$17b is the Cost to Service Greenfield Sprawl in Auckland #AKLPols ($121k per new house)

Not cheap


In light of the Rural Urban Boundary cluster-fudge caused by Labour’s Phil Tywford the housing and Unitary Plan debate has gone entirely amok after it had calm down for a while.

From Auckland Council:

Urban boundary myth busted

Auckland Council is busting the myth that there is a constraint on building beyond Auckland’s current Metropolitan Urban Limit (MUL).

23,000 homes already planned outside the MUL

Over the past three years Auckland Council has approved developments outside of the MUL that could provide up to 23,000 new homes. This is possible through Special Housing Areas legislation, but it is also part of council’s strategy for the forward supply of urban land.

The Unitary Plan could open up 11,000 hectares outside the MUL

The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, which is currently before the Independent Hearings Panel, includes proposals to open up 11,000 hectares of land (that’s about one and a half times the size of Hamilton) outside the MUL to cater for growth over the next 30 years, with the potential to build 110,000 new homes.

The new Rural Urban Boundary would not be a ‘hard line’

While the proposed plan talks about a Rural Urban Boundary, this is not a hard line, unlike the existing MUL that has been in place since the 1990s and was located hard up against the urban development.

In fact, the idea of a hard ‘urban limit’ would be scrapped in favour of a commitment that there is always a boundary that ensures 30 years of land available to expand into.


Servicing land outside the MUL would cost $17bn over 30 years

Additionally, expanding into the RUB can’t happen overnight. The land is currently un-serviced and it will take time and in excess of $17 billion to put the right bulk infrastructure in place. No one wants to see development in areas which aren’t properly serviced – it needs to be properly sequenced and thought out.

Hearings before the Independent Hearings Panel have now finished. The Panel will deliver its recommendations to the council on July 22. The council will then have until August 19 to consider the recommendations and make a final decision. 

Read more about the council’s role in the process on OurAuckland.



$17b over 140,000 homes that are allowed in the Future Urban Zone per the Auckland and Unitary Plans (the 60:40 Brownfield:Greenfield ratio) comes to a cost of ~$121,000 per dwelling or some 33% of an affordable home ($363,000) when the price to income ratio of a dual income household is set at 3:1.


So no it will certainly be not cheap without Central Government intervention and this is where the Municipal Utility Districts concept might have its place as seen here: Cities are the Future.


Southern Rural Urban Boundary with Future urban zones in yellow
Southern Rural Urban Boundary with Future urban zones in yellow


One thought on “$17b is the Cost to Service Greenfield Sprawl in Auckland #AKLPols ($121k per new house)

  1. “17 billion”? Seriously? Woodoo economics.
    The only reason they come up with these excessive figures is because they cannot imagine alternative, more decentralised, smaller, smart, greener urban utilities systems. Instead,they continue to budget for oversize, obsolete, economically inefficient and ecologically disastrous urban infrastructure systems which run on 19th century concepts and 20th century technology.
    “Cluster fudge”? Phil Twyford has done the only thing possible for an intelligent man: faced with facts, he changed his opinion. If only we had more smart and dedicated politicians like Phil.
    The real ‘cluster-fudge’ has been the council’s stubborn sticking for five years to an impossible ‘compact city’ concept and the ridiculous idea that in the 21st century you can ring fence a growing city with some ‘boundary’. Which then produced a dud of a plan, leading to squandered millions of dollars on vane work, lame propaganda, and innumerable controversies, fights, arguments and super-expensive hearings.
    What a ‘mother of all cluster fudges’!

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