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Draft Greater ChCh Urban Strategy Destructive

Demographia

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“Draft Greater Christchurch Urban Strategy A Destructive Distopian Fantasy”

The Draft Strategy released today, in contravention of the intent of the environmental effects based Resource Management Act, attempts to revert back to the repealed Town & Country Planning approach, by micro planning the future of Christchurch and surrounding local authority areas.

“Whilst the rest of the world is working towards opening up urban markets, the local politicians and planners appear hell bent on taking us back to Stone Age Town & Country Planning. This exercise in power and control can only worsen our problems” said Mr Hugh Pavletich, co author of the Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

Mr Pavletich said that if citizens wish to see “Bob Parkers vision of the future” they should inspect the intensive developments between Bealey Avenue and Edgeware Road.

“He’s fantasizing if he thinks New Zealanders are going to live like South Koreans, the British or the East Germans, where a million units of the slab developments have been abandoned since reunification back in 1989”

The Demographia Survey of 100 major urban areas of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand released earlier in the year, found that Christchurch house prices at around six times annual household incomes are “severely unaffordable”. The international standard for “affordable” is no more than three times annual household incomes.

“Bob Parker studiously ignores this crucial issue and other relevant ones too. I doubt he even understands the meaning of sustainability” said Hugh Pavletich.

Globally these metro plans are under serious threat or being observed more on the breach. Measure 37 has effectively reversed Metro Planning in Oregon State (Portland) with further initiatives in five States on the ballots this week. Melbourne 2030 is constantly being breached and the Liberals have promised to discard it if elected. The recently imposed Greater Brisbane Strategy is proving unresponsive to demand, as is Sydney and Perth, where house prices have inflated by in excess of 30% over the past 12 months.

“Its pleasing to observe the huge shift in thinking and focus on opening up land supply that’s now occurring in Australia. Even planning academics are recognising the urgent need for this” said Mr Pavletich.

Hon Chris Carter, New Zealand Housing Minister in recent speeches to local government and the Real Estate Institute, clearly stated that the Government is now focused on exploring solutions in making more land and housing supply available.

In 1991 New Zealand had the highest home ownership rate in the developed world at 74%. By 2001 this had slumped to 68% and today’s estimate is 65%. The latest Census figures due for release 9 December will clarify the situation.

“In human terms, this means that 120,000 New Zealanders and mainly the young have been denied the opportunity of homeownership over the past five years, some 350,000 since 1991. These figures are appalling” said Mr Pavletich, adding “We are only now beginning to understand the costs in social, environmental and economic terms”.

The Centre for Housing Research of Aotearoa New Zealand (CHRANZ) released a Report by Dr Arthur Grimes of Motu Research earlier this year, which clearly found that strangling the supply of urban land, is the core problem. A follow up Report of Nelson, Marlbourough & Tasman found that home ownership within these regions had slumped to the mid 40%, well below those of Hispanics, Negroes and other minority groups in the United States. CHRANZ is expected to release a further Motu Research Report on Auckland early in 2007.

Less that 1.4% of New Zealand is urbanized and it is estimated that less than a total of 2% would be urbanised over the next fifty years, if normal development is allowed to occur on the urban fringes. This would mean that a further one hundredth of one percent of New Zealand’s land area would be urbanised annually.

“Land supply isn’t even a real issue. It’s just a political beat up so that underemployed local politicians and planners can grasp more power and control for themselves’ said Mr Pavletich.

Mr Pavletich is of the view that the “time and money wasting” Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy structure must be shut down and that local politicians and planners should focus on their own areas of responsibility. He said they need to start working constructively with Central Government to open up land supply as quickly as possible and aim to get Christchurch and surrounding areas housing affordability back to international affordable levels of three times household incomes, within a reasonable period of ten years.

ENDS

Hugh Pavletich

Co author Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey

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