Planning Committee – March 2019. A Few Forests Cut Down for the Stack of Reports Due Back on Spatial Planning and #OurManukau


The Auckland Council Planning Committee chaired by Councillor Chris Darby meets today and as usual today’s agenda continues to be a meaty one with reports back on Spatial Planning and Housing, and of course Private Plan Changes from the Unitary Plan as zone changes are requested.

The main Agenda for the March Planning Committee can be seen HERE.

8: Government and Auckland Council Joint Programme of Work on Auckland Housing and Urban Growth

One of the two large agenda items concerns housing and urban growth in Auckland. The Too Long : Didn’t Read version being a pile of Spatial Planning and Housing delivery reports coupled with updates to projects like Transform Manukau (Our Manukau) written by Council and Central Government together. Agenda Item 8 ties into the next item 9 (Delivering of Affordable Housing) which I will go into next.

From the Agenda:

Planning Committee. 05 March 2019

Government and Auckland Council Joint Programme of Work on Auckland Housing and Urban Growth

File No.: CP2019/00800

Te take mō te pūrongo, Purpose of the report

1.       To ask the committee to endorse the Terms of Reference for the Crown and Auckland Council Joint Programme of Work on Auckland Housing and Urban Growth.

Whakarāpopototanga matua, Executive summary

2.       Improving housing affordability in Auckland by increasing the supply of housing is a key strategic priority of the Government’s Urban Growth Agenda and Auckland Council’s Auckland Plan 2050.

3.       On September 14, 2018 Mayor Goff, Deputy Mayor Cashmore and Cr Darby met with Minister Twyford and Minister Parker to discuss greater collaboration to deliver better housing and urban development outcomes for Auckland.

4.       The parties agreed to a formalised arrangement with an agreed programme of work overseen by a Political Governance Group. 

5.       This report asks the committee to endorse the Terms of Reference including the initial workstreams and projects. Most of the workstreams and projects are not new in that Council and/or the Crown is already progressing work in these areas, and in most cases the Council and Crown are already collaborating. By formalising the arrangements, the programme will ensure a more coordinated effort where officials believe “greatest value add” can be achieved by working collaboratively to:

  • remove blockages/enable faster delivery of private and public projects in multiple locations where planning is already well advanced
  • focus on areas where Council and Crown agencies are strongly aligned
  • avoid spreading Council and Government resources too widely.

6.       As reported to the Planning Committee on 27 November 2018 as part of the Auckland Plan update report, a key element of the programme is a spatial focus – based on the Auckland Plan Development Strategy – for joint action to unlock development.

7.       The initial programme has seven workstreams, some of which have more than one project within the workstream. The workstreams are:

  • Auckland Development Programme
  • Affordable housing
  • Infrastructure funding and financing
  • Urban planning
  • Spatial planning
  • Urban development agency
  • Removing barriers to efficient delivery of housing.

8.       The initial programme focuses on actions which can be delivered within a 12-month timeframe. It is envisaged that workstreams and projects will change over time as actions are delivered and new initiatives identified.

Ngā tūtohungaRecommendation/s
That the Planning Committee:
a)  endorse the Terms of Reference for the Crown and Auckland Council Joint Programme of Work on Auckland Housing and Urban Growth, including the initial workstreams and projects shown as Attachment A of the agenda report.
b) request the Deputy Mayor to write to Hon Phil Twyford to inform him of the committee’s decision to endorse the Terms of Reference for the Joint Work Programme and request that he seeks a similar endorsement from central government.

Basically a lot of Urban Geography reports coming back on how Government and Council could undertake such Urban Geography exercises here in Auckland (given our lack of a Planning Ministry unlike Australia).

Of interest are these reports coming back this month and next month:

Light Rail, Our Manukau (Transform Manukau), Inter-Regional Spatial Planning between Auckland and Hamilton are three of the major reports due back this or next month. In regards to Our Manukau I have my 6-monthly update with Panuku on Manukau so I will be able to feedback news on that meeting later in the week.

As for the reports coming back I will ask the Planning Committee Chair to have all those reports made public as soon as can be done.

9 Auckland Council’s position and role in affordable housing – affordable homes for all

This item which follows on from the previous Agenda Item 8 prompted discussions yesterday around which option to take and a rather lacklustre Maori Impact Statement given impacts to Maori from said housing issue.

I’ll start with the Executive Summary first:

Planning Committee. 05 March 2019

Auckland Council’s position and role in affordable housing – affordable homes for all

File No.: CP2019/01778

Te take mō te pūrongo,Purpose of the report

  1. To decide on Auckland Council’s position and role in affordable housing.

Whakarāpopototanga matua, Executive summary

1.       Housing is increasingly unaffordable for a growing number of households in Tāmaki Makaurau. One third of Auckland renters spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs. They are ineligible for social housing and cannot afford to buy their own home. They are trapped in the ‘intermediate housing market’.

2.       On 27 November 2018 the Committee agreed (PLA/2018/122) to use the snapshot report “Affordable Housing in Auckland” for engagement with key stakeholders to develop a “position and role” report for this meeting.

3.       Four options on council’s position and role were considered, with each option building on the previous one. Option 1 – statutory requirements, would involve doing less than the status quo and is not presented for consideration.

4.       Three options are presented for consideration:

  • Option 2 – partner and influence. This is status quo. Council would continue to partner with others and influence government within existing policy and plan settings.
  • Option 3 – intervene and lead. This is ‘doing more’ by investigating levers (e.g. inclusionary zoning) and incentives, and leading and partnering for stronger collaboration.
  • Option 4 – directly deliver. This is ‘doing a lot more’ by directly providing affordable housing.

5.       Option 2 – partner and influence, has the least impact on the affordable housing problem and is not recommended.

6.       Staff recommend Option 3 – intervene and lead. It has the least cost for increased impact on the affordable housing problem, and best manages complexity.

7.       The key trade off with Option 4– directly deliver, is that it would have greater direct impact on the affordable housing problem, there is greater cost and uncertainty about implementation.

8.       The key risk with the recommended option is reputational. If the investigated initiatives do not progress, council will be criticised for raising expectations, and not implementing its preferred position. This will be mitigated through engagement with stakeholders and communication with Aucklanders during the investigation of initiatives.

9.       If the recommended option is approved staff will start investigating affordable housing levers between April – December 2019. Insights and update reporting will occur between January – June 2020.

Ngā tūtohungaRecommendation/s
That the Planning Committee:
a) agree that Auckland Council’s preferred position and role in affordable housing is Option 3 – intervene and lead including:
i)  modelling inclusionary zoning, other planning mechanisms and incentives
ii) improving council processes for affordable housing outcomes
iii) concessions or grants for community housing providers
iv) partnerships with government, iwi, community housing providers and developers
v) retained affordability mechanisms and rental tenure security for renters
vi) the experience and needs of people in the intermediate housing market.

The difference between Options 3 and 4

This is the assessment criteria between Options 3 and 4

Option 4 fits the criteria to deliver Affordable Housing the best yet Council opts for Option 3 – a half baked option.

I say half-baked as the tools presented in Option 3 are platitudes while Inclusionary Zoning was rightfully shot out of the Unitary Plan AND has been disproven to work in the United States compared to direct intervention (that is the Public Authorities build and manage the houses especially affordable houses).

Option 4 – the direct approach is needed and can happen given large tracts of public land and Council’s own property arm Panuku. I have said it before and said it again Panuku should be the developer especially on public owned land inside a Centre particularly large Metropolitan and Town Centres (Manukau being the perennial one). As for ‘flexibility of approach’ to me this is more about Council taking a proactive approach to housing rather than reactive through simply policy writing and trying failed schemes like Inclusionary Zoning.

Option 4 – directly deliver, signals to the community that council will take a big step up from the current approach. It has greater direct impact on affordable housing, but there is greater cost and uncertainty about implementation. 

9 Auckland Council’s position and role in affordable housing – affordable homes for all

That is what Auckland is looking for – Council – THE BIGGEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY in Australasia to step up and do its job – making sure the universal right to housing is maintained through if need be intervention. Incentives, Inclusionary Zoning, levers and initiatives mean very little to the public or those who are looking for a home. They want to see direct action and that means a public authority directly delivering to make it happen until THE JOB IS DONE!

As for uncertainty? To me that seems more lack of skill sets and initiatives from Council (or rather dragging the chain) than being proactive and directly delivering. And if the skill-sets and initiatives are lacking then find people to fill those gaps.

As for the Maori Impact Statement:

Māori impact statement

53.     Affordable housing is a critical issue for Māori. Māori rates of home ownership have declined over the past 25 years and Māori are much more likely than European/Pākeha to be renters in Tāmaki Makaurau.

54.     The snapshot report discussed the continual displacement of Māori on the housing ladder: as more affluent households are renting, some whānau are displaced into insecure, unhealthy rental housing and are at risk of continued transience and homlessness. 

55.     Making more affordable housing available in Tāmaki Makaurau, particularly good quality rental accommodation, will have a significant impact on Māori wellbeing. Focus area 4 of the Homes and Places outcome in Auckland Plan 2050 identifies investing in and supporting Māori to meet their housing aspirations.

56.     Māori make up over half of the client base of community housing providers but the number and size of Māori community housing providers is very small. Growing their number, size and capability could be a focus activity of future partnership building with the sector.

I think the Independent Maori Statutory Board might have something to say over this lacklustre statement tomorrow.

An action packed Committee followed with updates on Transform Manukau. Will be a busy day.

One thought on “Planning Committee – March 2019. A Few Forests Cut Down for the Stack of Reports Due Back on Spatial Planning and #OurManukau

  1. Completely agree that option 4 should be preferred. Most of the risk and uncertainty in option 3 is that private partners won’t build. Council can remove that risk by just building.

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