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Get rid of Auckland’s urban boundary - Labour

Auckland’s urban growth boundary has contributed to the city’s housing crisis, and needs to go to fix the problem, according to the Labour Party.

Wednesday, May 18th 2016, 3:25PM

by Miriam Bell

The party’s housing spokesperson, Phil Twyford, said the government has to rule out inclusion of an urban growth boundary in Auckland’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis.

Restrictive land use rules have stopped the city growing up and out, while driving land and housing costs through the roof, he said.

This is because the urban growth boundary creates an artificial scarcity of land, which drives up section costs, and means that land inside the boundary is up to ten times more valuable than rural land.

Twyford said the urban growth boundary has to be done away with and government needs to make sure it doesn’t re-emerge under a different name.

It would be smarter to manage growth on the city fringes by properly integrating land use with transport and infrastructure planning, he said.

“There should be more intensive spatial planning of Auckland’s growth areas in the north, north-west and south. Land of special value can be set aside, like the northern coastal strip or Pukekohe’s horticulture soils. Corridors should be acquired and future networks mapped for transport and other infrastructure.”

However, this would require bold reform, Twyford said.

“Freeing up growth on the fringes needs to go hand in hand with allowing more density - so people can build flats and apartments in parts of the city where people want to live, particularly around town centres and transport routes.”

Reforming the way infrastructure is financed would also be essential, he said.

“The cost of new infrastructure must rest with the property owners of new developments to prevent the ratepayer carrying the can for expensive infrastructure investment in places where it's too expensive to build.

“Labour proposes using bond financing paid back by targeted rates over the life of the asset. This can range up to 50 years in some of the jurisdictions using this mechanism.”

The proposal comes just days after the end of the Auckland Unitary Plan consultation process, with hearings before the Independent Hearings Panel finishing last Friday.

The Panel has until July 22 to produce its final recommendations on the Unitary Plan for the Auckland Council, which then has to make a decision on it by August 19.

The Unitary Plan process has been a battleground since its inception and the Council’s final call remains far from certain.

In recent weeks, several government ministers – including Prime Minister John Key – have indicated they expect the Council to make a decision on the Unitary Plan which will allow for a significant increase in housing supply.

But Twyford’s proposal would, potentially, involve over-riding the Unitary Plan.

He said restrictive land use rules like the urban growth boundary and density controls are a major contributor to the housing crisis that is locking young people out of home ownership.

“It is entirely appropriate that central government should have a say on behalf of them and future generations. While the detail of planning decisions is a matter for local councils, housing affordability is a matter of national interest.”

« Pressure on Council ramps upDensity real key to growth »

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ANZ Special - 3.55 3.45 3.99
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ASB Bank Special - 3.55 3.45 3.89
BNZ - Classic - 3.55 3.45 3.99
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Credit Union Baywide 6.15 4.95 4.95 -
Credit Union North 6.45 - - -
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Finance Direct - - - -
First Credit Union 5.85 3.99 4.49 -
Heartland 6.70 7.00 7.25 7.85
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 4.80 4.95 -
HSBC Premier 5.24 3.35 3.35 3.35
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
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HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.15 3.18 3.18 3.20
Kainga Ora 5.18 4.04 3.95 4.39
Kiwibank 5.80 ▼4.14 ▲4.30 4.64
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.15 - - -
Kiwibank Special - ▼3.39 ▲3.55 3.89
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Napier Building Society - - - -
Nelson Building Society 5.70 4.25 4.15 -
Pepper Money Near Prime 5.64 - 5.44 5.44
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Pepper Money Prime 5.18 - 4.98 4.98
Pepper Money Specialist 7.59 - 7.39 7.39
Resimac 4.50 4.86 3.89 3.94
RESIMAC Special - - - -
SBS Bank 5.29 4.85 5.05 5.49
SBS Bank Special - ▼3.55 3.39 3.89
Sovereign 5.30 4.15 4.29 4.55
Sovereign Special - 3.65 3.75 4.05
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 5.15 3.49 3.59 3.89
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.15 3.99 4.09 4.39
TSB Bank 6.09 4.35 4.25 4.69
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
TSB Special 5.29 3.55 3.45 3.89
Wairarapa Building Society 5.70 4.85 4.99 -
Westpac 5.34 4.15 4.09 4.49
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Median 5.34 4.04 4.09 4.39

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