What we want, and what we get in our cities

Rod Oram gave a great presentation last week in Dunedin about Reinventing Paradise. He talked about this Government’s attacks on the Resource Management Act and how they are bad news not just for our environment but for our economy too. You can watch his whole talk here but one slide in particular caught my attention.

He captured perfectly the disconnect between what this Government is doing and what New Zealanders actually want.

Cities vs Government
What our cities want What it says we will get
Public Transport Roads
Quality urban design Some urban guidelines
Wide choices in housing Narrow choices in housing
Power to decide, act Strong central oversight
Enough investment Limited investment
New economy Old economy
Sustainability Economy – Environment “balance”
Local democracy Central intervention

The National Government’s chipping, or hacking, away at our environmental laws, our conservation staff, and our local democracy is a disaster for our environment and our economy.

I also gave a presentation at this event which you can watch here.

10 Comments Posted

  1. Not from yesterday we know that in our country things like to be twisted. What we want as a citizen is non-important for the us government representatives. Don’t know what do you mean about old and new economy. What examples you can give? If for example having a shoe repair shop is old economy for you then I need to open my mouth and say that everything is needed. However, if you mean that old economy is giving everyone real estate loan when it’s clear that they’ll never pay it off then I need to agree. It’s a good post but could have been a little bit more detailed and contain your opinion as well.

  2. Libertyscott:

    Quote: “In supporting restrictions on land use, you can’t possibly claim to be representing what people want, as you want to ban or price them out of their preferred options.”

    I love it when people say it better than I do!

  3. I would like to see new immigrants restricted to living in the South Island for at least the first 10 years of their residence, with a complete ban on immigration to Auckland until there is a reasonable approach to equality between the populations of the North and South islands.

    This would ease congestion, reduce the concentration of pollution in the upper north island, reduce the per-head cost of electricity distribution (keep the SI Generated in the South Island) and reduce the cost of land for new development.

    The fantasy that NZ’s growth must be in the Auckland area (because that’s were the best climate is?) is rediculous. There are tens of millions of people living in climates identical to, or less favourable to humans than, that of the lower south island and it’s about time we started using our land to disburse the population. Believe me, we can only just afford the Christchurch rebuild, I doubt that we could afford a rebuuild of Auckland as it is, and if it absorbs another milion people we most certainly won’t be able to afford the rebuild or even the insurance premiums for one.

  4. I don’t want more public transport, I want roads.

    Wide choice in housing? Erm…so why are you “smart” growth planners forcing people to live in medium/high density arrangements? What does “quality” urban design mean? Better traffic flow? Enough investment? What does “enough” mean, and where does it come from? Borrowing? New economy/old economy? So, fewer cows, more web design shops?

    This list is an arbitrary load of nonsense.

  5. Andrew,

    No it is very vague on what is in it. Sort of like the “what we want in our city” wishlist published above by Eugenie Sage.

    Wishful thinking without concrete action steps. But there must have been some sort of planning exercise and basic design work done to get at the $60B cost.

    Or is the $60B just another flight of fancy as well?

    Now your favourite will be implemented to raise the $60B required.


    How stupid are politicians and our city leaders?

    Don’t they realise that the revenue stream to fund the upgrades will be continually being reduced as the congestion charge keeps people from moving freely around Auckland?

    Also note that there is no research done to ask if people can actually afford to pay the charges. The economy already is being hit by high fuel charges (taxation), add a congestion charge and the likelihood of a further reduction in spending by the populace (and an increase in prices as goods and services costs will reflect the congestion charge on the cost of doing business) is unavoidable.

    Sort of related but relevant. Who decided that cash was no longer acceptable on Auckland trains? Did the right thing and took the train from Manurewa to Middlemore for a follow up visit at the hospital.

    But you need a credit card to purchase a ticket to get on the train. No cash, no eftpos, credit (or debit) cards only. How dumb is that? Only place you can get tickets with cash is the manned stations, which Manurewa or Middlemore are not (naturally as this is South Auckland).

    Why no facility (train conductor) to buy a ticket on board?

    Why doesn’t some just simply look at Melbourne where every corner shop sells integrated train, bus, tram, and ferry tickets.

    Jeez, it ain’t rocket science.

  6. “Cities” don’t want anything. People do, and what planners say people want often doesn’t match their decisions, as can be seen by decades of malpractice by many. You equate local authorities with the individuals they govern. Oddly enough, most people find local authorities to be a barrier to what they want to do, because they govern land use and beyond providing certain public goods, people don’t want local authorities pushing them around.

    People buy cars and pay to use the roads. People don’t pay to cover more than half the cost of urban public transport (yet they do for intercity and international public transport). So preferences are clear here. People may say they want public transport, but want everyone else to pay for it. A bit like saying they want a holiday to Europe.

    Beyond that the list is utterly banal.

    In supporting restrictions on land use, you can’t possibly claim to be representing what people want, as you want to ban or price them out of their preferred options.

    Other claims are nonsense, you want local authorities to have unlimited powers, and want them to “invest” which means higher rates. Yet people are remarkably resistant to that, since they prefer to “invest” in their own home, families, businesses etc, not the whims of planners and politicians spending their money for them.

    Individuals don’t fit into any framework. What they choose to buy, invest in, sell and the rest is far more democratic than politicians and planners passing laws, bylaws, ordinances, making planning decisions on what colour to paint your house, whether you can build something on your own land, whether to tax you more, or spend your money on something that they think is good for you.

    What’s actually a disaster is the continued belief that restricting the housing people can build and where they can build it is good for them, when it is only good for those seeking to speculate on scarce supplies of properties people want. It is housing for the wealthy, the poor can get the taxpayer funded high density properties that are “good for sustainability”.

  7. Funny, dont recall anone asking me or anyone else here in South Auckland what they wanted.

    You sure you and Rod Oram are not interviewing the keyboard in front of the computer?

    Any linked REFERENCES to the OPINION polls that come out with Cities V Government statistics?

    Looks more like a fanciful flight of fantasy to me, that City wishlist.

    Very poor effort on the Greens part.

    Mind you there seems to be a thirty year transport plan unveiled


    Maybe someone should ask the people in Auckland what they want, you know that democracy being talked about? Has the Auckland population got access to the $60B required?

    Or is this initiative another flight of fancy?

  8. Your list is nothing more than spurious bullshit. It ultimately means whatever the reader wants it to mean. But then I’m talking to a brick wall because if you had half a brain you would already know that. And, you forgot what people desperately want: AFFORDABLE HOUSING. And your comment on “housing choice” is utterly pathetic. Only the RICH will be able to afford garden and lawn under Auckland’s regime. Oh…and I am sure, Eugenie, you have long owned your own home? Do you live in a cramped apartment…that you call “housing choice”? I doubt it very, very much. How do you think your views much “adjust” if you were in the young renters situation?

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