Incoming Boost to the GDP?
So those south of the Bombay Hills but north of Taupo and Gisborne get to enjoy a holiday today – that being Auckland Anniversary celebrating the City (was the province) being 176 years young! And as we celebrate that 176 today we reflect upon the new dawn Auckland itself is entering as it continues to evolve as an International city.
From the Herald:
Editorial: Change vital as city bursts at the seams5:00 AM Monday Feb 1, 2016
Auckland reaches its 176th anniversary on the verge of a substantial change. The “unitary plan” that will permit higher density development in many residential areas of the city must finally be approved by the Auckland Council this year.
It seems an eternity since the first draft of the plan was released, bringing an outcry from all corners of the region at the prospect of three-storey apartments next door. Few were mollified by the fact that modern multi-unit developments need not be solid blocks they fear. Well designed, they can be an attractive composite of dwellings, each with some outdoor privacy and offering a sense of community.
It has to be hoped they do, because after two years of outrage and closed-door council deliberations, the revised unitary plan issued last month still allows swathes of “intensification” throughout the city. It is time, perhaps, to accept the inevitable. Auckland is bursting at the seams. It is where most of the latest immigration wave are settling, as well as the greater number of New Zealanders returning to the country than leaving it, and continuing internal migration.
Remember this comes from the same New Zealand Herald that gave the likes of Bernard Orsman and Councillor Cameron Brewer platforms to poo-poo the entire Unitary Plan and its processes that are due to wind up the Hearings in April.
As the Agenda heads out this weekend for the final topic of the Hearings – the Rezoning the Prime Minister confirmed in his State of the Nation address the need to get housing supply going whether it be Greenfield OR Brownfield (intensification). The Prime Minister in his interview with Duncan Garner later that Wednesday on the benefits of the City Rail Link included making intensification in Henderson Metropolitan Centre much more viable than current. The Government’s own submission even backed the 60% Brownfield, 40% Greenfield development ratio set in the Auckland Plan providing Council streamlined the consenting process at its own end.
Auckland is now home to a quarter of New Zealand’s people, one of the largest proportions of any country’s population, and half the nation lives north of Lake Taupo, the Auckland province that shares the anniversary today.
Ummm Auckland is home to 34% of New Zealand’s population and 35% of the national GDP.
It is not only the number of people pressing into the city making closer living inevitable. The large and growing Asian population seems more accustomed to apartments, inner-city life and public transport. The city’s population is also younger than the national average, with more young couples and families trying to afford houses at prices reflecting not just the building industry’s failure to cope with demand but the attractions of property investment to immigrants and established home-owners.
Rising house values, which appear to be slowing in Auckland since October’s tax changes and November’s lending restrictions, are now spilling over to other cities of the former province. But projected population growth in the big city has put paid to the old argument of whether expansion should be outwards or upwards.
Auckland City is already spreading on its perimeter, at Pokeno in the Waikato District, at Kumeu in the west and Silverdale to the north. Soon, it is likely to have more high rise on main roads and around suburban centres with railway stations.
The resistance to high density development at centres such as Panmure and, very recently, Milford, will continue. Remuera and the rest of the eastern suburbs may become hotbeds of opposition to the density of development coming to them.
But some might consider their protests a bit rich considering what many are doing of their own volition. The trend in house building and renovation is to do away with gardens and lawns and build to the maximum area permitted. Often enough, sections are subdivided and two or more homes are built almost to the boundaries.
Aucklanders have been reducing outdoor living space and intensifying suburbs since long before they heard of a unitary plan. The city has to fit many more people in and the plan needs to ensure it is done well.
Indeed the City is continuing to evolve with both intensification and sprawl as even most advanced cities do. The catch is to allow Auckland to evolve naturally to the needs of its people rather than the needs of stiff planning document brought on by a few.
But as Auckland continues to grow and evolve we must keep on top of infrastructure both hard and soft. By that I mean transport (yes the City Rail Link is on its way), lots more parks (no not big sodding ones, pocket parks sprinkled throughout the area will often have a better utilisation rate), water and waste-water, and community centres/libraries. I see the Auckland Transport Accord is nearly complete which will line up our transport investment between Council and Government.
Below is an extract to the Council Evidence for the Rezoning exercise with regards to South Auckland:
And of course from MBIE and Auckland Transport:
The Government and wider Council know at least with South Auckland what is coming in terms of residents and jobs (and the fact the South will take the brunt outside of the main City Centre) so lining up investment priorities is an absolute must. Especially when we have this situation:
Current negative productivity
With Auckland alone about to hit a very large building phase (once the main City Rail Link tunnelling gets going and subsequent urban development when the Unitary Plan goes live later this year) the boosts to the GDP I would estimate could come into the range of about 2%. That is 2% on top of what the rest of the nation might be doing.
It seems public investment is speeding up looking at the CRL and East West Link proposals coming out.
Interesting times ahead