Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Mike Hosking: Refreshing to see political unity over housing


Surely in these dark and troubled times, a level of cooperation from unlikely foes has to be welcomed. 

The deal done between the Government and National over housing at last addresses, at least in part, one of the biggest obstacles to supply. The councils. 

We have, for years, argued around all the other issues that prevent supply growth in housing. That includes labour, materials, and interest rates. But above and beyond it all, is the councils and their determination to hang onto to land come hell or high water, or at least make the process so difficult people simply give up. 

And so, the new Statement on Urban Development which is designed to replace the Resource Management Act, but hasn’t really seen any action, is being backed by both parties. They are forcing the councils' hands and not a moment too soon. 

It started, you might remember, when Sir Bill English was Prime Minister. He threatened, particularly Auckland Council, over access to land and threatened to legislate. But like all before him he never actually pulled the trigger. 

The council are the biggest criminals of all in the so-called housing crisis. They have allowed mechanisms to persist where getting things done are nigh on impossible while sending you broke trying, and while also insisting on a regime of inspections that costs a fortune. And when it turns out the houses built are crap anyway, they run for the hills. 

The new deal, among other things, flips the onus. The builder doesn’t have to prove their project needs to be done, the person objecting needs to prove it shouldn’t. That helps, but it's not the total answer. People will still suffer nimbyism. 

The new default is three stories up and three units per block of land. The working theory is over the next handful of years somewhere between 50,000 to 100,000 homes will be built. 

The current issues of supply, labour, and costs of both aren't solved. But as the Government found from their historically botched Kiwibuild, housing is a many faceted issue. And a lot of stuff needs addressing before you get the sort of results you are after. 

One thing I worry about is the quality. Quantity is only good if it doesn’t fall over. We run the risk in the mad rush of building yet more rubbish and creating yet more leaky homes. 

But as far as things that need addressing go, cooperation around getting councils out of their fiefdom mentality and into line is a major box ticked. 

A good day at the Office of Cooperation. 

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.


Janine said...

I totally disagree. I can now see where the term" drain the swamp came from"and why the US citizens had had enough!

We have David Seymour who has managed to clamber up the side of the swamp
only to lie gasping at the edge, still unable to find his way home. Judith has been sucked down again, seduced by the swamp monster JA. The rest are just eternal swamp creatures destined to lurk there forever.

An opposition party is supposed to "oppose". There is no reason National could not keep this housing policy up their sleeve and bring it forward at the next election. Who wants that ugly sort of housing anyway? No wonder people are leaving Auckland. Its a bit like people leaving New York in droves.

Chris Bishop asked me why we weren't voting National and I replied" leave the covid response for Labour to sort out, push the democracy issues". What does he do? Go full on covid, covid and more covid and then they join forces with a party that probably 40% of us are completely disenchanted with.

They seem to have lost their intelligence, if they had any.

Jonathan Seal said...

Mr Hoskings, while I agree that the status quo regarding Auckland ( and elsewhere) is a godawful mess, a “ one suit fits all people” is certainly not the answe., Especially if it is commanded and controlled from Wellington, who, by your own admission, is inhabited by legions of distant disconnected grey beings, incapable of original thought, and driven only by their need for continued existence.

Charles said...

I lived in Auckland over 40 years ago and it was reasonably pleasant. One could drive to the Domain or the Art Gallery on a Sunday, park without difficulty and enjoy the day. Now of course it is a whole new situation. Auckland has become a hell hole that visiting requires a pocket full of valium. Pretty much all of its woes can be attributable to uncontrolled immigration. The place is like a fish tank. Allow ever more fish to join the fray and one inevitably they end up gasping at the top trying to escape. The solution is obvious and yet no politician is willing to discuss it. Does NZ really want or need ugly concrete blocks, row upon row with their tiny windows that one sees in places like Britain, America and Russia? Building god knows how many more houses to hold people we don't need places a huge burden on our infrastructure. It is simplistic assume this will end the problem.