politics?commonly hate it so much they eject before they flame out. Those who survive and learn may be small in number but they are among the best we have, and we owe them a lot for their patience.

Many good business people are?equally hopeless in assessing policy. I could not count the number of times I?ve heard the idiocy that the RMA is a good law, with nothing seriously wrong with it?except how it is?administered by council people who are stupid or wrongly motivated. These business defenders?have no idea that they?ve just explained exactly why the RMA is? so?badly conceived and written as to besmirch the rule of law.

They?re misled by objectives. In business, if you can get your objectives clear, and set them out for your staff, much of the work is done. But the promoters of all law recite noble objectives, usually purposes we can all agree on.? The key problem in both policy and law-making is the unintended, often the application of law for purposes never thought about.

What distinguishes bad law from good law is simple. Well designed and drafted law works whether or not ?idiots? are in charge. It is predictable because it limits what rulers can do.?It is very carefully??designed knowing that people of malign intent will try to misuse any law. Frequently they will have power. Good law is?drafted by wise?sceptics about human nature. It remains predictable in effect despite attempts to distort it.

Read more »

It’s the Auckland Council that is the problem

Finally the Herald is waking up to the fact that Auckland Council is a useless organisation who are still the reason why housing is an issue.

Yesterday property developers were fingered the blame for supposedly sitting on their hands and land banking. And yesterday I said it wasn’t developers but Auckland Council.

Property developers say the failure to quickly resolve Auckland’s housing crisis is not their fault – lack of infrastructure is one of the biggest impediments to more building.

Connal Townsend, chief executive of the Property Council, said one of the biggest blocks to creating new subdivisions was lack of adequate sewerage, stormwater and fresh water connections.

Those often needed to be upgraded from existing residential areas to vast new tracts of land to enable developers to put up the homes, he said. Until that happened, developers might have consents to build but they could not go ahead.

Lack of Resource Management Act reform, no mezzanine or second-tier finance, a labour shortage and the high cost of building materials were other factors stopping the rush to put up new homes, he said. ?? Read more »

El Presidente Patrick Lee-lo goes rogue

Yesterday a post highlighted how the BSC was quietly about to tuck its busy members for potentially thousands of dollars more in membership fees.

Nasty tactic, but one used by the SFWU to fleece members more than once.

Some?members of the fish-gang?were aghast at the thought of other members who are busy running their businesses and struggling to pay their cleaners Paddy?s much vaunted 10c extra above the minimum wage, suddenly finding their membership fees to the BSC skyrocket upwards.

But Paddy?s been on his own personal crusade. Insiders say he was so incensed by the?comments arch nemeses Crest Clean made before the Transport & Industrial Relations Select Committee, his moustache started twitching.

It?s not often you hear the call for evidence before a Select Committee to be ?expunged in total from their verbal submission?. It?s a big call, and worthy of a closer look.

However there?s a slight problem for Paddy, and now for his bosses that sit on the Board of the BSC. ? Read more »

Council in full on reverse ferret over Unitary Plan

Policy Parrot says:

Some of the more notorious members of the property development community and legal profession have been bagging Auckland Council for sometime around the issue of intensification and the compact city model.

It started in earnest when Council undertook the Auckland Plan process and quite understandably professional peeps wanted to know where the evidence was that the city could be compacted.

In a somewhat savvy but also cunning move the Property Council convinced the Auckland Council to complete a study (FGA) which singlehandedly undermined the compact city model by casting doubt over the veracity of available land capacity.

This Parrot was highly amused when reading that report once it was available because it said what we all thought – that it was certain the land for building a compact city didn’t exist and it it demonstrated what amount of zoning change was required to meet Auckland Plan targets which – to say the least – were preposterous.

The single biggest fact put forward by the report authors against the compact model (and targets being achieved) was that the Council lacked the ‘political will’ to carry out the necessary rezoning if local communities popped a vein or two.

One assumes Council scoffed at that and ignored the advice because the targets largely remained intact and the Draft Unitary Plan was released with wide scale rezoning proposed over the whole city.

Well blow me if Councillors aren’t back tracking right now.

And what is causing that? Community opposition.? Read more »

Bye bye excessive development contributions

Policy Parrot says:

Awesome news my feathered friends!

This Parrot has been reservedly cagey about the chances that Minister for Local Government Chris Tremain would do much of substance to sort out the pig?s breakfast that is Local Governance in NZ. Disappointingly past governments have systematically shifted more powers onto Local Government with the intent of making central government?s role more efficient but that has occurred at the expense of local level business and development.

The property industry is typically quiet. Nobody puts their head above the parapet in case it is chopped off by the public executioner for breaching the Tall Poppy Act. So when they are drawn out to have a bitch about matters it is done cautiously and reluctantly or behind the veil of lobby groups like the Property Council or the Planning Institute.

For years however the industry has cried foul over the imposition of development contributions. The former Labour Government can be thanked for the introduction of that nasty surprise that aided local government into a LGA enabled taxing regime on new development rather than an RMA enabled regime using financial contributions. It was fairly well-known that the charges were a rort and the Environment Court had done an excellent job of deciphering the bullshit, reducing payments and making things fair and equitable.

Not so under the LGA. Council?s can make up the contributions without any necessity to consult meaningfully and with no requirement to prove the rates are fair. Income from development contributions generally vanishes into the general slush fund and is washed around to pay for whatever Council treasuries need it for on an annual basis. Lax reporting rules further enhance the ability for Councils to run amok with capital derived funding and generally not have to reveal how the ledger is balanced. ? Read more »

Coney barking up wrong tree

Policy Parrot says:

There is nothing more hilarious than watching Auckland Council fret about legal advice because the advice will be worthless shit.

Today Bernard Orsman reports that Councillor Sandra Coney wants to review legal advice provided to the top Council planners. Her desire to test the lawfulness of the Unitary Plan is smart. But unsurprisingly council officers don’t want her to read it.

This Parrot says that the advice won’t be worth the paper it is written on.

This Parrot can justify said statement because years of legal proceedings such as plan changes, variations, financial contribution battles, Judicial Review’s and other legal brouhaha where Council has either lost or had it’s planning provisions substantially changed proves they are getting poor advice over which fights they can win and which they can’t. They always start the process thinking they are right and what they have drafted is vires.

For example six long years of LGAAA and Plan Change 6 appeals on the Regional Policy Statement. The end result was a clear win for opponents of Council’s planning provisions. Or heritage provisions through Plan Change 167 in Auckland City – pulverised by Remuera locals. What about the tree rules smashed to oblivion by the Property Council?

The point this Parrot is making is that Council legal advice falls short more often than it upholds a Council position with wins. Provisions do get overturned and often.? Read more »

Property Council slams Auckland’s unitary plan

NBR reports that the Property Council has slammed Len Brown’s development plans. Connal Townsend labels it as “absolutely brainless”:

Auckland Council?s plan to force developers to provide a certain amount of affordable housing in each development is ?brainless?, a property industry group says.

“Inclusionary zoning”, which would give the council the power to dictate how much of a development had to be affordable and at what price, is one option it is considering to try to address the city?s housing affordability issues.

The proposal, contained in an addendum to the draft Auckland unitary plan, would affect developments with 10 or more houses.

The report suggests making the scheme compulsory for land being rezoned from rural to urban, but only voluntary and based on a ?bonus scheme? for infill development in existing residential areas.? Read more »

Captain Hypocrisy dons his tights, and it’s not a good look

Mike Lee

Apparently the Auckland Council subscribing to the Property Council is “not a good look“, according to Cr Mike Lee.

Yes, perish the thought of the Auckland Council wanting a membership to subscribe to information from the organisation that represents property owners and developers. I’m sure the council wouldn’t own strategic properties around Auckland that might have impact on or be impacted by various trends. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to participate in helping to form policy on property related issues. Why would the council want information from such an organisation anyway?

Mike Lee’s idea of what doesn’t constitute “a good look” begs some interesting questions.? Read more »

Christchurch City Council can’t get its planning right

Hot on the heels of all the other gaffes, the looney Christchurch City Council is doing its best to drive developers out of the CBD based on dumb greenie policies that mean it is not economically viable to build in the city.

Christchurch’s redrafted central-city plan would put the city’s rebuild and economy at risk, the Property Council says.

The council, which represents commercial landlords and developers, says some property owners will leave town and others will have to raise rents if the plan is not loosened up and tax laws changed.

In a submission to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, the council said the scheme’s “ideological” restrictions on buildings favoured a green city over an economically viable one.

The plan is awaiting approval from Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Council president Connal Townsend said building owners should have been consulted on the how much the plan’s “nice ideas” would cost them.

“When building owners get their insurance cheques, the risk is they will take their cash elsewhere, and that is a worrying and dangerous thing,” he said.

“There’s a break-even point. There were so many nice ideas thrown into the plan that it’s an incentive for owners to walk, rather than to reinvest.”

Townsend said that despite being revised, the plan’s restrictions on buildings infringed “common law rights” for owners to replace what they had lost and would make reinvesting in the city too costly.

There is not much point in having a plan if it means that all those who were investing in the CBD end up taking their capital elsewhere. Those councillors with a background in property must be tearing their hair out having to watch clowns destroy the prospect of a decent rebuild.

Next the council will be wanting a light rail system that everyone else has to pay for and will never be commercially viable.