Addressing Auckland's Acute Housing Crisis

With 800 additional arrivals coming into Auckland every week we are certainly facing a housing crisis…

http://transportblog.co.nz/2016/02/10/aucklands-migration-boom/

That’s 40,000 additional people choosing to live in Auckland 

- 10,000 new homes needed

- 12,000 additional cars coming onto our roads

- 3 or 4 new schools will be needed

- additional hospital capacity needed

- etc….
We are currently building around 9,000 new dwellings per year and with an estimated shortage of 20,0000 homes, we are going to be playing `catch up’ for a number of years.

The most sensible solution is to intensify … build up as well as out (not everyone wants to live in the outer suburbs) 

However we have a well-organized group of NIMBY’s who have a fear of intensification who recently high-jacked a council meeting and forced some of our (weak-kneed) Councillors to vote against the Unitary Plan that provides for greater intensification.

Here is what Dr Sudhvir Singh of Generation Zero says about the subject:

`Auckland urgently needs more housing choices if we are to address our acute housing affordability crisis and provide the kind of living spaces that our diverse and ageing population needs. That’s why the Unitary Plan, a Government requirement which provides the framework for where future development can take place, is so important.

Groups that have always been opposed to a quality compact city, such as Auckland 2040, are once again trying to water down the Unitary Plan through opposition to a few small amendments to the plan’s proposed zoning laws.

These groups, representing a small but well organised number of existing homeowners from certain suburbs, have now chosen to poke holes in the process of agreeing on the plan. But this is just the latest argument they use to disguise the fact that they just don’t want our city to develop at all – a recklessly irresponsible position when we are faced with both a housing affordability crisis and the exciting economic and social stimulus of close to one million new Aucklanders arriving in the next 30 years.’

Click here to read the rest of the article 

Auckland Named Number 3 As Best Place to Live in the World

Auckland has just been named number 3 in the World for `best place to live in the World’ according to a Mercer study.

It says; “Auckland in New Zealand was the highest ranking English-speaking city in the survey, in third place, followed by Vancouver in fifth. Australian cities also perform very highly in the survey, with Sydney 10th and Melbourne 15th. 

Here is the top 100 `best places to live’ in the world

Source: Mercer quality of living city survey

Rank 2015 City Country
1 Vienna Austria
2 Zurich Switzerland
3 Auckland New Zealand
4 Munich Germany
5 Vancouver Canada
6 Dusseldorf Germany
7 Frankfurt Germany
8 Geneva Switzerland
9 Copenhagen Denmark
10 Sydney Australia
11 Amsterdam Netherlands
12 Wellington New Zealand
13 Berlin Germany
14 Bern Switzerland
15 Toronto Canada
15 Melbourne Australia
17 Ottawa Canada
18 Hamburg Germany
19 Luxembourg Luxembourg
19 Stockholm Sweden
21 Brussels Belgium
21 Perth Australia
23 Montreal Canada
24 Stuttgart Germany
24 Nurnberg Germany
26 Singapore Singapore
27 Adelaide Australia
28 San Francisco US
28 Canberra Australia
30 Helsinki Finland
30 Oslo Norway
32 Calgary Canada
33 Dublin Ireland
34 Boston US
35 Honolulu US
36 Brisbane Australia
37 Paris France
38 Lyon France
39 Barcelona Spain
39 London UK
41 Milan Italy
42 Lisbon Portugal
43 Chicago US
44 New York US
44 Tokyo Japan
46 Seattle US
46 Kobe Japan
46 Edinburgh UK
49 Los Angeles US
49 Yokohama Japan
51 Washington DC US
52 Madrid Spain
53 Birmingham UK
53 Rome Italy
55 Glasgow UK
56 Pittsburgh US
57 Philadelphia US
58 Osaka Japan
59 Aberdeen UK
60 Leipzig Germany
61 Minneapolis US
62 Nagoya Japan
63 Dallas US
64 Belfast UK
65 Houston US
66 Miami US
67 Atlanta US
68 St. Louis US
69 Prague Czech Republic
70 Detroit US
70 Hong Kong Hong Kong
72 Pointe-a-Pitre Guadeloupe
73 Seoul South Korea
74 San Juan Puerto Rico
75 Dubai United Arab Emirates
76 Ljubljana Slovenia
77 Budapest Hungary
78 Montevideo Uruguay
79 Vilnius Lithuania
79 Warsaw Poland
81 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
82 Bratislava Slovakia
83 Port Louis Mauritius
84 Taipei Taiwan
85 Durban South Africa
86 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
87 Athens Greece
88 Limassol Cyprus
89 Tallinn Estonia
90 Riga Latvia
91 Busan South Korea
92 Cape Town South Africa
93 Buenos Aires Argentina
94 Santiago Chile
95 Johannesburg South Africa
96 Panama City Panama
97 Victoria Seychelles
98 Zagreb Croatia
99 Wroclaw Poland
100 Taichung Taiwan

Kiwis Getting Arrested for Defaulting on Their Student Loan

Kiwis abroad have been warned that they may be arrested when they come home for Christmas for defaulting on their student loan.

 

In a statement IRD said a group of Australian-based Kiwis were on the NZ Customs Service alert list, meaning Inland Revenue would be notified on their arrival in the country.

 

However, it said the arrest warrants were in place “for only the most serious student loan default offenders”.

 

Inland Revenue Collections Manager Stuart Duff says those in serious default may not be able to leave New Zealand until they have a repayment scheme in place.

 

“Inland Revenue is urging Kiwis living overseas with unpaid student loan debt to get in contact with us to set up a repayment plan, particularly those thinking about heading home for Christmas.”

 

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the New Zealand Herald article

Couple Married Nearly 72 years

Audrey and Doug Attrill (not them in the pic), have been married nearly 72 years and are in the running to be New Zealand’s longest married couple.

 

The pair met 77 years ago at a local park near Mrs Attrill’s home in New Plymouth. Mr Attrill ended up doubling his future wife home on his bicycle.

 

“I thought he was a slight little guy and I was quite a tall girl, I didn’t think that much of it but then afterwards we used to see each other around and wave to each other, that sort of thing,” Mrs Attrill told The Bay of Plenty Times yesterday.

 

Mrs Attrill, 90, said her beau left school and worked at the Bank of Australasia for a year before being signed to the navy in 1941.

 

He was drafted to a ship in the Middle East and sent the occasional telegram to Mrs Attrill. Eventually he came home and the pair were married on May 1, 1944, at the St Joseph’s Catholic Church in the King Country.

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“We believed that marriage was a sacred thing and when we were married we automatically believed it was forever. We never thought of separation if things didn’t please us. A marriage is not a flash dress, a wedding cake, a big crown and a party, that is not what marriage is all about. That’s what young people think it is today. But it’s something more than that. Stick to the old values and you won’t go wrong.”

 

The search is on
Nominations are open to any married couple (either NZ citizen or NZ resident) and may be submitted by email admin@familyfirst.org.nz or by posting to Family First NZ, PO Box 276-133, Manukau City 2241.

 

Nominations will be taken until January 15, 2016 with the winners named on February 14, 2016 (Valentine’s Day) to coincide with National Marriage Week.

 

CLICK HERE to see more 

Auckland's Housing Affordability Under the Spotlight

Auckland’s housing affordability is currently under Auckland Council’s spotlight.  

Auckland Council will set a goal to bring down the ratio of median home purchase price-to-median household income to five-to-one by 2030. The ratio is currently almost 10-to-one. 

The new goal was a key recommendation made in the report Housing Supply, Choice and Affordability. The report was presented to the council’s Auckland Development Committee on 15 October 2015.

The committee agreed, in principle, to include the target in the forthcoming refresh of the Auckland Plan. It noted that the council needs to continue to work in partnership with the government if this housing affordability target were to be met. 

The committee also agreed to commission further analysis and advice on the issue of housing affordability in consultation with government agencies, to be completed in February 2016.

Chris Parker, Auckland Council chief economist and author of the report, welcomed the decision and the council’s ongoing commitment to tackling this issue. 

“Including the target to reduce the price to income ratio down to five-to-one in the Auckland Plan is a really positive step towards making housing more affordable,” Mr Parker says. 

“It will help shape and focus our thinking moving forward. It will provide us with a tangible, achievable goal to frame up the decisions the council needs to make to create the world’s most liveable city including affordable housing.”

Auckland Development Committee chair, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, says that the decision was very easy for the committee to make.

“Every councillor knows there are real challenges ahead of us in tackling Auckland’s very serious housing issue. The target is something real to keep us focused and, by setting a goal, we can continue to make every effort and use every lever to make homes more affordable.”

You can read full the report here. 

Auckland Council Maintains a Strong Credit rating

Strong credit rating reaffirmed for Auckland Council

Despite some strong criticism in some quarters, Auckland Council has retained its strong credit rating from international agency Moody’s Investors Service.

The agency has this week reaffirmed council’s stable Aa2 credit rating. This reflects the council’s ability to service its debt obligations, Group Chief Financial Officer Sue Tindal says.

But the council is not without its challenges, which Ms Tindal acknowledges.

“Auckland is experiencing its biggest population boost in more than 12 years and as a council we need to grow too,” she says.

“In the last year alone, 43,000 people decided to call Auckland home and, in response, we’ve seen demand for our services increase.

“Moody’s reaffirming our credit rating of a stable Aa2 is good news for Auckland and Aucklanders, but our work does not stop here.”

The council has a busy year ahead, with consultation on the 2016/17 Annual Plan beginning in 2016. This will be guided by the council’s Long-term Plan, which allows the city to establish clear borrowing and investment policies and provides a clear strategy for the next 10 years, Ms Tindal says.

Since 2010, when the eight former councils were amalgamated into one, Auckland’s total population has increased by 132,000 people.

In the last year alone, increased work volumes in consenting areas saw building consents up 6 per cent, building inspections rise 5 per cent, and resource consents increase 5.5 per cent. Bringing services in-house has also resulted in savings, such as in animal management, which produced a net saving of about $800,000 a year.

“Our financial strategy sets limits on the council’s borrowing to maintain debt at a sustainable level,” Ms Tindal says. “While total group debt is projected to reach $11.6 billion by 2025, it will still remain at a prudent level in comparison to our annual income of $5.4 billion, by 2025.”

The council considers this increase in debt to be appropriate on the basis that it is primarily driven by investment in new assets and the benefit of the expenditure is spread over time, thereby promoting inter-generational equity – costs are shared with those that benefit from the assets, she says.

 

Click here to read more 

New Double Decker Buses Arrive in East Auckland

East Aucklanders are the first to get the benefit of a new fleet of double decker buses, being rolled out from Wednesday 4 November.

Until now their use has been restricted to the Northern Busway, but on 4 November the first double-decker bus went into service in the Botany area.

Improved service

The first trip departed Botany Shopping Centre travelling to Britomart along the 500 Route. The service is being operated for Auckland Transport by Howick & Eastern Buses Ltd.

Sheryll Otway from Howick & Eastern says the company is very proud of this new addition to its fleet. 

“These buses have improved seating, USB charging points and in time will have on-board WiFi and infotainment systems.”

Auckland Transport General Manager AT Metro Mark Lambert says over the next few months double-deckers will become a regular sight in Auckland.

“Howick & Eastern will have their 15 running to the east, Ritchies will eventually have 15 crossing the harbour bridge and NZ Bus has plans for 23 buses. It’s an exciting time for bus users in Auckland.”

More Aucklanders taking the bus

Bus services in Auckland totalled 60.2 million passenger boardings for the 12 months to September, an annual increase of 5.7 per cent. 

 

Click here to view a video of the new double decker buses

Auckland Campgrounds

Auckland campgrounds in 26 regional parks provide Aucklanders with an abundance of summer holiday riches on their doorstep.
None are more affordable than camping at one of the 44 council campgrounds available at the city’s 26 regional parks.

And this summer’s El Nino conditions promise less rain and less heat than average, perfect conditions for camping.

 

However, one councillor warns locals to book early because there will be no ‘pay-on-the-day’ system this year.

 

Councillor Christine Fletcher, Chair of the council’s Parks and Recreational Services Committee, urges Auckland residents and visitors alike to enjoy the outdoors this summer, no matter what their budget is.

 

“You don’t need to travel away to enjoy perfect scenery, pristine beaches and a wide range of free and almost-free leisure activities,” she says. “There’s no better place in the world than Auckland in summer, but you must book to secure your spot.

 

“Our 26 regional parks boast 128 kilometres of coastline, 500 kilometres of walking tracks for all ages and abilities, 44 campgrounds and 21 bach escapes. All are within easy reach of the city and camping prices start at $4 for children and $8 for adults,” says Cr Fletcher.

 

Click here to make a booking (if you are not too late already).