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Len Brown, Nick Smith meeting breaks up without agreement on Auckland house plan

Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland mayor Len Brown failed to reach an agreement on Auckland.

A meeting late yesterday, scheduled for two hours, broke up after one.

Mr Smith told the media that over the next six to nine weeks the government and the council will set up a working party on Auckland housing supply.

It would be "energetic" and meet every two weeks, he said.

The council is keen for its 30-year Unitary Plan to come into effect in September. The government wants what it describes as a standard three- or four-year review period.

The two bodies are also at odds over where around 90,000 extra homes should go. The council favours urban intensification and building apartment blocks in suburbs. The government has more emphasis on building outwards.

Comments and questions

I'll be sleeping well at night knowing the future of Auckland city is in the capable hands of Messrs Smith and Brown.

I'd sleep a lot better if I knew these clowns were serious and tackled the real issues related to inflated house prices: managed immigration with restrictions on purchasing for non-citizens.

More housing is required in Auckland, and building is required. But there is a whole lot of Housing New Zealand stock in central Auckland areas which should be released for purchase. This would provide funding for developments elsewhere.

So is Nick Smith the new mayor of Auckland or is he just on the council?

There is a distinct lack of analysis in the media's portrayal of this issue. Everyone is throwing around figures of a 12,000 per annum housing shortage, but this is based on the assumption that:

1) Auckland will have 1 million extra people by 2041, and
2) this growth will be constant (i.e., logarithmic).

But no-one is focusing on Auckland's current population dynamics. I suggest that it's been fairly static. While there has been an influx from Chch, the country has been net migration until the last quarter.

There may only be 2000 vacant sections 'ready to sell' (i.e., with title) but there are a much larger number of approved greenfield subdivisions on the edge of the city which developers are sitting on until positive market conditions prevail. To simply demand a greater number of sections for sale at any one time is missing the point. It's all about throughput.

No, no - you are all so wrong. What we need is a capital gains tax. That will solve Auckland's housing problem ... won't it?

No. You need to understand the dynamics of unfettered immigration. Capital gains will make no difference.

Capital gains tax will make no difference at all - just as income tax does not stop people going to work. In fact CGT without allowing for rebalancing a portfolio will do more harm than good.

CGT will reduce demand from investors, who are in it for the tax-free gain and divert investment elsewhere which is beneficial to the economy. All other Western nations see the benefit of CGT, which spreads the tax burden more equitably. High rates of income tax don't stop people going to work - but those who have marketable skills may choose to work elsewhere, in countries where the income tax burden is less.

Two individuals with differing personal and political agendas - of course they are not going to agree.

The only agenda here is Agenda 21. Let's not forget that Penny Hulse signed the former Waitakere City up to ICLEI (its implementation wing). This is a communitarian 'solution'/hegelian synthesis writ large.

These pr*cks are paid to reach agreement, not set up working parties.
This is an urgent problem that needs urgent attention.

But working parties mean their mates get to keep their snouts in the trough.

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Totally agree! Communitarianism is intellectual bog roll.

$20 on no action this year

Going up will not provide lower cost housing. Square metre for square metre build costs are similar and greater if parking and private outdoor areas are costed

Private outdoor areas are unavailable in high rise, but a very useful option in outer suburb sites.

Why change our lifestyle unnecessarily? Why put further stress on already full roads?
Building out encourages business and jobs into the outer suburbs.

Capital gains fix zero, but all those (including the govt) in the business of owning all classes of rental property, tax treatment of profit is off the mark.

Interest rates at present levels are not “market rates” and this causes chaos long term and never fixes income to expenditure imbalances.
Imagine the govt "fixing house prices"? Would that be acceptable, and would it work?

The affordability question is simple: earnings are out of kilter with expenditure. Starts at the top and filters down. The Labour Party spent all the money, Len Brown is doing his best to do the same in Auckland and the smart money is being placed into property to keep it safe, which is feeding prices.

The first step is to allow the market to set interest rates.

"The Labour party spent all the money?" Correction: Shon Key gave all the money to his fat cat friends via tax cuts!

Agenda 21; Loopy Lens master plan. Oh, he is trying so hard to make Auckland something it will never be or for that matter want to be...another major metropolis. Get real this is little old NZ, just another South Pacific group of islands. We have 1.5 million people spread living from Bombay to Orewa. Big deal. W

Another thought. The major influx of a certain culture is very comfortable living on the 20th floor of high-rise apartment blocks in dirty congested cities. They will be very pleased to fit in with Lens 'liveable' city 'vision for Auckland. Just seems that Kiwi citizens are not.

Is there something we are not being told here regarding Agenda 21???

Why not use the Gold Coast as an example of good planning, quality apartments, quality people, superior results, not rat warrens that planners have previously built. You could for example, in the area around the old railway station have-2-4 apartment blocks of 28 floors, with 3-4 apartments on each floor with landscaped gardens. That would be nearly 300 quality houses on about 4 acres of land. That is sensible, doable and aesthetic. That is in just one area. Do it once only and do it well... What do you think?

The tower blocks of London and Birmingham, full of immigrants, are vertical slums. Gangs of bored youths who have few affordable amenities hang around the streets making trouble at night and creating 'no-go' areas. This is certainly not my vision for Auckland.

Len loves higher prices because his rates income ( monopoly on services) increases with qv values, and every Kiwi likes to think his/her new higher qv makes them richer than a year ago. They forget this is nothing but a higher tax rate for no services , only higher ratepayer debt in the future.
Cut the costs, get rid of the bureaucracy, make land available. wring out the RMA and the planners, or just move to Aussie where your grandchildren will be if they have any ambition.

Building up instead of out is a much better long term solution.
It means people can use existing infrastructure, use existing public transport like trains and buses to get from home to work and back again. The other benefits are less pollution, less road accidents, less time commuting, no need to spend more billions of dollars to build more roads and motorways.

I think some people in NZ need to get their lazy butts out of their cars.

Also most immigrants moving to NZ to live and work have lived in apartments their whole lives and are used to it.

This should be about what the people of Auckland want and should not be about National Party or Nick Smith scoring political points.