Task Force to clear the way for more affordable homes [updated]
I’m almost speechless. Here’s why:
“Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced two new taskforces to look at Resource Management Act (RMA) reform, issues surrounding urban design, metropolitan urban limits and housing affordability. . .
“ ‘I don’t think we have the incentives right for developers to do the best urban design in our largest cities. There are also questions about the policy of metropolitan urban limits, the effect they have on section prices and the negative flow-on effects to the broader economy. . . ,” he said.
See what I mean? I’m astonished.
After seventeen years of having to endure the Resource Management Act, after a decade of evidence showing that restricting the supply of urban land is sending house prices through the roof, there’s finally a “taskforce” to “look at” it.
Slow progress. But progress.
“The Urban [Task Force] will be chaired by barrister Alan Dormer and includes planning consultant Adrienne Young Cooper, research economist and consultant Arthur Grimes, architect and urban designer Graeme McIndoe, Chief Executive of the Property Council of New Zealand Connal Townsend and Ernst Zollner of the New Zealand Transport Agency. It has a report date of 31 March 2010.”
I don’t know much about the others on that group (anyone able to shed any light?), but Alan Dormer and Arthur Grimes have both been upfront about their opposition to the RMA and to metropolitan urban limits respectively—Dormer’s submission on the original RMA Bill back in 1991, for example, was a cracker, and Grimes’ Centre for Housing Research has said very cogent things on housing unaffordability and the reasons for it.
That’s astonishing. So something might even come of this. Not RMA repeal, it’s still too early for that, but this could be a very good baby step.
So I’m excited. Excited in a guarded fashion, because this is being announced by the same chap who calls the RMA “far-sighted environmental legislation, and who said just before the election that he intends to “review” the Resource Management Act to, quote, “look at how companies win the right to take private land.”
So while I’m still getting my composure and my breath back, and wondering whether to be excited or concerned, read a little about the issues from previous posts to see what’s at stake:
- ‘Smart Growth’ and the coming ‘Housing-Led Recovery’ – or, to put it another way: ‘Oxymorons for Morons’ – Oct 2009
- House price inflation on the rise again? – Aug 2009
- Planners still stitching up home-owners: NZ cities world’s second-most unaffordable - NOT PC, Jan 2009
- Tauranga planners' spin spiked by housing researchers - NOT PC, July 2008
- Why Houston housing has avoided boom and bust – NOT PC, May 2008
- WARNING: White noise on housing - NOT PC, Feb 2008
- Message to planners: Don't fence me in! – NOT PC, Feb 2007
- 'Smart Growth' is not Green – NOT PC, Oct 2007
- Cactus is wrong – NOT PC, Aug 2007
- 'Sustainable' cities are unaffordable cities – NOT PC, June 2007
- More sprawling arguments – NOT PC, Feb, 2007
- Envy is making houses unaffordable – NOT PC, Feb 2007
- NZ Housing affordability "in crisis" says report – NOT PC, Jan 2006
- Some Auckland mayors realise ring-fencing the city is 'unsustainable' – NOT PC, Aug 2006
- Sprawl: A compact history- NOT PC, June 2006
- East Germany in East Auckland – NOT PC, June 2005
- Frank Lloyd Wright: Broadacre City – NOT PC, Nov 2005
- Decentralisation, and those who oppose it – NOT PC, Dec 2006
- Sprawl is good; regulation is not – NOT PC, Nov 2005
- Building slums while banning growth – NOT PC, June 2005
“The [advisory] groups are stacked to give Gary Taylor’s Environmental Defence Society (EDS)what they want.
“Townsend and Grimes will be outvoted.
“Alan Dormer Chaired the [advisory] group for the first round but everything was hugely diluted in the Select Committee by submissions from EDS etc.
“So I am not so optimistic - much as I would like to be.
“If he was serious why put Adrienne Cooper on BOTH groups.
“Subject: The Cooper History
“It is worth noting that when I wrote my report for the Reserve Bank in which I predicted all these negative outcomes; the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) appointed Hill Young Cooper ‘to prove it wrong.’
“They accepted the commission and Adrienne Cooper and David Hill wrote a truly disgraceful report.*
“She has been a strong supporter of Smart Growth ever since.
“From the Business Roundtable document ‘Turning Gain into Pain’:
The Growth Strategy recognises that with intensification house prices would
be higher than otherwise. This acknowledgment seems to be an about-face by
the ARC and other councils that previously dismissed Owen McShane's view
that restrictions on the supply of land for urban development were putting
upward pressure on house prices.**
Policy-induced increases in house prices lead to higher interest rates and distort consumption and investment patterns.
The policy would adversely affect housing options available to people,
particularly those on low incomes and with few resources, and is inequitable.
It could be expected to accentuate overcrowding and reliance on
accommodation provided by caravans and garages.
3.6 For these reasons, the Growth Strategy provides an unsound basis for the Transport Strategy. In particular, the emphasis placed on urban intensification and reliance on passenger transport services is mistaken and should be reconsidered by the Forum.
**Cooper, Adrienne Young and Hill, David (1996), A Local Authority Response to the McShane Report, a report commissioned by the Auckland Regional Council, Auckland City Council, Franklin
District Council, Manukau City Council, North Shore City Council, Rodney District Council
and Waitakere City Council, Hill Young Cooper Ltd, Newmarket. ** McShane, Owen (1996), The Impact of the Resource Management Act on the 'Housing and Construction' Components of the Consumer Price Index: A 'Think Piece', a report prepared for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Wellington.
“Papakura (with their ACT Mayor David Hawkins) refused to contribute to the Hill Young Cooper report, the saying surely the ARC should ask for a review, not instruct the consultants to prove me wrong.
“The report does not turn up on the web - on the wrong side of the Digital Time line.
But Arthur Grimes should be able to get it from the ARC library.”