Q&A With Auckland Mayoral Candidate John Palino
Our third Q&A with the Auckland Mayoral candidates covering their housing policies and their overall vision for Auckland. This week, businessman John Palino.
1. What do you believe the role of Auckland Council is in relation to dealing with Auckland housing?
Auckland Council bears sole responsibility for releasing land supply for housing. They have failed to provide enough land for housing and this has driven up house prices to unfairly high levels.
2. Given your position on Auckland Council’s role, what actions would you take to influence the Auckland housing situation?
As Mayor I would remove all limits to land supply for housing. I would also work with industry to come up with a very clear plan for expanded infrastructure along existing transport spines to ensure that people could live close to where they work. Specific policies include:
1. Remove the Metropolitan Urban Limit to increase land supply.
2. Stop attempting to shoe horn Auckland into a single compact super city.
3. Stop future intensification of existing suburbs that require expensive new infrastructure, change the character of a suburb and affect existing owner’s property rights.
4. Speed up and streamline consenting requirements and regulatory processes to make it cheaper and easier to build houses.
5. Change zoning to allow intensification of housing, commercial and industrial greenfield sites near existing major transport routes in order to support and develop satellite CBDs.
3. How do you think Auckland’s Proposed Unitary Plan will affect future housing?
The Unitary Plan in its form today has an ideological approach to housing, which has caused new house prices to increase rapidly as demand outstrips supply. The attempt to create an ideologically driven compact city has failed for several reasons.
Practically, a compact city will not work as zoning existing suburbs to higher density housing has not to date created the kind of increase in supply required to lower housing prices. Neither will it do so in the future, as buying existing dwellings, demolishing them, and rebuilding denser housing, does not provide the kind of returns developers need to undertake this type of development and be able to sell their development homes at “affordable” prices. Also adding another house behind a house does not add much other than a home for an average of three people yet putting two or three more cars on the road in that area.
A “compact” suburb also means increasing pressure on already strained infrastructure, particularly roads. There is minimal room for necessary new schools and other amenities to serve the increased population. The schools are over flowing while emergency services are getting over loaded. Building this way is unplanned and unmanageable. Without being able to grow our population properly, council is unable to plan the future and provide the services needed. Filling in existing suburbs does nothing more than over load the streets
and does little for growth in education, emergency services and the amenities needed for the future 500,000 new people predicted to move to the city.
Increasing density also means existing property owners face having their views and sunlight blocked by new multilevel dwellings. Council’s insistence on increased density in existing non-CBD areas affects the property rights of residents, without any recompense for the loss of their views and sunlight.
4. More generally speaking, what are 3 initiatives you hope to undertake as Mayor of Auckland?
- To provide a planning and regulatory framework that allows and encourages the private sector to genuinely provide affordable new housing in the numbers required while it reduces traffic congestion. I will do this by creating an environment that encourages and allows businesses to develop in multiple locations providing employment opportunities near where people want to live.
- To implement a comprehensive and transparent budget that reduces rates by 10% over my first term.
- To make Council spending transparent to Ratepayers so they can judge whether or not their money is being spent sensibly
5. What is your vision for the future of Auckland?
My vision outlined below is one I hope and believe Aucklanders can and will embrace as being sensible and meeting their needs and aspirations.
My vision is for a region of choice. I will remove the restrictions on development which do not infringe on existing property rights and I will prioritise council spending on developments which provide the most homes and jobs.
I will remove metropolitan boundaries to allow development where land is available and where developers can see an opportunity.
Removal of metropolitan limits will lift the barriers to large new housing and employment development areas. Greenfield development is cheaper, less intrusive and allows Auckland to grow sustainably. I will allow both high and low density development in new greenfields so that employment can be located close to homes. This is not only
good for people and the economy, it lessens the need for long distance travel and trips to the city.
I will reprioritise expensive, low value, small scale spending in existing suburbs to support major new developments in the north, south and north-west. I will change regulations to allow tens of thousands of homes per year to be built so the cost of new water and transport can be spread out across a large number of residents. I will work with government to identify the benefit to income, company and sales taxes from a rapidly growing Auckland to get them to spend more on infrastructure here, at the same time as I become a lot less loose with Auckland’s.
Auckland’s growth challenge provides an amazing opportunity. Let’s move quickly and make the future a great one for our city.
Let’s open the metropolitan limits and build the best new cities and suburbs we can. Imagine new cities with the newest technologies, with efficiencies in energy, transport and the environment. Imagine a garden city, with backyards for kids, designed around apartments for those who want to live closer to employment, restaurants, theatres and nightlife. We can have it all when we can build from a clean slate. We risk losing it all by intensifying our beautiful suburbs.
Let’s grow Auckland in a way where everyone plays their role to the best of their ability – council, government, residents and businesses – and let’s acknowledge where that role starts and stops for each of them. Let’s take advantage of growth and create the best new city in the world.
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July 5, 2016 Blog