We need to talk about Bill English’s repeated accusations that planning is responsible for stratospherically high house prices and inequality, and about the opportunity the Auckland Unitary Plan has to get housing back on the right track. Ever since he wrote the forward to Demographia’s 2013 annual housing affordability survey, our Minister of Finance has […]
The Labour Party launched its package of ideas to fix the housing crisis over the weekend. Their ideas match ours in many ways. This is good news, because it means that when we change the government we’ll be ready to hit the ground running with a common policy programme to tackle one of the most […]
These art deco apartments were built in Mt Eden, Auckland in the 1930s, before there were zoning controls. They are large (85m2 at least), each have double exposition and are very quiet. There are eight apartments in each building, so 16 homes in the space of one 1/4 acre section. There is a shared […]
The protests against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) yesterday were an energetic show of people power. It was great to see such a big turnout – at least 15,000 in Auckland by some estimates. That’s a lot of people not buying the National Government’s spin on the TPPA. I was at the Auckland protests […]
The National Government today announced long-overdue support for an earlier start to City Rail Link (CRL) project. The CRL will double the capacity of the entire rail network, allowing trains every 5 minutes at peak times and enable the extension of rail to the airport and to the North Shore. But the CRL hasn’t always […]
On 1 October, the Government’s Bright Line Test came in to force, despite the fact the legislation has yet to be passed into law. It is still being considered by the Finance and Expenditure Committee. When it is enacted, sometime before the end of the year, it will be retrospective. This is National’s too-little-too-late attempt […]
Last month I blogged about the sale of Housing New Zealand land in Haverstock Road, Sandringham, where – instead of redeveloping its land into a groundbreaking mixed housing development – Housing New Zealand was flogging off a huge parcel of land to the highest bidder. I visited the site on 25 March, and this is […]
Maybe. Yesterday, the Reserve Bank signalled enough concern about rising house prices in Auckland that they spooked commentators with the possibility of early rises in the Official Cash Rate (OCR) and a more certain resolve to use complementary tools, like loan-to-value ratios. I have more hope following this statement that the Reserve Bank has learned […]
Below is a presentation that was part of our ‘False Economy: The high cost of a low wage economy’ meeting in Auckland this week. I was really moved by what Darryl had to say and wanted to make sure that other people had a chance to see what he shared with us. Please have a […]
Just like it is all around the country, Housing New Zealand is busy demolishing state houses and selling off the land to private developers in Sandringham. It’s a tragedy, not only for those who have now lost their homes in the area, but also a tragic missed opportunity to invest in more of the affordable, […]
Housing affordability has been a hot topic lately, especially in Auckland, so I spent yesterday touring various Auckland suburbs, looking at some great – and some not so great – examples of affordable, efficient housing and discussing potential solutions to the exploding crisis in housing cost and quality.
After spending Wednesday in the House on that crazy, toilet free, golf course plentiful Planet Key, I landed smoothly in the real world at Edmund Hillary Primary at Papakura on Thursday; a decile 1 school with a volunteer breakfast program and a community garden. You might have seen them on Campbell Live in August. Anyway, […]
A couple of recent articles in the Aucklander reveal that we might once again have to fight a battle that we thought was ‘won’ more than a decade ago. The old Auckland City and North Shore City councils had a largely chemical-free regime in place to manage roadside weeds, following many years of public concern and […]
Poor Auckland! I hate it when the Government meddles in our city. It was bad enough that we had a forced amalgamation of our local councils to create the supercity. Now we have the Prime Minister selling our law to increase the number of pokies at SkyCity casino in exchange for a mega convention centre.
So much is happening in transport that it’s a bit hard to keep up and put out an informed post on each happening, so here’s a round-up: First, the bad news: The Napier—Gisborne line is hanging by a thread after being washed out. This is a huge blow to the regional freight line, which thanks […]
There are two parallel debates going in Auckland that really need to be combined. On the one hand, we have a housing affordability crisis. The solution, we are told, in the very disappointing Productivity Commission draft report, is to free up more land for development on the fringes of the urban area. This will presumably bring down […]
On Saturday, I went to the Grey Lynn festival to talk to people about our women’s policy, and draw attention to the inequities between women and men when it comes to paid work. We invited festival goers to spin the Pay Equity Wheel of Fortune – Show Me The Money!
The Herald reports the government has been criticizing Auckland Council for it’s new spatial plan. The government says the spatial plan places too much emphasis on improving public transport and creating a compact urban form (as if they’re bad!).
I got a buzz out of visiting the Occupy Auckland camp again this sunny afternoon. Seventy tents have mushroomed on the grass in Aotea Square right next to the Town Hall. Hopefully the Auckland Council will continue to tolerate the camp as a venue for citizen engagement with politics. It’s not just the ‘occupiers’ discussing […]
Last Saturday I went to Botany for what I thought would be a ‘routine’ event, speaking to members of the public and saying some nice things about Habitat for Humanity. I’m always happy to support this group, who do great work helping people into decent affordable homes. They managed to build about 50 homes for […]
I had to check it wasn’t April 1st, when I saw this press release from the New Zealand Transport Agency: ‘NZTA’s Auckland motorway network a haven for NZ’s rare plants.’
I was astonished that a few weeks back Auckland MPs voted against inviting the Auckland Council to submit on the CBD rail link debate. I can only talk about it now because the report containing my minority report was tabled in Parliament today. The Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee was discussing my petition to […]
Over the last 2 days I’ve co-hosting the Smart Transport conference at Parliament with Labour MPs Phil Twyford and Jacinda Ardern. We’ve had some amazing speakers, especially Paul Mees who did a fantastic job opening the conference.
I’ve been whipping around the country a lot lately visiting students at Orientation. So I haven’t had a chance to post much. But here’s a bit of a round up of the big transport stories of the last few weeks and my reaction. More funds for rail upgrades in Wellington. The government has announced an […]
Tonight, Metiria Turei and I are sleeping rough in Auckland as part of the Lifewise Big Sleepout, to raise funds and awareness on homeless issues.
Advocates (like Steven Joyce) of removing Metropolitan Urban Limits and allowing lots of low density growth around our cities like to present their case as if urban sprawl is the natural result of market forces. Their narrative is pretty much that people like to live in spread out suburbs with their own back yard and […]
The Auckland Council is consulting right now on a discussion document called the City Centre Master Plan (PDF). It almost slipped under my radar but I’ve managed to draft up a quick submission to go in before the closing date – this Friday, the 17th of June. I encourage you to make an online submission […]
According to a piece in the Herald today, people with longer commutes are less likely to be healthy, happy or stay married. The study found that if you commute for 45 minutes plus then your chance of getting divorced is 40% higher than for those with shorter journeys. This is good news for me (and […]
I’ve just alighted from a 100-person walking train I organised down Queen St in Auckland, travelling the route of the proposed, but as yet unfunded, CBD Rail Loop. We stopped at the site of the possible Aotea Square rail station for speeches next to the statue of Mayor Dove Myer-Robinson, which was appropriate considering this […]
Usually we are all a bit pleased if our predictions are proved in time to be right. But in this instance I would have been happier to be wrong! Last December I blogged about the train wreck that was already in progress within Auckland City’s staffing, as good skilled people the Council could ill-afford to […]
The Budget is fast approaching and so far the government has shown no sign that they will fund the CBD rail loop. In fact, their latest Government Policy Statement on transport funding shows that over the next 10 years they’re planning to spend $7 on roads for every $1 they spend on sustainable transport options […]
I’ve prepared a submission guide on Auckland Unleashed, the discussion document that Auckland Council released recently to guide their spatial plan. The spatial plan is extremely important because it will guide Auckland’s development for the next 30 years. The Council’s discussion document isn’t perfect – in some areas it’s pretty vague and in others it […]
While Auckland’s public transport systems are getting seriously overcrowded, we are still waiting to find out which company has been awarded the $500 million contract to build the new Auckland electric rail cars (aka Electric Multiple Units or EMUs). The trains, themselves, won’t be operational until 2014 at the earliest. As motorway, after motorway, finishes 6 months […]
I was really inspired when taking part in a hui at Puatahi Marae on Sunday, an open day for the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group. The group’s title is a mouthful, but there is nothing complicated about the vision they share, which is to restore the Kaipara, its mauri, its quality and its ecosystems back to what […]
Lately I’ve had quite a few people ask me whether it’s realistic to continue pushing for the government to fund the CBD rail loop in the after-math of the Christchurch earthquake. I can understand what they’re thinking. After all, the CBD rail loop is an expensive project and the reconstruction of Christchurch will also cost […]
‘Auckland Unleashed’ is the catchy title of the draft discussion document that will inform the proposed Auckland Spatial plan. In an earlier blog post I indicated the political battle looming between Auckland’s elected councillors and central Government, who have very different visions for the city’s future. Auckland City’s discussion document makes the case for a compact city, […]
The cabinet papers that Rodney Hide has released relating to Auckland’s Spatial Plan make for interesting reading. It is obvious that this government will attempt to call the tune on Auckland’s development, despite the substantial mandate that Auckland voters gave to their mayor and council just a few months ago. A discussion document that will in part inform the Spatial […]
Graphs of the day.. This graph shows the growth in traffic on state highways over the last 20 years as reported by the transport agency. The pink line is heavy traffic (trucks) and the blue is all traffic. As you can see it grew pretty steadily up to about 2005. It then plateaued, dropped a bit in 2008 […]
Last weekend I visited the Motu Manawa Marine Reserve as part of Sea Week. I was there to help Forest and Bird and Friends of the Whau with a boat based clean up of the marine reserve. As you can see from the photo below we collected a lot of rubbish – especially given that […]
There have been some predictable howls of outrage about the operational funding approved for the Māori Statutory Board set up under the ‘Super City’ legislation rammed through Parliament by Rodney Hide last year. Apparently the Auckland Transition Agency estimated a budget of $400,000 for the Board’s operation, which has in fact been set at a […]