Newsletter 18

15 June 2014

The politics of being relevant

Last week we mentioned the bureaucratic insanity of the Auckland Council preventing people from scattering ashes in any public place – including beaches and reserves – unless they have written approval from the council or Wahi Tapu Maori Kimiti (a Maori committee that oversees sacred areas).

This week we look into the proposed unitary plan.

The lust of left-wing wannabe politicians to be relevant is standing in the way of Auckland’s housing shortage. While the Labour/Greens/Mana coalition point fingers at National they should in fact be pointing their fingers north, to Auckland itself. They don’t, of course, because they are not fighting an election against Len Brown.

The solution to Auckland’s apparent housing crisis is actually very simple – allow the free market to function. While the free market is not faultless, it is very good at finding solutions to problems and needs – providing it can make a quid in the process. Profiting from one’s endeavours is (of course) not unreasonable and should not be begrudged. How many socialist politicians do you know work for nothing, or even the average wage for that matter? None – they too believe in the (self) profit motive – it’s just inconsistent with their political platform to admit it.

Remove the obstacles that stand in the way of the free market operating in Auckland’s housing market and the market will deliver the solutions. Smart, risk-taking individuals will use their effort and initiative to deliver the types of houses people want at prices they can afford.

Unfortunately having faith in others is not something Auckland’s ruling elite want to do. They too, need to be relevant, so they conveniently assume that they need to be guardians acting in the greater good, when in fact they are simply doing what’s best for them.

In a Cabinet approved submission to the Auckland unitary plan the Environment Minister, Amy Adams, launched into the Council’s proposals. She says:

Paragraph 17. “Analysis of the Proposed AUP undertaken by my officials has led me to conclude that

• The proposed development controls and zoning (including future urban land) do not provide the needed long-term residential development capacity to meet projected population growth.
• Development controls and other rules in the Proposed AUP are overly complex and constraining. In particular, the increased requirement for consent applications to be notified from that provided by the earlier Draft AUP, means the consenting processes will be more costly, inflexible and uncertain than necessary or desirable.
• Sustainable building and inclusionary zoning requirements, combined with less than-flexible development controls, create barriers to the market-provision of the desired large-scale and/or medium-density housing, constraining the housing choices necessary to maintain or improve social and economic wellbeing and provide flexibility to manage environmental effects on a region-wide basis.”

Paragraph 38. ”I am concerned about the potential effect on developer behaviour and market dynamics of the change in approach that appears to occur when a development reaches a certain size, at which point additional design requirements and cost factors apply. These include a change in activity status, sustainable building requirements, and affordable housing provisions, all of which will affect the economics of development and will have a cooling effect on supply.”

Paragraph 39. “Other examples where Proposed AUP provisions may generate additional transaction and other costs include the proposed ‘Pre-1944 Demolition Control’ overlay and the overlay for ‘Sites and Places of Value to Marta Whenua’. Both of these are new approaches (with neither having an identifiable analogue in current plans), but both affect a very large number of properties and will require resource consent approval (including heritage and cultural impact assessments) for what may otherwise be unexceptional activities. The effect of these two overlays on potential development costs, and overall development capacity, is unstated in the Auckland Council’s supporting evidence but likely significant.”  [In other words, all pre-1944 houses will have some level of heritage protection and greater consultation with Iwi will be required!]

Paragraph 40. “There are instances where the proposed rules are either more complex than legacy plans, or have additional consent requirements. More activities requiring resource consent will put pressure on the consenting function of the Council, as well as increasing overall costs…”

A full copy of the Minister’s submission can be seen HERE.

The Minister is right to be concerned. The Auckland Council is a beacon of despair and an example of why councils should be reigned in.

Co-management agenda

Iwi want control of New Zealand’s parks. That’s abundantly clear from the topics to be discussed at two-day Hui to be held at Te Papa on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, where iwi representatives and others involved in the management of parks will discuss co-governance and co-management.

It turns out that many outdoor recreation groups do not know about the conference, so please help us spread the word to those who might be interested.

The Hui will be opened by Conservation Minister Hon Dr Nick Smith, with keynote presentations from paramount chief Sir Tumu te Heuheu Tukino of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Sir Mark Solomon of Ngai Tahu.

The press release says, “…recent Treaty of Waitangi land settlements in New Zealand and the granting of access and land-use rights to Indigenous groups in Australia has highlighted the need for Indigenous leaders and people at all levels of parks management to share knowledge and experiences of how best to co-govern and co-manage land.”

As we have long said, now that the latest “full and final” settlements are coming to an end, co-management is the new focus for the grievance industry. The full release is HERE.

Quotable Quote

“Change is not always progress…. A fever of newness had been everywhere confused with the spirit of progress.” – Henry Ford (in Democracy and its Discontents by Boorstin)

The pearl of wisdom is particularly relevant today. Few of the Arab Spring uprisings have resulted in better government.

5PM polls

Last week we asked: Do you think that John Banks being found guilty of filing a false electoral return will harm ACT’s chances of retaining the seat of Epsom at the 20 September election?

On this readers are equally divided.  50% said Yes and 50% NO.

Those who voted yes reflected the view of Peter who said,Yes, because of the cumulative effect of the lack of integrity shown by several ACT leaders and senior representatives over the last 5 years. New Zealander’s are forgiving but only up to a point.”

Ian’s comment reflected the No vote. “You vote for the Party not the man.”

Last Monday Banks announced he was resigning effective last Friday (the 13th). Today’s Sunday, and life has moved on.

We doubt the Banks matter will do any more damage to an already damaged party. What is clear is that National will gift Epsom to ACT, and National will be able to call on at least 1 ACT MP come 21 September, and possibly more depending on how ACT campaigns. The general view is that ACT is likely to poll between 2-3% and have 2 or 3 MPs.

With the debate about taxpayer funding of the America’s Cup in the headlines – Team NZ say they have sponsors lined up for next year but need government funding to tide them over – this week we ask:

Do you think the government should provide further funds to Team NZ for the America’s cup?. The options are: No, Yes, Yes (but as a loan).

To vote, visit www.5pm.org.nz and look on the sidebar.

5PM Voting Booth

Many thanks to those who have already voted in our current policy proposals which are:

*“That MMP be abolished and replaced with First Past the Post.”

* “That Section 19ZB of the Local Electoral Act 2001 be amended to include the public’s right to demand a binding poll where a council is proposing to grant voting rights to unelected representatives.”

*“That a NOTA (none of the above) voting option be included on ballot papers in local and central government elections, with the effect that should NOTA gain the most votes, the election nominations would be re-opened and another election held.”

*“That foreign entities and foreigners (individuals who are neither New Zealand citizens nor permanent residents) should be taxed 10% of the value of New Zealand property purchases with the funds raised being offered as low interest loans to NZ resident first home buyers?”

Votes may be cast at the Voting Booth on the 5PM website HERE.

The 5PM Facebook Page

We have posted many of your John Banks comments on the 5PM Facebook page HERE.

Please don’t forget to help us spread the message about 5PM!

Regards,

Frank and Muriel Newman
P.S. Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to others!