Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Upton’s disaster continues to unwind

It now appears “all but confirmed" that the smug git and introducer of the RMA, Simon Upton, will be returning from his 18-year sinecure in Paris hosting OECD banquets to take up a sinecure here as Parliamentary Commissioner of the Environment.

This is in the same week that the Productivity Commission points out that "Aucklands housing and infrastructure issues illustrate the central failures of t[he] urban planning system” that Upton introduced and, as Environment Minister, tended unchanged for nine years.

The Commission puts it bluntly, suggesting problems faced in Auckland are like a cancer that has spread to other parts of the country:

“The example of Auckland illustrates some central failures of the current system.”

It sure as hell does.

“Auckland, home to a third of New Zealands people, has been and is still experiencing extremely fast population growth. Aucklanders, armed with the system’s planning tools, have struggled to respond to this pressure either by providing greater density in central parts or by expanding outwards at the city’s boundaries,” it says.
“While some specific interests have benefited, the resulting scarcity has driven a protracted land and house price spiral that has been socially and economically harmful. It has now adversely affected many parts of New Zealand and many New Zealanders.”

Restrictive land-use regulation including policies preventing intensification of historic suburbs surrounding the city centre, poor transport links, and, most of all, funding constraints, have all played a part…

The burden of a significant deterioration in housing affordability over the past 25 years has fallen most heavily on low-income households which are much more likely to be spending more than 30% of their income on housing than high-income households. “On this important criterion, New Zealand cities, particularly Auckland, have not performed well,” the Commission says.

“[A]s the Reserve Bank [has] noted, the underlying driver of higher prices is restrictive land-use regulation that prevents housing supply from responding efficiently to demand.”

Upton headed off to Paris 18 years ago saying he regretted nothing, that nothing “gnawed at his soul” - and this included his oversight (as Minister of Health) of the contaminated blood disaster that may have killed around 20 souls. So we have to wonder whether he even has one.

But he should be asked that question again with the current disaster in mind.


  1. I am horrified that the traitor Upton is being considered for any role apart from jail. One only needs to look at the role this lickspittle played in the Rio 92 and agenda 21. He has cost this country hundreds of millions of dollars to no gain. He should be hanging by his heels from a fence somewhere!

    Any polly that supports this weapons grade weasel will never get my vote.

    The whole thing should be defunded..

  2. I think forces are now underway that will see the RMA removed and replaced with something else within a decade. Just like communism, it's collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions - and one day it will suddenly be gone. In normal case law, the application of rules becomes increasingly clearer over time as precedents are set. Under the RMA it's the opposite, as anything deemed to have an "effect" on either persons or nature can cast doubt on whether an activity is permitted, and the list of what's deemed an "effect" grows over time with precedent - until you reach a stage where there's doubt about virtually everything. We're very close to that stage now, and the conflict between that and the political need for affordable housing is becoming increasingly clear. The issue will be what it it replaced with. I'm sure we're not going to get our ideal, and anything that's seen as being light-handed in protecting the environment won't fly politically, but anything that makes the rules clearer and not delay projects years and years in pointless bureaucracy (as I've just experienced) will be an improvement. Commercially, it is not the toughness of the rules per se that is the main problem, it's the lack of clarity on what is and isn't allowed, and the complexity, delay and cost this creates.

  3. This is right up there with Simon Power appointing "Justice" Binnie to review the David Bain fiasco.

  4. Upton's vapid report demanded NZ tax diesel because it "doesn't" and "that's bad" because other countries tax it, even though the reason NZ doesn't tax diesel (besides GST) is because of road user charges (i.e. the tax on petrol isn't some sort of environmental punishment like other countries, but is to pay for roads (and some is siphoned off for inefficient public transport)).

    The RMA was the first sign he was captured by the philosophy of environmentalism and has used it to assuage his once held belief in markets and free enterprise. Of course the role of Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment should be scrapped, but this is the country creating a Ministry of Vulnerable Children - having spent decades rewarding people for producing them.

  5. Arggh even at my most sinister I can not do better than the reports here on Upton .


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