Category Archives: Howick News

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).

Government to Work with Council on Improving Aucklands Transport System

At last …. the Government and Auckland Council have agreed to work together to identify a preferred approach for developing Aucklands transport system over the next 30 years.

This project involves officials from the Ministry of Transport, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency, the Treasury and the State Services Commission working together over the next year to test options for how Auckland’s transport system could develop.

Officials will recommend a preferred approach to the Government and Auckland Councillors for their consideration.  

For more information, and to view the project terms of reference, see the Ministry of Transport website.

Registering Your Dog

Registering your dog

If you live in the Auckland Council area, you need to register your dog with us each year. Registration runs from 1 July to 30 June the following year.

You could risk receiving a fine if you don’t.

Once registered you will receive an annual reminder (sent to your last known address) to re-register your dog/s.

  • You need to register your puppy before it turns three months old.
  • Register your dog at the address where it spends the most time.
  • You need to microchip your dog within two months of being registered.
  • If you are under 16 years of age, you need to register the dog under your parent or guardian’s name.

Include with your application:

Click here to find out what your dog registration fees are.
 

Reducing Erosion on Auckland's Coasts

Auckland Council is carrying out studies to aim at reducing erosion on Auckland’s coasts.

 

“The coasts of New Zealand were once clothed in native vegetation”,says an environmental spokesperson at Auckland Council .

 

“The plant communities would have ranged from highly salt-tolerant species, typical of estuaries, dunes and rocky cliffs, to hardy ferns, shrubs and trees, typical of coastal broad-leaf forest.” 

 

“Coastal forests, clifftops, banks and dunes are some of New Zealand’s most threatened ecosystems.

 

Coastal forests have been reduced by over 90 per cent from their original extent, and less than 10 per cent of New Zealand’s sand dunes remain unmodified.

 

Good vegetation cover on land bordering the sea can help coastal ecosystems by:

  • providing habitats for native birds and animals
  • preventing erosion of soil and sand by wind and water
  • shading out invasive weeds
  • preserving the natural character of our coastal environment.

Coastal planting requires an ongoing commitment to weed management until the plants have successfully establish. You need to remove weeds from around plants for 2-3 years, or until the native plants are high enough to over-top the weeds and crowd them out.”

 

For planting advice, see Auckland Council’s series of coastal planting guides:

Auckland City Litter Laws

The Auckland City Litter Laws are administered and enforced by Auckland Council.

They say that we are all responsible under the Resource Management Act 1991 for avoiding, reducing or remedying negative impacts on the environment, caused by our actions.

They say; “We may issue an infringement notice, or environmental fine, when a person or organisation breaches the act in any of the following ways:

  • breach of resource consent conditions
  • breach of district plan rules
  • breach of an abatement notice
  • deposit of litter.

If you receive an environmental infringement notice, you must pay your fee or fine within 28 days of the date the infringement notice was issued, unless you write to us with information about the infringement notice.

 

If you haven’t written to us or paid your fee, we may lodge your infringement with the Department of Courts. We have the authority to seek payment from you for the fine, plus extra costs.”

 

To find out how to pay your fee or fine, enter the property address where the infringement was issued in the search field below: