Guest post by Hugh Pavletich
New Zealand has a land area of 268,000 square kilometres and a population of about 4.57 million, with an urban density of near 1,900 people per square kilometre .
Near 1,800 square kilometres of New Zealand’s land area is currently urbanised … about 0.70% of the total land area.
Back in early 2012, as people were driven further and further out of the metros for affordable land and housing, Landcare Research at Lincoln University found there to have been an explosion of 'ultra-light urban development’ (called lifestyle blocks). The number of lifestyle blocks had increased from 100,000 units to about 175,000 units over the preceding 13 years … an increase of nearly 6,000 units per year.
These lifestyle blocks are a creation of council planners, generally required by them to be at least 4.0 hectares ( 10.0 acres ) each. This suggests the minimum annual land requirement for new” planners units” is about 24,000 hectares or 240 square kilometres each year.
The current land area of Christchurch is about 185 square kilometres and Auckland about 540 square kilometres. The land area of Christchurch would only meet a year of land supply for lifestyle blocks before expanding. The Auckland land area would meet about two years of lifestyle-block land-supply requirements before breaking forth.
In this Mayor Len Brown of Auckland and his “political soul mate” Mayor Lianne Dalziel of Christchurch see opportunity to expand their fiefdoms. It is understood they are now working with their in-house planners on their “No People – No Problems” Grand Plan so that people and businesses are driven permanently out of the cities … and a quarter of New Zealand’s land area is covered with ultra-light urban development / lifestyle blocks as soon as possible.
In a joint statement on progress to date with the No People –No Problems Grand Plan, both Mr Brown and Ms Dalziel said that “fantastic” progress is being made (there are 350 “fantastic”s within the short Grand Plan, demolition plans do not need to be too lengthy) indeed, fantastically better than expected.
Lianne Dalziel said they are pumping Christchurch Rates annually at 8.5% for the foreseeable future. Her Auckland counterpart Len Brown is even more successful with a 9.9% annual increase.
“I’m a bit peeved Len is beating me with the higher rates increase” said Ms Dalziel “but I have been out of the country on junkets, returning occasionally for a change of clothes. I know I could have cranked the rates more than 10% if I had actually been here” she added.
In a conciliatory response, Auckland Mayor Len Brown commended Ms Dalziel for her asset-stripping programme and deliberate avoidance of dealing with the bureaucratic blot issues.
“It is a great credit to her” said Mr Brown.
“We must be ‘comrades in arms’ in work together to look after our public service union mates” said Mr Brown, adding: “After all, they financially prop up our Party and tell us how to think.”
Both Ms Dalziel and Mr Brown are currently holding “under the radar screen” discussions with Labour’s “plant” in the National Party, Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.
This follows the outstanding development skills he displayed following the earthquake events.
Gerry Brownlee is seen as the right person to head up Labour’s Kiwibuld.
Ms Dalziel said she constantly declines invitations from the TV media to explain herself. In any event, she is not in the country long enough to do so.
If Mr Brownlee does a good job and nationalises the building industry, the thinking is that Kiwibuild could be followed by Kiwifood, as the food distribution industry is nationalized … Venezuela style .
“Gerry has the charisma required for this sensitive political work” said Mayors Brown and Dalziel within the joint statement.
Hugh Pavletich is a Christchurch entrepreneur, the owner of website Performance Urban Planning and the co-author of the Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.
This post, it needn’t be said, is satire.