Category Archives: Council Issues

Shanty Towns Here We Come!

Auckland Council has totally failed at it’s job for the last 20 years (previously 7 councils).  They have strangled supply.  They have ramped up costs.  They have stopped many developments in their tracks – often after a great deal of money has been spent by the prospective developer.

And what is the result? Surprise, surprise, a housing shortage.

And the National government, has basically stood by and tinkered a little bit.  And kind of hoped the problem would go away.

But it hasn’t.

So what do we have now? 2 things.  Firstly an infrastructure loan facility of $1b and secondly, and comically, some ‘pop up’ houses.  Sigh.

So firstly we have an infrastructure loan facility for fast growing cities (they mean Auckland, but for some reason don’t like to lay the blame all at Auckland’s doorstep) so that they can borrow off of the government to do what they always used to do, but seems now can’t do, i.e. put in infrastructure so that developers can subdivide land and build houses.

This is a) A tiny amount of money and b) Auckland council wouldn’t need it if they hadn’t pissed away sooooo much money on stupid shit.  Sorry to be blunt, but that’s basically it.  They’ve spent and spent and spent, incurred a lot of debt, and now they can’t perform their mandated functions such as providing infrastructure.  They’re like a teenager who spent all their money on booze and now want their parents to give them petrol money so they can get to work/school/uni/tech.

And then secondly, we have Paula Bennett wanting to create some pop up houses.  Why? Because this issue is starting to hurt the government.  They’ve tinkered around for the last 7 years or so and tut tutted while the situation gets worse.  And of course, they’ve watched immigration levels get to +70,000 people per annum – which all governments like because it stimulates the economy.

But the situation is now undeniable.  We are damn short of houses in Auckland and when it comes to allowing the creation of more housing units, the council has been dragging it’s feet the whole time.

So what to do? Well some quick fixes apparently!  Nothing that will solve the long term problem, just some things that will say “We take this issue seriously”  Try to keep a straight face when reading that 🙂

You know what they need to do?  You really want to know?

The answer is: THEY JUST NEED TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY AND LET THE PRIVATE SECTOR BUILD HOUSES!!!

Simple.  Costs the taxpayer and ratepayer nothing.  No risks either.  Just let developers and builders get on with the job and the situation would be resolved pronto.

Sadly I don’t see this happening in the near future.

Instead we’ll get some shanty towns for the poor people, and a loan to the poor council.

Is the GC the Answer?

Interesting Article: Here.

Why the Gold Coast is the answer to our soaring house prices

A former Reserve Bank chairman has called for the Government and Auckland Council to enact policies to deliberately “collapse” the city’s house prices by at least 40 per cent and intensify building along Tamaki Dr with Gold Coast-style towers.

 

I agree with some of the articles content but not all of it.  I still think the council just needs to get out of the way and let private developers build.

Auckland Ratepayer’s Alliance

This organisation: http://www.ratepayers.nz/ has started today. They are called the Auckland Ratepayer’s Alliance. Their aims are:

What are the aims of the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance?
The aims of the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance are to:

  • reduce wasteful Council spending;
  • increase transparency and accountability of those funded by ratepayers;
  • increase institutional checks on the Council;
  • enable Aucklanders to easily scrutinise Council spending;
  • lower the rates burden; and
  • promote evidence-based public policy.

I might join, it’s free.

Haha Someone Actually Dumps Shit on Otago Regional Council

Well I had to laugh at this:

Upset farmers dump excrement at regional council

By Timothy Brown

Contractors prepare to clean up excrement dumped outside the Otago Regional Council's Dunedin office by a disgruntled North Otago farming couple. Photo / Peter McIntosh
Contractors prepare to clean up excrement dumped outside the Otago Regional Council’s Dunedin office by a disgruntled North Otago farming couple. Photo / Peter McIntosh

An ongoing dispute with a North Otago farmer who says he is at his wit’s end has landed the Otago Regional Council in the poo – literally.

Five Forks farmer Robert Borst says the ORC’s water plan change 6A has ”destroyed us as a family” and provided four years of ”sheer frustration and exhaustion” for him and his wife, Sylvia.

When told last night the ORC still hoped to resolve the dispute, he replied: ”Bull… – absolute bull…”.

Link

Man I feel for these people.  Dealing with councils is one of life’s most frustrating things.

 

The Town that Privatized Everything

Oh if only we could do this in Auckland:

The Town that Privatized Everything

https://d268xzw51cyeyg.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/725/2014/06/Sandy-Springs-Junk-Removal-Company.jpg

Sandy Springs, Georgia may look like any other town in America. It has parks, roads, and beautiful places to live. But there’s one thing that separates this town from every other town: Sandy Springs privatized almost everything.

In 2005, Sandy Springs outsourced almost all functions of the city government (with the exception of police and fire) to a single company, which runs the town. That company is in charge of running all the vital functions of government, from the running the parks, to paving the roads, and even 911 calls!

Rest of Article

Man, this would be my total wet dream.  Imagine being able to say to the likes of Len Brown, “Fuck off you’re useless” and hiring someone else.

This is What Happens When You Let Planners Run Things

Stockholm, a lovely place to visit.  I wonder if Auckland Council planners go on holidays there?

The trouble is, housing-wise it’s a disaster.  Turns out you can’t rent a place there for love nor money and housing prices have gone up 300% in the last 13 years…

Here’s the article on it.  And here are a few choice bits:

First, the city wait list for a new apartment is now 15 years on average

Stockholm is today one of the few capitals in the world where you cannot simply move to and hope to find a rental. You either have to wait in Stockholm’s official housing line, which has about half a million people ahead of you, or you can wait in one of the co-op lines, which own 28% of rental properties. Yet, if you look to Sweden’s largest co-op, there are exactly zero apartments available in Greater Stockholm.

In the last 10 years, 35,000 rental properties have been converted to condos with the result that the black market for getting a rental property is $29,000 per room. To be clear, that means paying someone $29,000 just for the right to rent that room.

Either way, with construction moving at a slow pace, and at the highest cost in the EU—72% above the average—the people of Stockholm and those moving in have figured out that with little or no new supply, the only way to make it work might be to move in with somebody, not by choice but by necessity. This is what decades of too little construction have led to: a new Stockholm Syndrome.

We’d have this here if the National government wasn’t taking on the councils.

 

Auckland Transport Take the Cake. Then the Biscuits, the Drink…

Read this article in NBR today: Auckland Transport takes up the parking challenge.

So what of course a headline like that normally means is that Auckland Transport are looking to make some more money, and are in the process of figuring out how to screw the public out of more their cash – without upsetting the apple cart to the extent that there would be a public backlash.

So I started reading it but then I had to read this 3 times to be sure I was reading it correctly:

“The draft discussion paper suggests possible parking levies being imposed on private car park building providers as a revenue-generating mechanism to help fund public transport initiatives.”

So not only are they going to charge shitloads for their own car parks, they think they might like to start charging revenue on privately owned car parks as well?

Well imagine having a business like this: You don’t have to own property or anything, you just charge rent on it anyway!  But surely you can’t do that you say.  And you may be right, but that doesn’t stop them from trying!

Readers of this blog may recall Auckland Transport tried to take the balconies on my property at Papakura and lease them back to me.  Yep, just annex a bit of my property and then generously lease them back to me.  What a great bunch of guys.

So if we’re not careful, Auckland Transport will try to levy private car park owners in the Auckland CBD, and then presumably roll that out over all of Auckland.

Oh well, one way of driving people out of the CBD I guess.

Papakura Business Association – Not!

I own a commercial property in Papakura,  and that property gets levied approx $12000 per annum in council rates, of which approximately $1200 is a targeted rate that goes to the Papakura Business Association.

So along with all the other properties in the Papakura CBD area, the total rates taken from property owners and handed over to the Papakura Business Association is approximately $170,000.00 per annum.

This has been done for 3 years now.  So that’s a bit over $500,000.00.  And what has been achieved in this time? Well almost nothing.

There have been meetings, a few Santa parades etc.  But basically that half a million dollars has been frittered away and nothing concrete has been achieved.

There isn’t even a website!

When this was put to the Papakura Business Association convenor recently, she resigned.

Hopefully now things will start to move along and our money will either be returned to us or Papakura will start to hum.

I prefer the latter, but will take the former rather than see any more money frittered away.