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Boosting supply crucial to final Unitary Plan decision

Increasing Auckland’s housing supply should be the primary consideration in the decision-making of the Auckland Council’s Governing Body on the Unitary Plan, a prominent economist has urged.

Thursday, August 11th 2016, 12:00AM

by Miriam Bell

Broader Council deliberations on the Independent Hearing Panel’s recommended Unitary Plan kicked off on Wednesday.

The Council's Auckland Development Committee was set to consider the Panel’s recommendations, along with a report from council staff, before advising the Governing Body on a final decision.

However, the Committee instead voted to move decision-making on the Unitary Plan directly to the Governing Body.

The decision, which was supported by the Independent Māori Statutory Board, means any potential conflicts of interest arising from submissions to the Panel by the Board will be removed.

The Governing Body has now settled down to, what is likely to be, a long and heated meeting on the Unitary Plan and the future of Auckland.

Well-known economist Shamubeel Eaqub believes the Council has a duty to make sure that the supply of housing in Auckland is increased, as is desperately needed.

Eaqub, who is an unashamed fan of the Panel’s recommended Unitary Plan, said he had been disappointed by council’s staff rejection of some of the Panel’s significant recommendations on Monday.

“I would like to know if they did some quantitative work to find out what impact the rejection of certain Panel recommendations might have on Auckland’s housing supply.

“I felt the reasoning behind the rejections was very much focussed on planning. There was nothing about the impact of those rejections on supply, nothing to quantify them.”

He was particularly disappointed by council staff’s position on minimum dwelling size, which he described as a “very backwards approach”, and non-notifiable consenting.

Eaqub said he was worried that council staff’s lack of focus on the impact of rejecting Panel recommendations on housing supply could carry through to the Governing Body’s final decision.

“If they don’t make a decision on the Unitary Plan that will help to increase housing supply, then the Council will be negligent in their duty.

“They will have failed not just Aucklanders, but New Zealanders generally.”

If the Council ultimately rejects the Panel’s recommended plan, Eaqub said he will be calling for central government to step in to protect the future of Auckland.

Coming from a different side of the spectrum, Auckland developer David Whitburn also has concerns about some of council staff’s rejections of Panel recommendations.

In his view, council staff’s recommendations against those of the Panel were good on some items, but not on others.

But Whitburn said he virulently disagreed with the recommendation to reject allowing up to four dwellings to be built in the mixed housing suburban and mixed housing urban zones as a permitted activity.

“Council staff have submitted going for a maximum of two dwellings. This creates more red tape when we are trying to remove it. Having to just get a surveyor for up to four lot subdivisions would be fantastic.

“Council staff’s position means those building three and four dwellings have to compile more formal, costly and time consuming professional reports, engage expert planning consultants, and pay more Council processing fees.”

Whitburn said this position was a giant step backwards and the worst of the recommendations.

The Council has to make a final decision on the Unitary Plan by August 19 – although it can ask the Government for a 20 day extension.

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AIA 5.35 4.49 5.25 5.55
ANZ 5.54 5.15 5.85 6.15
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ANZ Special - 4.55 5.25 5.55
ASB Bank 5.35 4.49 5.25 5.55
Avanti Finance 5.45 - - -
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BNZ - Classic - 4.55 5.25 5.45
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.55 - - -
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BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 5.55 5.35 5.94 5.99
BNZ - TotalMoney 5.55 - - -
CFML Loans ▲6.45 - - -
China Construction Bank 5.50 5.40 6.14 6.40
China Construction Bank Special - 4.45 5.19 5.45
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First Credit Union Special 5.85 4.70 5.20 -
Heartland Bank - Online 4.00 3.85 4.70 4.84
Heretaunga Building Society 5.95 4.80 5.50 -
HSBC Premier 5.49 4.39 5.15 5.39
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
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HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.25 ▲4.29 ▲5.09 ▲5.35
Kainga Ora ▲5.43 ▲4.57 ▲5.58 ▲5.85
Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - 2.25 - -
Kiwibank 5.00 5.55 6.19 6.39
Kiwibank - Offset 5.00 - - -
Kiwibank Special 5.00 4.55 5.19 5.39
Liberty 4.84 - - -
Nelson Building Society 5.95 4.95 5.85 -
Pepper Essential 3.44 - - -
Resimac 4.59 5.60 6.16 6.29
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SBS Bank 5.29 4.69 5.35 5.49
SBS Bank Special - 4.19 4.85 4.99
Select Home Loans 4.09 4.29 4.86 5.09
The Co-operative Bank - First Home Special - ▲4.19 - -
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 5.45 ▲4.29 5.19 5.45
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.45 ▲4.79 5.69 5.95
TSB Bank 5.59 ▼5.14 6.05 6.15
TSB Special 4.79 ▼4.34 5.25 5.35
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Westpac 5.54 5.09 5.79 6.09
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Westpac - Offset 5.54 - - -
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Median 5.45 4.55 5.25 5.52

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