Friday, January 29, 2010

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:

All posts on Urban Design here and here.

    “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.”

Labels: , , ,

7 Comments:

Blogger Owen McShane said...

The Tag groups are stacked to give the EDS what they want.
Townsend and Grimes will be outvoted.

Alan Dormer Chaired the Tag 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 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 BRT document "Turning Gain into Pain" p106

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.(9)

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.


9 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 and 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.


Papakura (with their Act Mayor) refused to contribute 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.

1/29/2010 09:07:00 am  
Blogger Owen McShane said...

I am not sure it is business as usual.
I now realise that I took too much for granted during the first round and suggest that we all need to give assistance to Alan Dormer, Arthur Grimes, Connal Townsend and Stephen Selwood.

And then make submissions to the Select Committee in support etc.

1/29/2010 10:08:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Oops. Thanks. I've amended the update/

1/29/2010 10:23:00 am  
Anonymous Sinner said...

people,
particularly those on low incomes and with few resources, and is inequitable


Why the fuck should we or anyone care about "people, especially those on low incomes" not to mention those with few resources.

Why the fuck especially should we care about it being inequitable?

if you're productive, if you've got assets, then you can have a house.

if you're not, you don't deserve one. Garages or caravans are better than tents I guess - but NZ"s problem is that far too few people are living in tents, garages, and caravans, rather than too many!

1/29/2010 11:35:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

@Sinner: Actually, Sinner, one of NZ's problems -- or at least one of mine -- is people like you.

So if you're serious about what you post here, then kindly piss off and take it elsewhere.

And if you're not, then grow the fuck up.

1/29/2010 12:14:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Sinner

If the market for housing and accomodation was left to itself the costs would decline. There would be more options available, especially for the people who have restricted wealth. Everyone would be better off.

The victims of all the bureaucratic coercion and artificial restriction presently unleashed throughout NZ end up being trapped in a morass of despair and poverty where they are preyed upon by yet more bureaucrats doing everying possible to keep them there.

Then along come people like you to exhibit the charmless hate you've just demonstrated. Does it make you feel superior to sneer at someone you perceive as occupying an inferior situation to yourself? Guess it must be the case that it does. I'll remember that when I discover you in straightened circumstances. Believe me, for you that situation is likely not that far off.

LGM

1/30/2010 08:39:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Owen

Thanks for the clarification and update.

I was very interested in building houses at one time. With all the regulators and planners and all their nonsense I can't be bothered any more. There are far better ways to spend ones precious time than dealing with people who deserve nothing better than the knout. One day it would be nice to see these vermin consigned to the dustbin. I'm not holding my breath though.

Best advice to a young couple remains, leave NZ as soon as you can. Don't look back. You are not going to be able to have a decent standard of living there.

LGM

1/30/2010 08:45:00 am  

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