Friday, 19 January 2007

An urban sprawl junket for Heatley

NZ HERALD: National takes aim at house prices
The National Party is about to tackle the Government over the rocketing price of housing, and is spending $10,000 on an overseas study of methods to solve the problem it is creating

National's housing spokesman, Phil Heatley, is going to the United States and Britain to study ways of resolving the predicament of steeply rising house prices blocking many people from owning a home. The average home now costs about seven times the average annual income... He is visiting Houston, Dallas and Washington DC, then going to the International Housing Conference in London to hear speakers talk about how to solve urban sprawl, deal with planning issues and end the divide between rural and urban areas.
What a nice trip for Phil, but a tax-paid overseas junket really isn't necessary. A helpful 'Not PC' correspondent who's read our archives on the subject has the answers for which Phil is seeking (thanks AB):
Here's the solution: get rid of fiat money, get rid of zoning, don't fight so-called sprawl and let people free to develop according to demand, and let development "end the divide between rural and urban areas" by having the council-imposed 'Urban Wall' removed.

A cheque for $10,000 to be made out to the Libertarianz, please.
In short, sprawl is good. Don't fight it.

LINK: Some Auckland mayors realise ring-fencing the city is 'unsustainable' - Not PC (Aug, 2006)
Sustainable cities are unaffordable cities - Not PC (July, 2006)
Dream of home ownership is just that - Not PC (Aug, 2006)

RELATED: Urban Design, Politics-NZ, Politics-National


  1. Abolishing taxes, levies, and rates would help a hell of an lot, too, as you full well know.

  2. Whilst I largely concur that Heatley's trip sounds very much like a waste of money, I am skeptical that deregulating to allow sprawl would have a stunning effect on house prices.

    Putting aside the fact that as an architect I believe firmly in the logic and value of design as opposed to chaos, permission to develop in areas zoned for other activities addresses only one of a large number of factors affecting property price at the moment (as I'm sure you well know PC) and brings with it a number of attendant problems, as we have thrashed out previously.

    I think it is of great importance that those of us within the design community with a strong belief in the value and necessity of good design continue to oppose urban sprawl.


  3. I think it is of great importance that those of us within the design community with a strong belief in the value and necessity of good design continue to oppose urban sprawl.

    And the winner of Most Fatuous Comment on Not PC This Year goes to...

    Seriously, WTF IS WRONG WITH "URBAN SPRAWL"?!!! What is wrong with people building a house, buying a house and living wherever they want to live?

    Is grass preservation more important than affordable housing?

    Is relocating the cows just too traumatic for them?

    And please, for the love of God, WTF does "the value and necessity of good design" have against nice quarter acre bungalows?

    We are talking about rendering thousands of people unable to afford their own homes because the alternative displeases your sense of aesthetics?!!!!!!!!!

  4. Blair - you might have your precious titties in a tangle over the wrong issue, my son.

    Urban Design as a discipline is less involved with purely aesthetic concerns, and deals with more widely functional aspects of towns and cities.

    It's just about beer-time in the office now, but I will be very happy to expand on exactly what I think is 'wrong' with the idea of unrestricted urban expansion later this weekend.


  5. I've yet to hear anyone who is unable to afford a home banging on about the evils of "unrestricted urban expansion".

  6. I am an agricultural worker living in a very remote part of Northland. I enjoy my work and would like to continue what I'm doing into the forseeable future but I would also evetually like to own my own house (I currently rent). The problem I face is that (due to government regulations) I cannot buy a a piece of dirt around here of less than 10 acres. I want only a quarter acre - a fortieth of what I need/can afford. The farmer I work for would happily sell me a quarter acre (willing seller /willing buyer) but 10 acres takes too much producive land from him. The result is that although there is a dearth of farm workers here and I am doing a useful and constructive job, I will have to move on as there is no long term future if I am forced to rent forever. Urban sprawl doesn't come into it, my nearest neighbour is over 2kms away, but the nanny state rules apparantly.


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