Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: So what now?

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  • Swan, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Glenn, it is also very relevant because it is the definition used in the resolution that they voted on! Thats what the council has to work with now.

    Birkenhead • Since Feb 2011 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Swan,

    There have been so-called "generic" or rather general re-zoning submissions, and there have been site specific or geographically specific re-zoning submissions. One major submitter was Housing NZ, who presented both types of submission points, asking for many property lots to be up-zoned or at least re-zoned. They also want up zoning more generally.

    While Council may have used such submissions as reason to rezone what was differently zoned in the notified Plan, they have to be conservative of course, to avoid degrees of changes that may be deemed unreasonable. They also claim they followed certain principles set by earlier hearings (on the RPS and residential zone hearing topics), including such as certain zones to be within reasonable walking distance from centres or frequent or rapid transport networks.

    But when looking at the maps, they have gone further than that, like for instance in areas in Glendowie, parts of Westmere and so, where none of the principles were properly followed, and where other submissions did only cover few properties to be re-zoned.

    That was hardly "conservative", and by doing that, which Council planners themselves explained as "out of scope zoning", they did knowingly run the risk to stir up concerns, then anger and firm, resolute opposition by affected residents. It all has to be done with sound reasoning and within acceptable limits, and while overall zone areas may only have changed slightly, some areas were seriously impacted by their late evidence presented in January.

    The IHP also has to consider natural justice aspects and adhere to the principles of that, so while the Panel let Council present their preliminary position and accepted their evidence, that does not equate to the Panel saying this is all acceptable and deserves to be recommended, what Council presented.

    There is now a massive responsibility that lies with the Panel, having to apply natural justice (especially to those affected by any rezoning of their properties and areas) and to listen to all submitters, and then find the right balance.

    Moderate out of scope zoning may have been ok, but Council did not do this, it affected about 30,000 properties, not just the 20,000 first talked about. That is significant, legally and from a planning point of view.

    With your position you seem to say, that where any person says I want all of Auckland up-zoned, then such a submission gives Council the licence to go about and present submissions to do this. In any case consultation has to be allowed, but where is that when existing submitters do not have submissions on areas rezoned late by Council (i.e. out of scope), so they cannot represent the other owners and residents, and where the deadline for presenting evidence was 10 February.

    This allowed no proper consultation and remedies to affected residents.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Swan,

    Yes, but if you think that if the IHP magically declares they are all In Scope that the Councillors that voted for the removal will change their mind you're dreaming.

    Over on TransportBlog they are seriously talking about how they should have made individual up zoning requests for every single property in Auckland if they had known to avoid the Out of Scope argument. That's hardly engaging in good faith is it?

    I'd argue that the Housing NZ submission wasn't really in good faith either, they should have know that planning best practice does not advise spot zoning. Housing NZ have shot themselves in the foot that's why they are arguing the Out of Zone are actually In Scope because they know their spot rezoning requests won't be tolerated by the IHP.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    feel free to suggest any ideas to bring forward the Auckland housing bubble burst

    Well, the Reserve Bank has an inflation target, which conveniently excludes property.

    What we could have is a target for Auckland property prices of say 5% annual deflation for the next five years followed by zero growth.

    Then you have a bunch of pre-announced measures to achieve this. Start out with (as we have now) LVR ratios and if they don’t work, crank up to a 100% tax on the sale price – GV margin, such that selling over a certain price is nugatory as all the profits will go in tax.

    That would destroy the expectation of price gains.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Swan, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Yes, but if you think that if the IHP magically declares they are all In Scope that the Councillors that voted for the removal will change their mind you’re dreaming.

    Over on TransportBlog they are seriously talking about how they should have made individual up zoning requests for every single property in Auckland if they had known to avoid the Out of Scope argument. That’s hardly engaging in good faith is it?

    Well maybe I am dreaming, but that is the declared basis on which these councillors made their desicions. Basically the councillors were able to take a high-minded position (and also take the side of the people complaining). Now if they want to take the side of people complaining for another reason, that is up to them, but that isn't what they have done. To do so they would have to be more transparently anti intensification and not hide behind some process / natural justice argument. I genuine don't know if Chris Darby for example would do that.

    The Transport Blog position is similar to my own in that the outcome of all this has been to disenfranchise those submitters that want upzoning. The current situation is very unfair to submitters who have called for upzoning. They are being treated as if their submissions dont even exist. If they can avoid this disenfranchisement in the future by listing thousands of property addresses then they should go for it - the point being they should not have been cut out of the process in the first place. Of course it is a stupid waste of everyones time, but that is not their fault, its the fault of the poeple who chose to ignore them when they just wrote submissions in plain english.

    Birkenhead • Since Feb 2011 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    There have been various models run by the research unit of Council, re what feasible capacity there is for intensification and further residential development.

    Feasible capacity is the important figure - and that's why the expert group included property developers who fed into the modelling a reality check.

    Both the 013 and 081 reports show that feasible capacity is too low to meet the projected increase in demand over the next 30 years.

    Mr Burton suggested having enough for the next 10 was all that was needed and that he preferred using lower population figures, hence his insistence there is enough capacity as opposed to the expert reports saying there isn't.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Swan, in reply to Marc C,

    Marc,

    I think you are missing the point of what they mean by "conservative". By conservative they mean they are "erring on the side of caution" to put proposed zone changes into the "out of scope" bucket, when actually them may not be. Well it turns out if you use the actual definition of out of scope, instead of the definition they used in the conservative approach, effectively none of these zone changes are out of scope.

    In practice this means anyone could have submitted against thouse submissions calling for the upzoning if they wanted to. You will have to ask them why they chose not to.

    Birkenhead • Since Feb 2011 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Swan,

    The IHP document website is absolutely hopeless with extremely limited ability to search documents and the overwhelming volume of documents would make it almost impossible for any individual property owner to identify submissions that may affect their property for starters.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    It's not even possible to find documents affecting a general area or suburb, let alone an individual property.

    The search function appears to only search the document title, not the contents from what I can tell.

    Not sure who is managing the document management, whether it is the IHP or the Council on behalf of them.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    The domain name hearings.aupihp.govt.nz is registered to the Council, the conspiracy theorists would say they're deliberately making it difficult to find documents :-)

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Perhaps the government seemed relaxed after council's reversal because they already intended to change the entire structure of planning anyway (despite their earlier RMA proposals being rebuffed by coalition partners).

    Over the past 25 years, New Zealand had gone through extended reforms of the electricity, telecommunication and financial markets.

    "In each case it took years to understand the impact of existing rules, and how to change them to achieve a more efficient market," he said. "Now we are addressing housing in the same way."
    ...

    "Lack of land supply, and hence higher prices, occur when the planning system isn't working properly."

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Swan,

    Birkenhead • Since Feb 2011 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Swan,

    Not really any better is it, can you identify all the submissions affecting say Glendowie or Westmere easily?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Well, the Reserve Bank has an inflation target, which conveniently excludes property.

    What we could have is a target for Auckland property prices of say 5% annual deflation for the next five years followed by zero growth.

    Then you have a bunch of pre-announced measures to achieve this. Start out with (as we have now) LVR ratios and if they don’t work, crank up to a 100% tax on the sale price – GV margin, such that selling over a certain price is nugatory as all the profits will go in tax.

    That would destroy the expectation of price gains.

    The Machiavellian solution: print enough counterfeit NZD to crash it, causing the RBNZ Governor to hike interest rates enough to poison the mortgage market and pop the bubble very loudly. Massive collateral damage, but Generation Rentier gets put in its rightful place.

    The realistic solution(s): an urban strategy that recognises the benefits of agglomeration of talent, while encouraging some form of regional development. In practice:

    * A bigger share of the infrastructure spend on urban centres outside Auckland with over 50k-100k people.
    * Encouraging major NZ companies to decentralise, within reason.
    * Winning the PR battle against "Generation Rentier" and implementing a CGT, non-resident stamp duty, among other measures.

    Britain seems to offer a few pointers, where they've had similar issues with over-centralisation, property bubbles and rising business costs in London.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5439 posts Report Reply

  • Swan, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    With SDR and the readers guide I think they have done a pretty good job. How would you summarise several thousand submissions. I suppose they could have mapped them all and put them into a GIS system at some cost. Whats your point? Did you raise this difficulty with the council at the time back in 2014?

    Birkenhead • Since Feb 2011 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Stephanie Rodgers has a name for the whole thing: the Epsom Paradox, dishonourably established by the NZ branch of Generation Rentier.

    And regarding the whole intergenerational theft thing, the likes of Martin Shkreli go to show that Generation Rentier isn't just a Boomer thing.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5439 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    * A bigger share of the infrastructure spend on urban centres outside Auckland with over 50k-100k people.
    * Encouraging major NZ companies to decentralise, within reason.
    * Winning the PR battle against "Generation Rentier" and implementing a CGT, non-resident stamp duty, among other measures.

    And make the minimum wage in each region equal to a local living wage, providing incentive to decentralise into more affordable areas.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Sacha,

    I have said it before, Auckland should never have been allowed to spread as it has over the last half century, and it should never have been planned to suit the motor vehicles now being driven around everywhere. I have not owned a car for years, yet live in the suburbs, and can get around by bus and at times by train, why can others not?

    That is not dependent on intensification, I reckon, not in many suburbs within the majority of central and surrounding suburbs. Use buses, cycle, walk, but people are lazy, and even when you rezone, if people don't buy apartments, they will not be sellable, but then of course, the government prepares for more overseas inflow, will they not?

    What I cannot believe is how some here seriously give credit to property developers, who put their own spin onto feasibility arguments, all working on the basis they need at least a 20 percent profit - loss margin (meaning really rather profit than loss of course), as otherwise they cannot build affordable homes. So much for "reality check".

    The market is overpriced partly due to population growth, as I repeated again and again, and that is not just natural growth, while the government has stuffed up not even providing state housing to those in biggest need. We also have money to the billions laundered here by it being invested by foreign buyers, possibly using also local contacts, into property, and that and a building supply monopoly, other issues are what have driven prices up. The government in Wellington allowed it all to happen. They do not want a capital gains tax, they were reluctant to put into place other constraints, now we have the disaster.

    We actually need a crash, that is the painful truth, to get back to affordable prices for more people, some will have to bleed to make that happen.

    As for all this generational tension the young people that feel affected will also have parents, some of them will have property, it is not all that clearly cut and good and bad, old and middle class being all bad, all "nimbys", and young people all poor and struggling to get into affordable housing. I know enough older people who have only a state pension to live off, while still having their own home, thus not needing to pay rent.

    Look at Council's evidence, there will be almost zilch affordable housing, no matter how much density they will allow under zone changes, that is what Mr Balderston's report revealed. And consider to reduce demand, by overseas buyers, by too high immigration. I mentioned we will not even have the water to supply more than another 45,000 households, unless we tap more from the Waikato River, which has now been before the Regional Council there for years, and not been granted, that is Council's application.

    There are limits to resources, natural and physical, so increasing the population by another 700,000 to a million will NOT be sustainable, no matter what.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Sacha,

    NO mention of the elephant in the room, rather high level immigration, on top of natural growth and some fleeing the other less developed regions, to find work and do business in Auckland. It is incredible, we are supposed to be “powerless” when it comes to perhaps put more controls on demand, or to channel it through better regional development. I am not surprised the government does not mention the elephant, because without it, there would probably be rather little growth in the economy, so in order to avoid it looking to bad, they continue a laissez faire approach when it comes to population growth, and that includes Kiwis returning from abroad, and still many new migrants. The immigration economy, I suppose, after dairy prices crashed.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Swan,

    Well it turns out if you use the actual definition of out of scope, instead of the definition they used in the conservative approach, effectively none of these zone changes are out of scope.

    In practice this means anyone could have submitted against thouse submissions calling for the upzoning if they wanted to. You will have to ask them why they chose not to.

    Wow, why were you not at the extraordinary meeting then, to offer legal advice on this?

    And also, for a start, going through the thousands of submissions and various points under submissions, that can only be sorted by name or submission number, and not so much by property number or area submitted to be up- or down-zoned, it is a massive task to find exactly the various particular zoning requests by the also hundreds if not thousands of submitters.

    Some are generic, some are more specific, but you would spend weeks or months searching through the Submission Points Pathway reports, to find all that one may object to. Who has the time, is this reasonable? NO!

    As another commentator here writes, the website itself is not that user-friendly, which was also raised by submitters to the IHP early last year or even in 2014, if I rightly recall.

    And the Independent Hearings Panel also published interim guidance, which kind of expressed an expectation that anyone wanting to present evidence and to be heard on rezoning topics, would have to show whether they consulted with the various property owners that may have been affected. So you would seriously expect a submitter, who objects to a suburban area to be up-zoned, to go from door to door of hundreds or more homes, to find the owner, to ask for their permission whether they would agree or object to their property being up- or down-zoned?

    Good grief, the Panel itself seems to have set the guidance rather tightly, and I wonder if this is not unreasonable an expectation.

    In my view the Panel have been given more power than they should have been given, to even consider out of scope matters. But we can thank Rodney Hide and the earlier National led government for that, as they have a dim view of democracy, just look at ECan and other examples.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Swan, in reply to Marc C,

    So what then Marc C, no submissions, no hearings? We just adopt the plan the council comes up with straight off the bat? Because if it is not reasonable to expect people to read submissions, then the upshot is we couldn't use them to change the plan. That sounds like less democracy to me.

    If people couldn't be bothered going through the submissions, the could simply have submitted to say they agree with PAUP zoning.

    Birkenhead • Since Feb 2011 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Swan,

    To be honest, the whole hearing process has been a bit of a farce. Firstly in the consultation process up to the Draft version, only selected stake holder groups were consulted. Once the Draft was moderated, other issues arose. To make effective submissions one needs good legal and planning advice, how does an ordinary citizen get that, unless she/he pays experts to do it? The whole system is heavily favouring the large submitters with all their experts and representatives, lawyers, planners and what you have. Only those that managed to organise community groups could flex some muscle to represent residents' interests, but I know of many having had to stop taking part, they ran out of money for their representatives.

    It is bizarre how some weep crocodile tears within Council's planning department, they were dominating much of the whole process, inundating other submitters with their evidence and other reports. Who as an ordinary mortal resident has the time and energy to read thousands of reports pages, hundreds of evidence statements, many close to or over a hundred pages, and digest this?

    The Chair of the Panel has himself put the whole process into question, making such comments to submitters like, oh, we do not expect you to read all of Council's evidence, just state your concerns. How the hell can you submit effectively and with merit, when you do not know what Council has presented, in changes or whatever evidence? They basically have a dim view of ordinary individual submitters, letting them run in an open blade. I find it bizarre how some here blindly trust Council as being the fair player and the one submitter, same as plan presenter, to do it all right and in the interest of ordinary residents, when they have repeatedly ignored many submissions and concerns, with or without evidence.

    The average Joe Bloggs has not got a leg to stand on against their lawyers and expert planners, who know all the ins and outs of the Plan and the law. So here we have some defend even commercial developers, with whom Council have on an ongoing basis held closed door consultations on the plan and their concerns.

    I cannot believe the naivety or even dishonesty of some, defending Council as being the good faith acting vested interest party. They want intensification and growth, because they want more residents and more rates they can charge, to build their "Tower of Babel" of modern day proportion, nothing else, that is more like the truth than anything else. Growth is the mantra, population growth combined with economic growth, it is like an addiction, as without growth, that is quantity growth, they seem to have a failed economic project, which they do not want to admit.

    What about telling people the truth, and that resources are limited? What about doing more with what we already have, instead of allowing the city population to nearly double, without sufficient resources being available to supply them with basic needs?

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Swan,

    The current situation is very unfair to submitters who have called for upzoning. They are being treated as if their submissions dont even exist.

    That totally contradicts what Council's planners and Penny Hulse said (in a text message a few days ago) or what was suggested. They (Council planners) said, we will withdraw from the hearing process, apart from perhaps presenting legal evidence, but then let the people and submitters live with the government driven up-zoning that for instance Housing NZ wanted.

    So that does not sound like such submitters will lose any power in the hearing process, rather the opposite.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Marc C,

    the elephant in the room, […] high level immigration

    Phrasing it that way so often (this is, what, the fourth time now?)
    negates the usual meaning of “avoided topic”
    and just starts to sound slightly anti-Asian.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1938 posts Report Reply

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