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NZ Housing Crisis: Local Government Still Confused


Hugh Pavletich
Performance Urban Planning
New Zealand

13 October 2014

Early 2007, Local Government New Zealand and the New Zealand Planning Institute, expressed concern about housing affordability … International Housing Availability Survey … stating …

“The New Zealand Planning Institute® strongly supports Demographia’s call for planners, local councils and developers to collaborate more proactively and effectively on the provision of an adequate supply of affordable new residential housing.”

Some seven and a half years later … 10th October 2914 … Local Government New Zealand issues a media release … LGNZ seeks collaboration on housing affordability … stating …

“LGNZ seeks collaboration on housing affordability.”

“Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) says local government, central government and the business sector need to work together with communities to address housing affordability across New Zealand.”

Local Government New Zealand is still lost … and confused.

During that time, Local Government New Zealand with the New Zealand Planning Institute, have done nothing about the housing issue.

Absolutely nothing.

Remarkably, the latest media release from Local Government New Zealand, states that this organisation still finds this simple issue … complex.

Late October 2012, following the release of the New Zealand Productivity Commission Housing Affordability Report April 2012, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English on behalf of the Government (access via www.PerformanceUrbanPlanning.org ) made it clear the focus is on …

• Land supply
• Infrastructure financing
• Process … and …
• Construction costs

Local Government New Zealand makes no mention of this within its 10 October 2014 media release noted above.

There have been ten Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Surveys.

The Introduction to this year's Survey is contributed by Alain Bertaud, former Principal Planner with the World Bank and currently a senior researcher at the Stern School, New York University.

Within the Introduction to this year’s Survey, Alain Bertaud had this to say …

“It is time for planners to abandon abstract objectives and to focus their efforts on two measurable outcomes
that have always mattered since the growth of large cities during the 19th century’s industrial revolution:
workers’ spatial mobility and housing affordability.”

“As a city develops, nothing is more important than maintaining mobility and housing affordability.”

New Zealand economists corroborated in organising and financing a three City New Zealand Speaking Tour late July by Alain Bertaud, accompanied by Marie-Agnes, his wife and fellow researcher at NYU Stern School.

The important tour was a great success, where on an individual basis, many responsible planners and Local Government employees participated.

Alas … Local Government New Zealand and the New Zealand Planning Institute had no part to play with this important visit by Alain and Marie-Agnes Bertaud.

It was all too complex for these organisations to corroborate.

Local Government is well known as The Great Inertia Sector … where even the simple is complex.

In getting solutions in place on this “nonsense issue” of housing affordability, Central Government in dealing with Local Government needs to employ the General George Washington Management Method.

Washington made a point of employing as his Batman (servant), the thickest person he could find in his Army. Washington ran his draft speeches and orders past his Batman first. If the Batman didn’t understand them, they were re-drafted until he did.

It is hoped Prime Minister John Key asks LGNZ President Lawrence Yule … “Following 10 Annual Demographia Surveys, what part of 3.0 don’t you understand ?”

Mr Key has been excessively tolerant with Mr Yule to date.


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