Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Heather du Plessis-Allan: National should never have signed up to housing density

National can call it what they like, they can say it’s a refinement, they can say it’s a sensible change; they can say it’s more ambitious.

But it’s a back down. They’ve backed down on their support of the housing density law.

Good. They should never have signed up to that idea in the first place. It was stupid.

Just think about what it actually meant for you. Your neighbour could knock down their houseand replace it with up to three houses, each three storeys high- without consent. 

Whoever thought that was going to be popular with homeowners needs to have another think.

And here’s the thing: homeowners, or people who are ambitious to become homeowners, will account for a lot of National’s support base.

So they only annoyed their own voters. 

For probably the last week and a bit, I have been asking people what they think is going wrong for National.

Why National keeps making so many silly calls that they have to back down from, or tidy up, or clarify, that they run the risk of losing an unlosable election.

And I reckon I've got to the bottom of at least part of the problem.

They can’t tell us what they stand for, because they don’t know what they stand for.

Because I think there are some key people in the National Party who are actually embarrassed by the National Party.

They're embarrassed by the Nats’ traditional ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric; they're embarrassed by the Nats’ protection of home owners, they're embarrassed by ruling out the Maori Party in case they get labelled racists by the kookies on the left.

They’re essentially embarrassed to be conservatives, I think, or to be in a party with conservatives. 

Which would explain why National is basically indistinguishable from Labour right now. Because these people belong in Labour.

The Nats need to understand there’s nothing embarrassing about being conservative. 

It’s probably become something of a fuddy-duddy label in central Wellington and among hip young Gen Z-ers. 

But if you’re a home owner who is sick of watching ram raids and smash and grabs and you're among the 96 percent of NZ who don’t intend to vote for the Maori party, you probably don’t mind a bit of conservative politics. 

As much as having to back down sucks for National, it's good for them. 

Because it’s probably what their voters want- and aren’t embarrassed to say they want.

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.


Anonymous said...

No sh@t sherlock!!!

Anna Mouse said...

IMO they originally signed up to the stupid policy to look bi partisan at a period that politically they believed it was palatable.

With fresh eyes and a dose of non-political reality they see it like most other New Zealanders saw it. A grossly stupid and unnecessarily damaging to property owners house values.

Now of course they need to stop the flim,flammery and state conclusively what their voters and their swing voters want the hear.

They need to understand that there are voters out there that will categorically never vote National no matter what is promised.

This is what you get when instead of acting like politicians with policy you act like actors with an unfinished script.....known to us as identity politics.

Robert Arthur said...

Not just the 3 storeys anywhere but also 6 and more storey blocks on all boundaries anywhere within 800 metres of a transport centreor rail station. Very many close in suburb National voters stand to have their home lifestyle wrecked and the value of their property, for which many have made huge sacrifice, slashed as it becomes entombed in a sunless, view less canyon. Persons seeking a pleasant home property secure from threat are more or less forced into lifestyle blocks, the last thing we should be encouraging.
(The debate in Auckland was captured by those, often not owners, concerned about old character homes. For most persons, the least of their worry)

Anonymous said...

But it was worse than that. In the main centres it was up to siix stories and all without a carpark in sight. Nothing wrong with high density housing in the right place, but it's just plain stupid allowing it indiscriminately throughout conventional residential suburbs, screwing the living environment for all. And, that lack of parking, if that's not a recipe for social discord and accidents about to happen, what is? A case of dumb and dumber and why I, and many, are wary of Willis & Bishop - with their crossing the floor over the most ill-advised idea ever.

Also no thought also as to the wisdom of such developments in earthquake, liquefaction and tsunami locations, nor the cost to build such structures and their additional requirements; nor their carbon footprint. In two words - ignorant, inappropriate, or plain dumb.

What's more, we are now used to Labour pulling unannounced stunts, but for National to follow suit is inexcusable. It's time these politicians learnt who pays them and that they are supposed to be representing us, not off on their own personal, ill-thought crusades.

CXH said...

Robert - anything within 800m of a train station should be 20+ floors. The station itself should be shopping for a couple, then 20 floors of living. Use the airspace above the station to help pay for it.

Eamon Sloan said...

I saw Jack Tame’s Q&A interview with Chris Bishop. As usual Jack Tame was like a dog with a bone where he could not accept that National wants to refine and improve the housing policy. So as to allow councils a lot more flexibility when dealing with any mix of density and greenfields developments. Chris Bishop explained everything in totally understandable terms. Not sure if Jack Tame got the message. As a vote getter I would say Chris Bishop may well be onto something.

robert Arthur said...

Accordingto today's Herald two members of the independent committee dealing with the latest Auckland Unitary Plan have packed it in. Little wonder. Although richly paid must be one of the most unsatisfying tasks ever. Have to read through and listen to a myriad submissions which citizens have spent scores of hours on (including me) knowing all along that almost no scope for variation. Then the Council put all on hold. Now it looks like all will be turned upside down. An incredible waste of effort and money. Even Goff was very critical of the MDRS requirements despite his Labour affiliations presumably limiting his public comment. He was only too well aware of the effort, cost, anguish and money spent on the previous AUP and its adequacy for decades.
Another group which has weilded excessive influence is the presumably industry propped Coaliton for More Homes.