Did Mayoral Candidate Crone Suggest a Bach Tax? #Auckland2016

Rather crude way of getting housing going?


I am not sure what Mayoral candidate Victoria Crone is trying to tell us but what is effectively a Bach Tax is not being received well by those who vote (see: A Breakdown into Citizen Dissatisfaction with Auckland Council #AKLPols).


From Radio NZ:

Crone would hike rates on empty Auckland baches

8:44 am today

Auckland bach owners who do not use their places frequently would be hit with a massive rate hike under a policy proposed by a mayoral candidate.

National Party-aligned Auckland Future mayoral candidate Vic Crone isproposing measures to help solve the city’s housing shortage that target unoccupied properties. Buildings sitting empty for more than six months may be in line for rates increases of up to fifty percent.

“While we don’t have a good picture of the numbers, I’m hearing loud and clear there’s a problem and strong anecdotal evidence right across Auckland, including in Special Housing Areas.”

Baches were not the primary target, but those that were not being used would be included in the rates policy in order to tackle the “serious situation” on housing.

“What we’re trying to do is use every single lever that we can to get as many homes and as much land available so that people can get access to homes in Auckland,” Ms Crone told Morning Report.

One way of determining whether a home is occupied would be to look at water usage, she said. Ms Crone said she owned a bach at Muriwai but had had friends staying in it for several months.


Source and full article: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/306795/crone-would-up-rates-on-empty-baches


If you think Mayoral candidate Phil Goff, and Deputy Mayor Hulse were being kind in critiquing the Bach Tax you would be right. Facebook remarks to the Bach Tax are not so kind especially when it comes to private property rights (so those more likely to have voted for Crone rather than Goff in the first place) (see: https://www.facebook.com/vic4mayor/posts/1635167423469328?__mref=message_bubble).


Given baches, and green sustainable houses urban Auckland (so rain water tanks supplementing or replacing mains water) would fall under the measurements used suggest by Crone for the “Bach Tax” I wonder if such an idea (meant to be taxing unoccupied homes) was a good one and if so it was very poorly communicated.


As for blank land well that policy has merit but I wonder if it again is the right one given developers would revolt over the “land tax” and really seize up the urban development needed. From what I hear from Crone the idea of this land tax would be to charge owners of unoccupied land in Auckland (whether it be residential, commercial, industrial and regardless if it had a building on it or not) a 50% Rates loading on the potential value of that site if it was “developed” and occupied full-time.

The term “potential” value runs into as many problems as the National Policy Statement – Urban Development Capacity in what are we defining the value (or capacity) as. The value of the most minimum development that can be occupied, the market value of the development or the maximum value you could get from the maximum development allowed from the zone the site sits on? Also given what is more like an Uplift Value Tax (used for residential developments when rezoning is under way to pay for infrastructure) is targeting industrial land as well I become real sceptical as I am not wanting to change industry out of Auckland, not when we need industrial land spare for development any way.


What Crone is looking for is a Vacant Land Tax charged to residential and commercial property in the urban (so not rural land or the Future Urban Zone areas) Auckland area. This form of tax is charged against blank land at a rate of 1% of the site’s Rateable Value annually with the funds ring-fenced for both physical and social infrastructure. An actual Uplift Value Tax (when a residential area is upzoned) is not needed as you will capture it through standard Rates movements when properties are revalued every three years.


As for Crone repeating the lines of the Government saying every lever is being pulled for housing in Auckland? Well I see no Vacant Land Tax and I definitely see no mass State Housing program (the two most obvious levers) in getting housing built in Auckland being pulled. Why? Ideology and nothing else won’t let them.


Manukau development sites Land owned by Auckland Council
Manukau development sites
Land owned by Auckland Council