Author Archives: Liam W

Auckland does NOT have a land supply shortage!

In today’s state of the nation speech, John Key talked about housing affordability. Specifically, he singled out a favourite whipping boy of the right – local councils – for allegedly failing to open up enough greenfield land for development. Specifically, he was implying that Auckland Council needs to open up more greenfield land and get over its compact city fetish.

Read the rest of this entry

Tunnel Vision (Or, why does National hate cities?)

This week, Auckland Council released the City Centre Future Access Study (CCFAS). This report was an exercise instigated by Steven Joyce in the wake of last year’s standoff between the Council and the government regarding the City Rail Link (CRL). The CCFAS was commissioned to establish the most viable option for tackling transport issues in central Auckland, and it concluded the CRL was the most viable option. This did not stop Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee swiftly pouring cold water on the report with a press release which concluded that “this valiant attempt to make the CRL stack up struggles to make the case”. Read the rest of this entry

Of rates, rubbish, rats…and RoNS

People reserve a special hatred for local government rates – probably because they come in the mail as a bill. It was a given then that the National government’s ‘Better Local Government’ reforms aimed at putting the brakes on rates increases were roundly applauded by Joe Public back in March. National’s narrative at the time was perfect. Rates increases greater than the rate of inflation suggested that local government had overreached itself. Too much was being spent on non-core activities like arts, culture, sport and events at the expense of the long-suffering ratepayer. Time for local government to bring rates down by refocussing on its core functions, like providing local infrastructure. Horror stories like the debt incurred by Hamilton ratepayers on the ill-fated V8 Supercar event helped sell the story. “About bloody time”, ratepayers across the country said.

Read the rest of this entry

Why doesn’t the Auckland Plan practice what it preaches on transport?

Have you ever heard of the East-West Link?

If not, you aren’t alone. Nonetheless, this $1.1 billion motorway proposal has been plucked from obscurity and elevated to second on Auckland Council’s list of transport priorities alongside the long-mooted $1.5 billion AMETI package for south-eastern Auckland, second only to the City Rail Link.

Read the rest of this entry

Urban Myths: fact and fiction in the Auckland Plan debate

A quality debate needs quality information – facts, not fiction. Unfortunately, a lot of the ‘facts’ informing much of the debate on Auckland’s future aren’t really all that factual at all. They’re bits of conventional wisdom that have been repeated enough times over the decades by politicians, bureaucrats, journalists and academia that they’re now accepted as fact. So in an attempt to contribute to the discussion, here’s a few assorted myths debunked…

Read the rest of this entry