Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A plea for sanity on the Unitary Plan

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  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland Transport blog has published its submission for the feedback phase, which includes a list of things the authors believe need amending. Interesting read.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Ah. Auckland Transport blog has also published a debunking of the same email.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    The “restricted discretionary” category is there to relieve people of the burden of getting resource content to put in an attic or a basement.

    I don't think that is correct. I think you still need a resource consent, it's just that it's at the discretion of the council officers. It's the non-notified nature that's really what people have issue with.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Sudhvir Singh,

    Great post Russell. Disappointing to see so much misinformation about the Plan. If you're short on time but keen to have your say, check out this quick online submission form:
    http://generationzero.org.nz/up-quick-feedback

    Auckland • Since Apr 2013 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    I don’t think that is correct. I think you still need a resource consent, it’s just that it’s at the discretion of the council officers. It’s the non-notified nature that’s really what people have issue with.

    Correct: I’ll add the word “notified”. But my understanding remains that this isn't something introduced by the Unitary Plan.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    It was great seeing Generation Zero in our local paper recently, http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-shore-times/8566375/Speaking-for-Gen-Z. The vitriol spewed forth from rich elderley residents in the following weeks' letters to the editor, capped off by a piece of unadulterated rubbish from Grey Power. http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-shore-times/8623172/Elderly-ask-for-fair-go
    Any change is a threat when you are at the top of the established pecking order and the unitary plan has been a NIMBY magnet.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Do they actually believe what they’re saying? It honestly seems hard to credit. Dick Quax, an Act Party member, campaigning against property rights? George Wood was instrumental in some of the proposals he campaigns against. And Cameron Brewer admits in the excellent cover story of the new Metro magazine that new town centre rules “give people a lot more choice.”

    Goes to show that all property rights are equal, but some property rights are more equal than others. Cr Quax, Cr Anderson et al seem to see the Unitary Plan as a threat to their quarter-acre cartel, a recipe for the Bronxification of AKL, or both.

    And I had a quick check - I did it so you don't have to - of the profile of yet another vocal UP opponent and Pavletichian ultra-suburbanist, Andrew Atkin aka "1 part in 125" on the Granny Web. He likes the Daily Mail on FB, and his blog posts suggest he's a Theodore Dalrymple-level misanthrope who favours big-stick population control and thinks 1984 is a training manual. If it wasn't so deadly serious it'd be farcical.

    On the other side of the picket fence, the forum-goers at Skyscrapercity.com have been coming in to bat for the UP. Including myself.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andre,

    The vitriol spewed forth from rich elderley residents in the following weeks’ letters to the editor, capped off by a piece of unadulterated rubbish from Grey Power.

    That's a very odd argument. The Unitary Plan is bad because old people pay rates? And young people should take more of the rates burden "on their own shoulders" -- how exactly, if they're shut out of the housing market?

    And ...

    Those rates paid for sports fields, schools and universities that make Auckland a wonderful city for young people, Mr Rayner says.

    Er, wut? Sports fields, yes. I'm pretty sure the government pays for schools and universities.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    "Of course, for such a purpose, existing houses have to be demolished. If the house has been built before 1944, an attempt to demolish it would be automatically notified and would require resource consent. This isn’t the case at the moment. If you live in an older neighbourhood, the Unitary Plan strengthens character protection."

    Not so. If you are zoned as MH demolition does not have to be notified.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    And I had a quick check – I did it so you don’t have to – of the profile of yet another vocal UP opponent and Pavletichian ultra-suburbanist, Andrew Atkin aka ”1 part in 125” on the Granny Web. He likes the Daily Mail on FB, and his blog posts suggest he’s a Theodore Dalrymple-level misanthrope who favours big-stick population control and thinks 1984 is a training manual. If it wasn’t so deadly serious it’d be farcical.

    I didn't have the time or energy to get to the population-control nuttery, which is surprisingly widespread and really very out-there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    Thanks for that post Russell, nice work - there's been far too much sensationalism in this whole debate.

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • kris_b, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And young people should take more of the rates burden "on their own shoulders" -- how exactly, if they're shut out of the housing market?

    Of course, just because my name isn't on a property title/rates bill, doesn't mean I don't pay rates. My landlord does out of the rent I pay him.

    Many Gen Z's would leap at that chance to pay their own rates, but can't, in large part because of greedy boomers who are all paying 5 sets of rates each on all their wonderful "investment" properties.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2012 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    Not so. If you are zoned as MH demolition does not have to be notified.

    Thank you for pointing that out; I’ve amended the post. As things stand, resource consents would be required, but not notified. The council has indicated that that it will consider a move to automatic notification, in response to feedback.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    For we Grey Lynn residents the issue is the incredibly arbitrary new zoning. There has been no notice taken of geographical realities (cliffs, unstable ground, springs etc) and part of the existing roads around Elgin and Dickens Streets and Grey Lynn Park is completely wrong, quite bizarre. If there was consultation by the Council before the DAUP publication we missed it. The fear is that these issues could be widespread and how will we know?

    I have spoken to many people who are, on the whole, in agreement with the need to plan for and provide for intensification. The caveat is to do it transparently, in consultation and with concurrent facility and infrastructure improvements. Without a belief that this will happen in a civilised and inclusive fashion the natural reaction is to yell STOP! Experiences with previous councils and observing the farcical way that the National national government is behaving (locally and nationally) also adds to the pot pourri of concern.

    Auckland has already destroyed way too much heritage in the form of buildings, until an in-depth reassessment of what remains happens nothing should be irrevocably changed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • SteveL, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This for me encapsulates one of the main UP issues quite nicely. Even someone (Russell) with what appears to be some planning knowledge and has read the plan carefully doesn't get a couple of things quite right.

    So it's little surprise that less engaged people are susceptible to any misinformation. For all the work the Council have done on the plan (I'm cautiously in favour BTW) they have failed miserably to give people enough useful information up front (what can you do now vs what is allowed under the UP - that kind of thing).

    The good work that this post does, as well as the excellent stuff being done by Ben Ross, is really work that should have been done at the outset by the Council.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Welch,

    Thanks for your contribution to the DUP sanity project, Russell. I've been shocked by how many people who should know better have adopted knee-jerk negative opinions of the DUP. In my experience, these have not just been old folks, but also lots of people from my demographic--inner suburb-dwelling forty-something liberals with kids. Our primary school newsletter has turned into an outlet for uninformed ranting against the DUP (the biggest complaint is that with increased housing density will come the need for more schools and they are not "on the plan"--as if it is the council's role to make decisions on building new schools, and as if this should be done even before the people have arrived!).

    A friend of mine works in planning for the council and he says he is amazed how many people genuinely seem to believe that the Unitary Plan is a blueprint for the council itself to build dozens of giant apartment blocks that no-one wants. It is hard to have a rational public discussion with this level of wilfull ignorance. The council needs to do a much better job in communicating what the DUP is all about. To date there has been far too much opportunity for right-wing trouble-makers to misrepresent it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    For we Grey Lynn residents the issue is the incredibly arbitrary new zoning. There has been no notice taken of geographical realities (cliffs, unstable ground, springs etc) and part of the existing roads around Elgin and Dickens Streets and Grey Lynn Park is completely wrong, quite bizarre. If there was consultation by the Council before the DAUP publication we missed it. The fear is that these issues could be widespread and how will we know?

    Isn't that consultation exactly what's been happening, though? They've released a draft plan (which draws on existing district plans) for feedback -- it has to start somewhere.

    Parts of the plan for Grey Lynn seem a little arbitrary to me -- why is Hakanoa single-housing when Francis Street is Mixed Housing? Otoh, a friend who lives in a very old house at the top of Elgin Street called the council's hotline and came away reassured about the street's heritage status.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Andre,

    The vitriol spewed forth from rich elderley residents in the following weeks' letters to the editor, capped off by a piece of unadulterated rubbish from Grey Power.

    And it's about time someone had the guts to state the obvious: There's a metric fuckton of barely sub-textual Yellow Peril racism. If nothing else, certain councillors should cash a reality check on both their demographic and what fretting about "tacky shoeboxes" and "over-development alien to the Kiwi lifestyle" sounds like to a non-trivial number of Aucklanders.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jim Welch,

    Our primary school newsletter has turned into an outlet for uninformed ranting against the DUP (the biggest complaint is that with increased housing density will come the need for more schools and they are not “on the plan"–as if it is the council’s role to make decisions on building new schools, and as if this should be done even before the people have arrived!).

    I think infrastructure issues are very important -- school capacity in Point Chev is a major concern. But much of that is outside the council's remit. We actually need central government to stop its hostility towards Auckland Council and engage with its responsibilities here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to SteveL,

    (what can you do now vs what is allowed under the UP – that kind of thing).

    This is such an important dimension. It’s where deliberate misinformation is filling the vacuum.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We actually need central government to stop its hostility towards Auckland Council and engage with its responsibilities here.

    It might also be constructive to note relations between local and central government, function or no, aren't a one-way street.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    It might also be constructive to note relations between local and central government, function or no, aren’t a one-way street.

    True dat. But can I recommend you listen to Todd Niall's Insight report? He's a very level-headed journalist and he found that constructive engagement is currently running almost entirely in one direction. He couldn't even get an interview with a minister.

    And then there's the Land Transport Amendment Bill, which will soon make Aucklanders the only people in the country who are not allowed to have their regional transport strategy determined by their elected representatives.

    The hostility is bewildering.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    This was just a classic:
    "Older people will all recall from their own lives how black and white and now-focused young people tend to be".
    How "now-focused" is Grey Power's whole platform? Just continue paying hundreds of thousands of multi-millionaires $16500 a year like there's no tomorrow - means-testing would be "unfair" apparently. I wonder if Mr rayner was talking on behalf of the increasing number of recently-immigrated elderly Asian millionaires receiving super? How "now-focused" is that? It's scary when you see it in "black and white" without the accompanying palaver about how we owe them so much we should be willing to live in penury quite happily in comparison etc.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Welch, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think infrastructure issues are very important -- school capacity in Point Chev is a major concern. But much of that is outside the council's remit. We actually need central government to stop its hostility towards Auckland Council and engage with its responsibilities here.

    Absolutely agree that schools and other infrastructure are important--the maddening thing is how hard it seems for people to understand what the Council can control and what is up to the central government. I imagine it suits John Key just fine to sit back and watch Len Brown get bashed for not building enough schools.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    RB, a suggestion based on personal opinion: can do drop all the "centre"-right stuff?

    It gives them an air of reasonableness that your story deflates.

    :D

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

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