Finance Minister Fires Warning Shot in Increasing Government Agitation Against Auckland 2040, and Wayward Councillors
While I was heading into town yesterday for the Auckland Transport Alignment Program Bernard Hickey (a respected Finance Journalist) left a comment over at my Labour and Government United on the #UnitaryPlan ? post about Minister of Finance Bill English’s stance currently with the Unitary Plan.
Those comments were:
I asked Bill English after his IPANZ address yesterday about the revolt within Council and what it meant for the economy more broadly.
“We support the Council’s work on the Unitary Plan to allow for more growth. They’ve got their own local discussion about how that occurs. They’ve relied on more intensification. One way or another the Plan has to deliver the capacity for Auckland to deliver so if they have a bit less growth ‘up’, then they’re going to have to allow for more room for more growth ‘out’,” English said.
I then asked if the Government or Housing NZ would take legal action to enforce any IHP recommendations. He said he didn’t want to prejudge the Government’s approach.
“But equally, there’s significant impact of that Plan on the national economy, on the cost to households of housing in Auckland — unfairness — so we have an interest in ensuring that in the end through the appropriate processes it delivers sufficient room for growth in Auckland,” he said.
“If there’s parts of the community that want a bit less densification, then they need to support the Plan where it grows Auckland out further,” he said.
I asked whether that would then cost the Government more money for extra motorways and railways.
“It might cost the ratepayers more money too. That’s the point of having a local Council. They have to grapple with that. From the outside, the Plan has been heading in the right direction with some intensification and some growth on the edge of the city.”
Source: Bernard Hickey – Labour and Government United on the #UnitaryPlan ?
We know sprawl comes at greater cost than intensification to the City over the long-term in pure monetary as well as social and physical environment terms. So the question to Cameron Brewer, Dick Quax and Desley Simpson who go on about lower rates: “how would you like to be costing the ratepayers more to service expensive sprawl infrastructure owing to more sprawl being needed thanks to your NIMBYism towards the Unitary Plan?“
Because that is what you three will trigger as one of the consequences (the other being direct Government intervention removing Council from the process) if the Unitary Plan evidence withdrawal succeeds on Wednesday. More costs to the Auckland Ratepayer and more cost to the national Taxpayer through expensive infrastructure needing to support more sprawl than originally set about in the Auckland Plan (which the Unitary Plan must follow). And as I said yesterday English will not be fond of having to put more money into expensive infrastructure that wouldn’t have been necessary if the Unitary Plan stayed course as both Bill English and Nick Smith have now said. I also have word from credible sources in Wellington stating that Minister Smith is getting more agitated the longer this withdrawal threat hangs over the Unitary Plan given his views on Thursday in Question Time.
In the end this is not about the process the Unitary Plan has followed, that process has been clear since it was set in motion in 2009 and amended in 2013 and 2015. This is about pure politics of a select few on the East egged on by the misrepresentations spun by Auckland 2040. You can read on the processes here: Correcting Auckland 2040’s Unitary Plan befuddlement and here: Unitary Plan rezoning: fact-checking vs fears with 9,400 primary submitters.
The question ultimately you need to answer is this: Do you want Government to take over thanks to three elected representatives playing politics over the needs of the City over the next thirty years? Because Government is agitated and will use its powers as we have seen with Three Kings to support the current proposals set out in the Unitary Plan.
The fate lays with those 11 Councillors on Wednesday.