Auckland to replace homes with carparks and playground

A warped Auckland council priority pointed out by Housing shortage…what housing shortage?? with eight properties including blocks of flats are to be demolished.

The NZH is reporting, that Auckland City Council has sent eviction notices to about 40 residents of council-owned properties in a quiet Royal Oak cul de sac..

Reason: so they can be demolished to make way for 44 carparks beside a park!!

And to make way for a playground.

The Herald on Sunday report: Kicked out of home for carparks

About 40 residents of Auckland’s council-owned properties face being kicked out of their homes to make way for 44 carparks.

Residents of a quiet Royal Oak cul de sac in Auckland have been told their council-owned flats and houses backing Monte Cecilia Park could go, possibly by December.

Eight properties – including blocks of flats – will be cleared to make way for 44 carparks to access a new playground, shown on plans for the reserve. Currently park users have to rely on streetside parks.

Letters have been sent to residents in homes and flats in Korma Rd telling them their properties will feature on park maps.

“Inclusion of this property on the map does not imply the public has access to your property but as the land has been purchased by Auckland Council and will become part of the park in the future it has been included in the map,” said the letter.

“We don’t have a firm date for the house removals but it is likely to be at the end of 2015 or during 2016.”

Auckland Council sports and parks manager Mark Bowater said the council had bought homes in Korma Rd between 2006 and 2011 under a strategic plan to develop the park. He said it could be some of the properties would be needed for carparking and a new playground.

A warped strategy.

Mangere Budgeting Services CEO Darryl Evans said losing housing for carparks was disgraceful. “Where are these 40 people going to go? Len Brown and the council need to rethink this one. There has not been enough thought into this decision.”

They could start their rethink by looking at this to see if they think the area is short of park space and play areas:

AucklandHomesforParkAt least if the council includes enough park benches in their strategic park development the people thrown out of homes will have somewhere they can sleep at night.

I guess people will have places to park their cars when they sleep in them. If they have cars.

Treasury Secretary – Capital Gains Tax won’t help Auckland

The Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf was interviewed on The Nation yesterday and said he doubted a capital gains tax would help the escalation in property prices in Auckland.

A CGT isn’t a quick fix and it won’t address the current problems.

Well, just this week the Deputy Reserve Bank Governor, Grant Spencer, is calling for a capital gains tax, or some kind of tax on investment. What do you make of that?

Well, I think what Grant Spencer was talking about was the need for us to address the housing issues in Auckland, and at the heart of the housing issue in Auckland is that we’re not building enough houses, and the Productivity Commission said a few years ago when it looked at this issue that building more houses is the answer. Looking really carefully at our planning regulations is the single biggest thing that will make a difference to how we build— how many houses we build in Auckland.

So you don’t think a capital gains tax or a tax like that is part of the solution?

I’m quite sceptical. If the issue that people are talking about is house prices, London and Sydney have got capital gains taxes and they’ve got similar issues as us. This is a phenomenon that’s actually playing out in large urban areas which are successful, right? And New Zealand is successful, Auckland is successful, so one of the consequences of that, as in Sydney and London and in Vancouver, is the current phenomenon, house prices. But we need to build more houses to actually meet the needs that we’ve got.

So in your view, it’s a supply side problem, then?

That’s the principal issue, is the supply side problem. And it’s not just my view; it’s the Productivity Commission’s view as well.

A Capital Gains Tax would do little or nothing to address the soaring property prices in Auckland.

A CGT (as proposed by Labour last term):

  • It would phase in very gradually so would have little immediate impact
  • It would not tax capital gains already realised
  • It would affect the whole country, not just Auckland
  • It has proven to not limit property inflation in other countries

So it’s a solution to a different problem, the broadening of the tax take. That’s a different debate with varying views on it’s worth.

Capital gains are already taxed on property speculation – where property is bought and sold with the aim of capital gain (according to IRD rules). Capital gains on share trading is also taxable.

Makhlouf is correct saying “building more houses is the answer” – building more houses in Auckland where the biggest demand is. For this to happen more land must be made available more easily. It’s land inflation that’s the problem, and that’s happening due to a shortage of supply and too many restrictions on higher density use.

Video: Interview: Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf

Full transcript (Scoop): Lisa Owen interviews Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf

Peters versus Key, Auckland versus Northland

Winston Peters played Northland versus Auckland and Northland versus Wellington well in the by-election campaign. It looks like he is continuing to try and build a provincial constituency.

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald:

National’s great fear will be the wedge politics Peters deployed with such devastating effect in Northland spreading to other provincial regions. That strategy involved pitting Auckland against the “neglected” regions. In his speech in the general debate yesterday, Peters made it clear he was intent on seeding that in other regions.

Having eked out a political living for so long by relying on the votes of the fringe, Peters is reinventing himself as the friend of the provinces, the farmers, the rural sector. He is putting out a slate as the home of the anti-Auckland vote. “It’s not all about Auckland,” he cried. He is making a clear pitch into National’s provincial heartland.

It certainly worked for him last last month.

And John Key played into his meme on Tuesday in Parliament in the final response to questions from Peters:

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Will he, as Prime Minister, support me, as the member for Northland, to address responses to one of the most serious and most abhorrent issues facing Northland—that of sexual violence?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Actually, the member makes an excellent point—an excellent point—which is that he wants to work constructively on issues that will support Northland. If that is what the member is saying to me today, well, I can say, as Prime Minister,that I am more than happy to work with him on those. I look forward to him supporting the Ngāpuhi settlement and the legislation that will go through there.

I look forward to the member working constructively in areas like Resource Management Act reform so we can see more investment going into Auckland.

Probably a slip but it could well be an Auckland influenced Freudian slip.

Brown eased out, Goff lining up

It looks like Len Brown is being deserted by his own team.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown loses backing of top campaign team

Advisers want Goff/Hulse to run for mayor.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has lost the backing of key members of his campaign team, who are turning their attention to other left-leaning candidates at next year’s local body elections.

The Herald has learned of a meeting last month where key campaign and mayoral advisers delivered the “blunt message” to Mr Brown that he has no chance of winning and should step down.

At least two of Mr Brown’s inner circle have held talks with Mt Roskill MP and former Labour leader Phil Goff about standing for the mayoralty.

There is also support for deputy mayor Penny Hulse, who has expressed interest but said she would never stand against Mr Brown.

It is understood Mr Brown was shaken by the actions of his campaign team and mayoral staff, some of whom are longstanding friends. He has not responded to their request.

All Brown could do was several over the top laughs when interviewed for 3 News – Len Brown tight-lipped on campaign team’s support.– while the currently have the wrong video linked they are displaying an uncomplimentary image:

LenBrown3NewsAnd Phil Goff is lining up to take his place – Goff considers Auckland mayoralty bid

Senior Labour politician Phil Goff says he is giving deep and serious consideration to running for the Auckland mayoralty.

The veteran MP for Mt Roskill, who has served for 15 of his 31 years in Parliament as a cabinet minister in portfolios including foreign affairs, defence and housing, said today he had received approaches “from right across the community” to lead the SuperCity but had yet to make up his mind.

“It’s something that I need to give some pretty deep thought to.”

Phil Goff says he can’t say and won’t say if he has had discussions with Len Brown’s team about standing for Mayor… (reads: yes he has)

It was likely Brown would have difficulty getting sufficient support to stand again.

And Goff has been suggested as a mayoral candidate for Auckland for some time. He would probably do well in a campaign and could make a good mayor.

And Labour get to bring someone new in to their caucus which is overdue for renewal.

It could work out well all round (apart from for Brown of course).

Evicted from ‘her Housing New Zealand home’?

There was what looks like a quite sad story on Stuff yesterday about a young mother with two children whose mother has recently died having difficulty finding somewhere to live in Auckland.

That would be a reasonable story. But there’s aspects of the story that appear to be wrong or misleading.

Housing shortage hits young mum hard

The headline is fair enouigh.

A stoush over state housing tenancy rights has seen a young mother evicted with nowhere to turn.

The Pt England, Auckland resident, who asked not to be named, was given 21 days to leave her Housing New Zealand home of 15 years when her sick mother was moved to a rest home in October. Her mother died on December 5.

The 26-year-old has a 6-month-old baby and a 6-year-old daughter.

Some of that makes it a sad story. But some of it raises questions.

“A stoush over state housing tenancy rights” – but it appears that the 26-year-old didn’t have any state housing tenancy rights. Was she trying to claim rights she didn’t have?

“Her Housing New Zealand home of 15 years” – this women was eleven years old 15 years ago. She is not likely to have been given a state house when she was eleven.

No rent has been paid since October 16 and she was evicted on February 20, her possessions stacked on the lawn because she had nowhere to take them.

No rent paid since October 16.

Housing New Zealand spokeswoman Denise Fink said the tenancy legally ended on October 30.

Her mother moved to a rest home in October. The article doesn’t say it, and implies it’s the daughter’s state house, but it seems obvious this was the mother’s state house and when she moved out the tenancy ended.

The state housing landlord issued an extension while the resident searched for another home but eventually had to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for immediate possession. Eviction was the only remaining option after months of repeatedly visiting and advising the tenant, Fink said.

Now the daughter is referred to as “the resident”. But it seems clear she had been living with her mother in her mother’s house.

So the “stoush over state housing tenancy rights” seems to be a case of the daughter trying to ‘inherit’ her mother’s state house tenancy.

Housing New Zealand gave her three months to find alternative housing, which seems very reasonable. Andn ikt’s very probable that this woman was aware well before the end of October that her mother was moving out and the tenancy would end.

It would be unfair on others on state housing waiting lists for a squatter to queue jump.

And it’s fair to wonder about the circumstances around a woman living with her mother having two children with no sign of a father or fathers.

Has she always lived with her mother? Or has she been away and came back when relationships didn’t work out?

The end circumstance is sad. Housing in Auckland is a crisis situation so that makes things difficult for this young sole parent.

But it’s also sad that people get themselves into circumstances like this and expect the State to hand houses down through the family.

Sky City eyesore

It’s a bit disgarceful that John Key would even suggest pouring taxpayer money into a deal that’s supposed to have already been done.

If he had any business nous he’d know when to walk away from an attempt to blatantly rip us off.

In any case an eyesore should fit in pretty well in the Auckland CBD, it’s not as if there’s anything much that’s nice left there.

If National fund a private gambling company development they should be roundly booed from the left and from the right.

Auckland sculptor upset about phallic ridicule

The scupltor who created the New Lynn ‘cock and balls’ scuplture is reported to be upset and sounds very defensive after much mirth and criticism. Stuff – Cloud or phallus? Sculpture an eye-opener for Aucklanders:

A controversial penis-shaped sculpture in Auckland was the “less phallic” version, says the upset artist behind it.

Gregor Kregar, who designed the Auckland Council-funded Transit Cloud sculpture, says early in the process a council member raised concerns that it looked like a penis.

“We modified it to make it look less phallic,” he says.

So he was warned about it’s likeness to something that could be ridiculed. It’s hard to see how it could have looked more phallic than it is now.

That the $200,000 piece has bemused locals after its erection comes as a surprise to Kregar.

“I recently had an exhibition with more than 200 people and not one of them mentioned that it looked phallic,” he says.

Not to his face.I wonder if he thought people were just laughing at each other.

Kregar, who has been working on the project for two-and-a-half years, says it’s not finished and the additional lights will make it less phallic.

Lights won’t make it look any different in daylight.

“People enjoy mentioning this stuff, I think. Technically anything can be phallic – a tree, a lamp post.

Trees and lamp posts tend not to look like a cock and balls.

“I’ve studied art and drawing for many years and I never came across a phallus made out of thousands of triangles that was six metres long.”

I’ve never come across a transit cloud made up of thousands of triangles that was six metres long either.

It’s not the triangles that stand out – no one has mentioned “Oh, look at the cloud made of triangles that might look different at night with lights on!”.

Scupltures are often made to a different scale than what they resemble.

This is very embarrassing for Kregar and I feel for him a bit but exhibitionsists should expect some criticism – especially when they cock things up on this scale.

The artist had no clothes.

Neither does the scuplture.

The sculpture that looks just like a transit cloud made of triangles.

Transit Cloud

‘bc’ at Kiwiblog on a new Auckland scuplture:

The ‘sculpture’ is called Transit Cloud and according to the artist is “acknowledging the local portage history and modern transport focus of the precinct.”

$200,000 sculpture erected ion New Lynn (NZ Herald)

Clearly everyone else just has a dirty mind and can’t appreciate art!

NZ Herald: ‘It’s a cock and balls': Phallic art stuns residents of New Lynn

Bets are off Sky City’s stupid gamble

Sky City did a deal with the Government. They got gambling concessions in return for the promise of a convention centre in Auckland.

Now Sky say their cost estimates have gone up and they need financial assistance.

But Len Brown says the Auckland City Council won’t fork out – Ratepayer cash won’t go into convention centre, mayor promises.

Auckland mayor Len Brown says the council will not put any ratepayer cash into building or running an international convention centre.

He told the Weekend Herald yesterday that there would be no money for the SkyCity convention centre in a new 10-year budget.

The council and Mr Brown were blindsided by suggestions from the Government and SkyCity before Christmas that ratepayers’ money be used to fund the shortfall in costs for the controversial project.

SkyCity said the original $402 million cost had been “revised” to $470 million and to $530 million.

That doesn’t rule out non-cash assistance such as rates relief, and…

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce floated the idea of ratepayers helping cover operating costs, but has since talked down the idea and suggested the council look at its regulatory fees for the consent and construction process.

But ruling out cash is sensible, and essential.

Who would want to finance a company who makes a deal based on costings that under-esitmated (or under-claimed) the cost by 20-30%?

Sky either cocked up or cooked up a massive con.

And the Government should discount any financial assistance too. They negotiated a deal based on no cost to taxpayers.

If National now bow to Sky’s coercion/attempted blackmail and fork out they will rightfully be blasted for it. It would look  that bad it would be likely to play a major part in the demise of Key’s government.

It would be a stupid business gamble and a very stupid political gamble.

And Sky have made a stupid gamble thinking they can fool us on their cost claims and suck us in to finance their folly.

Call their bluff. If they renege on their deal and ditch the convention centre Sky will be the biggest losers.

In gambling you need to know when to walk away.

Auckland demographics

From an interesting piece – Mai Chen: Hey Cabinet, we really need to talk – that suggests Auckland deserves some special political attention that isn’t well delivered from Wellington is a summary of changing Auckland demographics.

  • Almost 40 per cent of Aucklanders were born overseas (the third highest rate in the OECD).
  • One third of Aucklanders speak languages other than English, and many maintain active connections to their places of origin, including sending remittances home.
  • Auckland’s demographic transformation is still underway: it is estimated the Asian population of Auckland will grow by 130,000 in the seven years to 2021.
  • Asians are projected to comprise half of Auckland’s population growth in the next 20 years, and Pacific people 22 per cent.
  • Auckland is a Pacific Rim city, and an Asian one. In the near future most Aucklanders will be younger, and Asian, Maori or Pasifika.

The differences between Auckland and the rest of the country will widen.

From census totals:

Ethnic group    2001            2013
European 755,967 62.72%  789,306 53.47%
Maori 127,704 10.59% 142,770 9.67%
Pacific Island 154,683 12.83% 194,958 13.21%
Asian 151,644 12.58% 307,233 20.81%
Middle Eastern/Latin 13,335 1.11% 24,945 1.69%
‘New Zealanders’ n/a . 14,904 1.01%
 1,205,334 1,476,129

As a comparison Dunedin’s ethnicity (national figures in brackets):

  • 78.7% European (67.6%)
  • 6.4% Maori (14.7%)
  • 5.3% Asian (9.2%)
  • 2.2% Pacific Islanders (6.9%)
  • 0.7% Middle Eastern/Latin American/African (0.9%)
  • 13.6% ‘New Zealanders’ (11.1%)
  • 0.04% Other (0.04%).

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