The Draft Auckland Plan (#2) (Serial)

First (extensive) Look into Land Use

Land Use: The Beginning

Land use took up the bulk of my submission (around 70%) as I focused on the Central Business District and Southern Auckland (due to time and resource constraints). I also noted that land use is one of the four pillars that dictate (at Local Govt.. level) the economic progress and affordability of living, working and conducting business in the city (the others being: Infrastructure, Regulation and Taxes). So I did some reading of a few blogs, academic journals and essays on the existing and historic land use and influences in Auckland. For references to the historic and existing conditions in Auckland see page FOUR of my submission or SLIDES three to six of the presentation I gave to the Auckland Spatial Plan Hearings Panel.

Quick note on Energy

I had made a fleeting but important note on energy in my submission. Energy is a catalyst in influencing land use and transportation use and I pointed out to the Hearings Panel the more likely way we (Auckland and New Zealand) will go in the energy transition cycle.

Slide FOUR of the presentation illustrated the cycle we will most likely take for energy sources for our transportation fleet. This lead to the inevitable conclusion in my submission that the car will be with us for at least until the end of the century and that any planning should take into account all forms of transport mode including the dominance of the car.

 Back to a First Look at Land Use

In my submission I asked a question about land use, the question was: “How does Auckland best allocate and utilise its land efficiently and optimally so that the goal of being the “Most Livable (and affordable) City” can be realised.” The submission answered by stating two possible options of either; a centralised prescription based approach seen currently in Auckland or a neo liberal approach seen in HUSTON, Texas.


However I advocated for a mixed model approach where both the centralised prescription method and liberal method had their respective places in Auckland – regardless of Brownfield or Greenfield development. The submission provided list of both where intensification and sprawl would take place and which growth model would be best suited to each mentioned area. The mixed model system while is the main system to achieve to goal: 

To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Livable City.”

The mixed model approach was designed on the premise that a ‘one size fits all’ growth planning policy would not work and adaptation is and would be required. Thus two “methods” were drawn up to outline and guide the growth method needed for Auckland.

Both growth methods (which would be under the Land Allocation/Development Utilisation (LADU) system in the submission) had to follow a very basic guideline to ensure the quality of the physical and social environment of the city.

This basic guide line group is called the Regional Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation Philosophies which outlines the following individual philosophies for the LADU system:

  •  Follow and Implement the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol
  • Follow these philosophies:

  ○ Would you and your family live here happily?

  ○ Would you work here happily?

  ○ Would you and your family use this recreational space while feeling safe?

  ○ Would it be something you would allow your next generation to inherit?

  ○ Not contravene the principles of the Resource Management Act 1991 (i.e. the land allocation/development/utilisation will not create severe adverse effects – or simply put, lower the amenity of the surrounding existing physical and social environment)

 Who and where got developed is also mentioned in the introduction to the Land Use section of the submission for both intensification and sprawl. The list below gives some (but no means limited to) areas suitable for one kind of growth or the other:

 Areas for “sprawl” to occur at:

● Drury^

● West Papakura^

● Westgate

● Hobsonville

● East Takanini^

● Airport

● Kumeu

● Wiri*^

Area‟s for intensification to occur at:

● Wynyard Quarter^

● New Lynn

● Takapuna

● Tamaki^

● Manukau City Centre^

● Papakura Central^

● Papatoetoe Central (Hunter‟s Corner)

● Pukekohe

● Otahuhu

● Penrose/Southdown/Onehunga#

See Appendix Map for illustration of the above areas (that are outlined (^))

 *Wiri for both intensification and sprawl

 #Urban redevelopment

However again focus was on the CBD and Southern Auckland.

What were the two methods under the mixed model LADU system?

One was called the Centralised Master (Community) Plan which was a centralised prescription method of growth, while the other method was the Semi Liberal Planned District which was inspired from the Huston, Texas model of urban development.

My next post in the Draft Auckland Plan Series will expand on the Centralised Master Community Plan Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation method of growth in Auckland

Area focused in my submission

The map above illustrates the areas I had focused on in my submission, with particular focus on Southern Auckland. If time had allowed North and North West Auckland would have also had been included but alas one can only do with what he or she is given with.

That is all for this post, if you enjoy reading the blog feel free to comment or even spread the word. In the mean time I hope my contributions have added another view-point or dimension into what is a View of Auckland.

The Draft Auckland Plan (#1) (Serial)

First Look at my Submission

Introduction to Land Use, Transport and Urban Design

We begin to dissect my submission into the Draft Auckland (Spatial) Plan as a commentary and springboard for debate and discussion into the Plan itself and Auckland’s future. As mentioned in earlier posts my submission focused on land use and transport – areas that I have a passion about AND have the most effects on the city.

The Draft Auckland Plan had a goal (well many actually) of making the city “The Most Livable City” (Mayor of Auckland Len Brown). After some reading of academic material, the draft Plan itself and some I developed my own goal for Auckland and built my submission around that. My goal was: “To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Livable City.”

Simplicity, affordability, efficiency, thriftiness and sound economic progress would be words used constantly to allow residents and businesses “live” in a livable Auckland.

The Outlines

Skipping the Introduction (you can read that for yourself in my submission) lets take a look at the three outlines in the submission to the Draft Auckland Plan.

Three outlines were written up; one on land use, one on transport and the final on urban design. The outlines provided a brief outlook at the aspects of respective sections of the submission.

The Land Use Outline

Objective: Adopting a mixed model of intensification of existing urban areas AND “sprawl” in current Greenfield sites to accommodate Auckland‟s growth in an affordable manner.

Mixed model and mixed growth methods following a set philosophy, for a more balanced approach to realising the goal set out for Auckland by 2040. Two models for the two growth methods were developed in what I believed were the best attempts to realise the goal I had set out. The two models (which will be explained in-depth later in the series) were called: Centralised Master (Community) Plan (CMCP) and the Semi-Liberal Planned District (SLPD) and both covered the Greenfield (sprawl) and Intensification (Brownfield) growth methods. Both models had to follow a core philosophy to ensure a high quality standard in urban form, design and function in order for the main goal to be realised.

Page six of my submission provided candidate areas for both Greenfield and Intensification growth.

Land Use will be covered extensively in my next blog posts on the Draft Auckland Plan Series

The Transport Outline

Objective: To complement the land use ideas set out in this submission – in allowing transport choice and efficiency across the Auckland Region

As per my submission:

 This submission will focus on what are considered major transit links needed in Auckland to improve the efficiency of the regional transit network. These links are not limited to:

● Eastern Highway

● Inner City Rail Link and AMETI

● Westfield Rail Diamond Realignment

● South-to-Manukau Rail Link completion

● Rail Station re-deployments/additions (where required)

● Future Proof the following lines:

○ Airport Line (from Onehunga-to-airport-to main line at Wiri)

○ Botany Line

○ South West Line

○ North Shore Line

Also, a priority system would be added on reallocating the priorities on building Auckland‟s Transport Network through until 2040.

I did not mention things my high occupancy vehicle or bus lanes again due to time and resource constraints in writing the submission. Transport will be focused on after the sub series on Land Use

Southern Motorway heading to CBD

Urban Design Outline

Sadly I could not elaborate on urban design in my submission outside of the accompanying outline due to the tight deadline imposed on getting the submission to Auckland Council. However I believe over the next ten years there will be plenty of opportunity to ensure good urban design principles. Just remember:

Auckland must be careful in how we design our urban environment as well. What could be a great design on paper and start off well enough when paper turns to reality, over time that reality and its environment degrade due to actual poor planning

In short though, the Regional-Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation-Philosophies outlined an idea of achieving ideal urban design framework that allows a healthy physical and social environment now and for years to come.

In my next post on The Draft Auckland Plan Series, I take a first look at the Land Use section of my submission.

Upgrade and Transfer Complete

After some tinkering and some coffee the transfer and upgrade of the View of Auckland Blog is now complete.

Sit back over a hot or cold drink and have a read of the existing View of Auckland Posts here at http://voakl.net 

Some fine tuning will be happening at VOAKL while I get the feel for the site (as well a better index and category filing of posts)

I will be posting the next two articles in The Draft Auckland Plan Series shortly.

In the meantime, help spread the work of VOAKL, as planning issues affect everyone in Auckland and New Zealand 🙂 

Upgrading Blog Site

Hi all, busy updating blog site and transferring over to new domain.
Be on the look out as the new changes are implemented and two new essays are published in The Draft Auckland Plan series.

And yes some embedded page links to Scribd are broken until I update them from HTML5 to wordpress formating.

From Australia

Article from Macro-Business Super Blog



One of the blogs and academic material sites I keep myself up to date with is the Australian Macro-Business Super Blog. In short, the site provides interesting analysis of all sorts of issues in Australia and around the world. Issues such as (and most certainly not limited too), economics, finance, global politics and urban planning/economics are all discussed in-depth with plenty of links to external sources for those who wish to go exploring.

One article that caught my attention day was this PIECE from the super-blog site. The blog author was providing a basic summary to an academic paper recently published in the UK on the links between planning and economic performance.

The article from Spatial Economics Research Centre at the Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics (had to mention that as I am a Geography graduate at the University of Auckland  and hold the that Department in very high regards) I will link up below and I do recommend as a very good read.

The SERC Article

In brief the article by Max Nathan and Prof. Henry G. Overman provided a brief analysis using empirical evidence (rather than ideological as commonly seen) backed up with further academic references for further reading on how planning regulation in the UK is a direct influence on economic performance.

One particular piece in the SERC article caught my attention the most as it would relate to Auckland and The Draft Auckland (Spatial) Plan. It was on pages four and five of the SERC article and was talking about the benefits and costs of Brownfield development.
To quote the particular section in parts and provide commentary on it especially in relation to Auckland (I recommend you read the entire SERC article before proceeding).

Many opponents of the planning reforms think that development should be heavily focused on Brownfield – i.e. previously developed – land. This policy protects previously undeveloped land,
but is not cost-less.

The same argument is made here in Auckland especially with some of the submissions to the Draft Auckland Plan.

During the 1990s and mid-2000s, the combination of a national brownfield land target and a minimum density floor for development helped concentrate new development in urban areas – particularly core cities such as Manchester and Liverpool. These cities also benefited from a number of other important supporting factors – a benign macro environment, rising public spending, an expanding higher education sector, a growing consumer interest in city living,and readily available finance for building and buying (Nathan and Urwin 2006).

Can be said to be true about Auckland as well, especially when the former Auckland Regional Council (now superseded by the Auckland Council) imposed the Metropolitan Urban Limits to curtail the sprawl and encourage Brownfield development. Also the Global Financial Crisis has put a massive brake on both Greenfield and Brownfield developments at the moment which does not help the acute housing shortage in Auckland.

The national target ensured these trends played out more broadly. In 1998, approximately 50% of development occurred on brownfield land (a figure that had been remarkably stable for long periods of time). The Labour government committed itself to a target of 60% of new development on brownfield land by 2008. The target had been met by the early 2000s. In 2005, 70% of new development was on brownfield land (Urban Task Force 2005).

 Now this is where it gets interesting as I wonder if this is where Auckland Central Planners got their idea from for a percentage number set for Brownfield development. Currently in The Draft Auckland Plan, it was stated that Auckland should have a Rural Urban Boundary that clearing sets the line of the urban limits and that all new growth and development over the next thirty years should be on a 75:25 spilt between Brownfield and Greenfield developments. It is nice to know that the UK achieved their Brownfield target but at what cost – the UK is not an affordable place to live or do business and does not have the best physical or social environment as a result. Auckland should be playing close attention to the UK if it wants to set a target which can range from no target, to 50:50, to 60:40, to 75:25. Is the compact city the saviour or killer of Auckland?

From the point of view of the opponents of the NPPF, meeting the national target sounds like success. Qualitative research suggests that in cities like Manchester and Liverpool, brownfield policies that targeted the urban core may have helped repopulate city centres, and encouraged commercial activity to return. These policies also may have helped local leaders reposition their cities’ public image (Nathan and Urwin 2006, Unsworth and Nathan 2006).However, somewhat surprisingly, we know of no evidence that rigorously assesses the
causal impact of the brownfield target on the pattern of development within cities, or on the overall effects for the city as a whole. We can speculate that in cities like Manchester, the Brownfield target may have led to more development across the city than previously. However, an alternative strategy of focusing on (say) South Manchester might have brought higher overall development to the city, but with a different spatial pattern. That is, skewing development towards city centres may have come at the expense of less growth for the city as a whole.

Take particular note to the italics part. We could see the very same effect in Auckland especially South Auckland which is prime real estate for Brownfield and Greenfield developments owing to the airport, major road and rail links, industry including logistic centres, commerce and around one-third of Auckland’s population. Also the Port of Auckland question I raised in an earlier post lingers and would have effect on the spatial dynamics of Auckland.

Brownfield land is expensive to build on suggesting that there could be an effect on overall levels of development from the decision to prioritise brownfield land. Findings on the negative effect of town centre first on retail productivity are consistent with this (Cheshire et al 2011). Further from the point of view of England as whole, lots of brownfield land is in ex-industrial cities where – unlike parts of, say, London and Manchester – demand for housing and commercial development is low

A point take note of. With our land prices already artificially high any Brownfield development would rightfully seek a price of return to cover those high prices. This has a knock on effect of high consumer prices at the end of the chain which can hamper economic performance if consumers are busy paying off high debt owing those high prices. In short we need to get land (and development) prices under control and affordable again if we do not want to see Auckland’s economic performance hamstrung from that department.


In terms of the spatial pattern of development, large pieces of land that become available (for example, former MOD or NHS sites) are often some way from existing settlements (working against other stated objectives on densification). Worse, as highlighted by the coalition government, a small but increasing share of building on ‘brownfield’ land has been building on private residential gardens – the share of new homes built on previously residential land rose from 11 percent to 23 percent between 1997 and 2008.

Word of warning to our central planners, any intensification or Brownfield development has the potential to have the same effect as what happened in the quoted piece above. We need our green in the city but it should not play second fiddle to any Brownfield development. Nothing worse than a monolithic concrete jungle.

In short, top down targets for brownfield land haven’t always delivered the kind of development people want in the places where they want it. The combination of brownfield
targets and density standards has also tended to produce large numbers of small flats in urban areas – although there is a clear need for larger, family homes in these places (Unsworth and Nathan 2006, Silverman et al 2006). These costs need to be offset against the benefits of preserving undeveloped land. Undeveloped land does deliver benefits, but SERC research
suggests that these are often not as large as claimed (Gibbons et al 2011).

A word of warning as I sense this could happen here as well wittingly or unwittingly. What could make the situation acute is that not every can “live” in some rabbit clutches called flats or apartments. Some need 4-8 bedroom homes as they have extended family with them (its called part of their culture) and so the Draft Auckland Plan should make easy provision (via the market (and Housing NZ when the situation arises as it does)) for these large type houses a nice sizable plot of land. You would also find that a housing market that was more responsive to the heterogeneous needs of Auckland’s population would go some distance in reducing over crowding in homes and improve the physical and social environment of the population.

Again I implore the Auckland City Council to read the SERC Document and the other articles referenced in it. I do not believe the 75:25 Brownfield/Greenfield ratio for development will work in net benefit for Auckland and the SERC article has a lot similarities to Auckland even though it was for the UK scene.

This SERC Article I will be referencing as I continue with my Draft Auckland Plan Series.
Below is the actual SERC article. All Rights of the Article belong to the article authors.

A Good Bye to a Blogger

A Sad Goodbye to an Influential Blogger



Yip blogs come and go as time continues its march on, however I was surprised when one particular blog announced it was signing off for the very last time.

Jon C, admin and owner of the AKT Blog had decided after four years that it was time to sign off for the very last time. His final post titled FAMOUS LAST WORDS gave light to the history of AKT over the last four years and its achievements for better Auckland Transport (and Urban Design too).

AKT
AKT Title Bar, all rights belonging to AKT Owner

A colleague of mine for the company I work for pointed AKT out to me while I was in a team designing or assembling the RWC Berthing Plans, crew rosters and timetables. So I went over and took a look and before long was commenting on all sorts of things that came up on the site.

As time drew on and the RWC happened (including that infamous RWC Opening Night) I got to know Jon on a professional level as him and I traded stories and the often barb over Auckland’s transport system and her woeful urban design.

However as Jon has mentioned, he is in Australia now pursuing his ambitions there. I wish him all the best over in Australia and a big thank you for all the hard effort and putting your arse on the line for the name of a better Auckland – you will be sorely missed. However Jon, make sure you keep our Aussie neighbours on their toes for us 😉

My favourite moment from AKT, well I have two. The first was Jon’s story on those damn escalators at Britomart which are often more out of service then in-service. I had to smile that day as I knew it drew the ire of some Auckland Transport people but summed up the frustrations of Auckland rail commuters so finely. The second moment was the reporting of the RWC Opening Night Disaster. I could only watch as the media and politicians did the best bit of arse covering and finger pointing I have ever seen without looking at the actual root cause of the issue.  However keeping a level head I commented away and watched people go round in circles, as Jon kept also level head through the whole fiasco and the war of words happening across quite a few blogs and as a result earned my respect as a blogger.

No doubt as AKT closes, another blog whether Auckland Transport Blog by Josh Arbury or a new blog entirely will certainly take up the mantle and keeping our politicians, bureaucrats and operators honest and informing the public on all things Auckland Transport and Urban Design. Also AKT was my personal inspiration to kick off my own blog here ‘View of Auckland’ as I begin delivering commentary, discussion and debate into issues of Auckland planning

Take Care Jon

Ben – Admin of View of Auckland

Seasons Greetings

Seasons Greetings to all

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful Summer Holiday.

For me (and Rebekka) we are going away to Tauranga to unwind, refresh and enjoy some annual leave before 2012 and the challenges it brings with it (moving into our first house next month)

In the mean time, View of Auckland takes a wee break until I return from leave January 4th and then again in late January as we move house.

Season Greetings

I am honestly excited here, 2012 will be a great year for many reasons. Both mine and Rebekka’s careers’ with Veolia Transdev Auckland (metro rail) continue to progress with Rebekka taking her promotion up as Customer Information Officer (The Red Coats) at Britomart; while I continue exploring new opportunities with the company and other things.

Away from work, I will be focused intensely on the Auckland Council as the Draft Auckland Spatial Plan become finalised and realised as well as the first Long Term Plan for the Super City. Through this Blog I will be delivering commentary and discussion on issues in Auckland, bringing in external academic information to provide a balanced approach to the major debate out there (Sprawl or Compact). This blog is in its infancy, but I am confident it will grow and debates and discussions will get going.

So Merry Christmas to all
And be seeing you soon in 2012

-Ben-

The Port of Auckland and The Spatial Plan

We Need to Answer a Question

That question is: What is the future for the Port of Auckland.

I threw a per-verbal bomb amongst the pigeons today and posted on my Facebook to Councillors George Wood and Cameron Brewer this:

George and Cameron : I am going to throw a per-verbal bomb amongst the pigeons here. I think we need to come to an absolute FULL STOP on the Spatial Plan (The Draft Auckland Plan) until a question has been answered first: that being the Port of Auckland.I think an enquiry needs to be held into port on where to next with it. Do we: 1) Status Quo, 2) Relocate to Tauranga or Marsden Point, 3) Rebuild in South East Auckland.
This I believe needs to be done in order to best serve the city and New Zealand. Any recommendation and decision on the port will have major implications for Auckland and could even force a rewrite of The Spatial Plan. What we can not do is go on business as usual. The Port is sick and she needs a doctor
This I believe needs to be done in order to best serve the city and New Zealand. Any recommendation and decision on the port will have major implications for Auckland and could even force a rewrite of The Spatial Plan. What we can not do is go on business as usual. The Port is sick and she needs a doctor

It is a question that has to be answered sooner rather than later for the sake of Auckland and New Zealand




Port of Auckland Enquiry

Port of Auckland is sick and is not reaching its full economic potential (regardless of the union workers striking or not). Port of Tauranga effectively out-performs Auckland on just about every level. Something needs to be done to our port in Auckland in order to achieve its maximum economic benefits for the city and wider NZ.

Port of Auckland

If an enquiry (most likely an Independent Enquiry fail that a Commission of Enquiry) were to be held this question should be ask:

 Do we: 

  1. Status Quo business as usual, 
  2. Relocate to Tauranga or Marsden Point, 
  3. Rebuild in South East Auckland.



What I did not ask was who should own the port to allow maximum economic performance. Should the Auckland Council own all 100% of the Port, sell down to either 51%, 49% or 25%, or sell the entire thing off (privatise). That question should also be looked at into the enquiry. 



Effectively in holding an enquiry into the Port of Auckland, it will and should put the Draft Auckland (Spatial) Plan on hold. On hold until recommendations are made by the enquiry and Auckland Council goes through the decision making process of the recommendations and adopting them into the Draft Auckland Spatial Plan (as well as the Long Term Plan)


The Draft Auckland (Spatial) Plan needs to be put on hold as any decision on what to do with the Port of Auckland has serious if not CRITICAL ramifications for Auckland (and NZ) for well over the life of the  Plan (30 years). Jobs, development, infrastructure, activity would all change if options such as relocation or rebuilding the port were enacted on.


Possible Rebuilding Site for Port of Auckland

But in any case something needs to be done to fix our sick port soon. It can not afford to drag on without costing the city dearly.

The Draft Auckland Plan (Serial) (Intro)

The Draft Auckland Plan Series

Over the next two to three years up until just after the 2013 Local Election (where Auckland elects its second council and mayor), I will be writing a series on issues that will be or are affecting Auckland.

The Draft Auckland Plan Serial

The first in my series will be looking at The Draft Auckland (Spatial) Plan – the visionary document setting out Auckland’s goals and visions until 2040 and my submission on the Plan.

The Draft Auckland Plan can be found HERE with accompanying information on dates and the process of the plan through to implementation early 2012. The combined length of all the documents that make up the Auckland Draft Plan is over 800 pages long, however a simple basic Executive Summary can be found HERE and is more manageable at 36 pages long. Have a quick glance through it when you have a spare moment, the upcoming Long Term Plan (draft) which also sets the rates ratepayers pay (amongst other things) will “action” the ideas from the final version of The Auckland Plan, so you might like to know what you are in for.

My Submission (A Quick Summary)

The Draft Auckland Plan had called for submissions into it. For the first time ever I had taken pen to paper (well fingers to keyboard) and wrote a submission to a (local) government document. However time and resources would prove to be one major limiting factor in producing my submission. In a perfect world I would have had nine months and a small army of assistants conducting research, analysis and assisting writing the submission on every key aspect of the Draft Auckland Plan. However this is the real world; where it was just me juggling work and home life (while still trying to have a social life as well) and only having (even after Councillor Cameron Brewer was successful in getting an extension) around 6-8 weeks (with a Rugby World Cup right in the middle of it) to write the submission.

In the end I did compile a submission and one I was quite proud of (being my first one). The final document was 58 pages long with two accompanying documents 33 and 4 pages respectively. The following PowerPoint presentation to the Draft Auckland Plan Hearings Panel was 12 slides long.

In my submission (and will be the focus of this series) I developed a goal where I would like Auckland to be by 2040 and the three chapters of the Auckland Draft Plan I felt most passionate about in getting Auckland to achieve that goal. The goal was:

To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Livable City.

The three chapters I focused on were Chapters Seven (Rural Auckland), Eight (Urban Auckland) and Eleven (Transport)

After the completion of the submission I elected to have my submission heard at a Panel Hearing in front of Auckland Councillors. So after so work I produced a very simple 12 slide presentation as a summary (brief at that) in which I presented to the panel which included Councillors Brewer and Wood.

This is the presentation I gave

Now the presentation embedded here is extremely brief and I did not include transport (10mins plus questions is not a lot of time so I hammered home my main point which was land use).

The full submission can be found HERE
With the supporting documents Tamaki Reconnection and Wynyard Quarter being available by clicking the blue hyperlinks

You can see in the presentation I acknowledge that the car and hydrocarbon based fuels will be around for the rest of century (approximate) and as a result to maintain affordability, all planning should recognise that fact and in sake of affordability you will find people switching to alternative fuel sources as natural progression happens (in other words do not force) and switching to mass transit will also happen naturally (with a small amount of encouragement) as well.

For the rest of the presentation (and the bulk of the submission) I focus on Land Use before moving to Transport.

In brief with Land Use, I had developed a dual model for what would become the LADU – Land Allocation/Development and Utilisation. The two models would be:

  • Centralised Master (Community) Plan
  • Semi Liberal Planned District
Both would follow what would be called the R-LADU-P – Regional Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation Philosophies that would guide the LADU process (regardless of which model) and not be as inhibiting as previous District Plans in Auckland were.
I also advocated for a 60:40 split on intensification / urban sprawl approach to growing Auckland although I am supportive of the 50:50 approach a minority of councillors are advocating for.
Transport wise I developed a three-tier priority system for major transportation projects in Auckland. The rational of my transport idea is quoted below

My Transport Rationale

Maps 11.1 and 11.3 in Chapter Eleven of The Draft Auckland Plan illustrate the Auckland Transit Network and projects through to 2040. In this submission I am tweaking around Council‟s vision into something I believe more viable (economically, environmentally and socially) for the city. My rational acknowledges the fact that I do not agree entirely with the compact city ideal of The Draft Auckland Plan. Rather than this 75:25 split between brownfield/intensification and greenfield split which I see as driving affordability out of households and businesses reach, I advocate (which is also constant with my Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation section of my submission) more of a 50:50 split between the two LADU fields. This 50:50 split would achieve the following: choice of housing and business locations, affordability and economic progress – so as a result transport would be moulded around the 50:50 split.
Apart from a few major things/changes, again I agree mostly with The Draft Auckland Plan‟s vision for Auckland Transport system. Therefore the transport section of this submission deals with those major things/changes and my priority system of what should be done over the next thirty years in Auckland. Again for brevity, this submission focuses on the Central Business District and south (but including areas near the Eastern Rail Line).

The three-tier system as below

Priority One (To be completed by 2018)

  •  Building of the Eastern Highway (to the Sub-Regional Standard Option as mentioned in Section 3.5 of the EASTDOR Final Report
  •  Realigning the Westfield Diamond
  • Relocating or adding rail stations
  • Re allocating bus routes, improving bus feeder systems to rail stations or bus RTN systems
  • Feasibility Study of the Airport Rail Line including freight option
  • Starting the bus RTN roll out especially along State Highway 20, 20A and 20B
  • South-to-Manukau Rail Link Completion

Priority Two (To be completed by 2025)

  • Completion of Inner City Rail Link
  • Third Rail Line from Port to Papakura
  • Airport Rail Line (if deemed feasible)
  • Second Harbour Crossing
  • South West Rail Line (if freight is still moving to Northland)
  • Rail Electrification to Hamilton (not mentioned or included in this submission)

Priority Three (To be completed by 2040 or optional)

  • Botany Rail Line
  • North Shore Rail Line
  • Upgrade Eastern Highway from Sub Regional Function option to full Regional Function option
As you can see with both land use and transport, I go for a multi-prong best of both worlds progressive approach in getting things done for Auckland while not breaking the bank AND still able to realise The Goal that I mentioned earlier.
It will be interesting to see what the Auckland Council adopts into its final version of the Auckland Plan and how it will influence the Long Term Plan.
I wait with anticipation in the New Year to see which way the Council takes Auckland
In my next post on The Draft Auckland Plan Serial, I will begin expanding on Chapters Seven and Eight of the Draft Auckland Plan (Rural and Urban Auckland) and my submission onto those chapters.
In the mean time be on the look out for “Shout-outs” and “Leisure” posts – adding some variety to ones day.

First House and Me

Leading into the first series of this Blog

Over the last six months, Rebekka and I went through the motions of looking for our very first house. After considering the options (budget, location, type, etc..) we began looking around Papakura for a house we can call home. Surprisingly the house we ended up came about after turning down one house that needed doing up and a vendor that would not move on price and trying another real estate by chance while checking out a cottage.

Rebekka and I met up with the real estate agents and we checked out two houses (within 5 minutes of each other) that were both within our maximum budget range. Irony would have it that these two houses both had a trade-off against one another for things we liked and did not like. One house had a heat pump connected to a multi-ducted HRV system, an alarm and generous section – however NO GARAGE. The other house had a heat pump but not HRV, no alarm BUT a garage. In the end we went with the one with the garage and began the bidding process. Long story short we ended up with the house (Brick and Tile, three bedroom, double garage with workshop, medium size yard, heat pump etc..) for a good price of $283,000. We go unconditional within 48 hours of me writing this blog and we get the keys 4pm Friday 20th January.

Now I thank you for the congratulations and well done’s here and in advanced, but you must be wondering where I am going with this. It is the fact Rebekka and I are now (well will be on settlement day) proud (first) home owners means we now have a mortgage and pay rates to the Auckland Council. Simply put: WE ARE RATEPAYERS!

And SOLD

WE ARE RATE-PAYERS

From 4pm 20 January Rebekka and I will no longer be paying rent as we become ratepayers in our first house. Being a ratepayer means I am now acutely aware that every year X amount gets paid to Auckland Council and being politically active as I am, I want to know where my rate payers dollars are going to.

Councillors Cameron Brewer and George Wood of the Auckland City Council can testify to the fact that I stated when I gave my presentation to the Draft Auckland Plan Hearings Panel: “Rebekka and I are now first home owners, as we are now ratepayers while I am aware of the mechanics of Auckland Council, I am now ACUTELY aware of where my ratepayers dollars are going.” It was a message of me being concerned about where my hard-earned dollars are going, as well as being sympathetic with other ratepayers of Auckland in getting best value for dollar out of our rates.

It was the fact that Rebekka and I became ratepayers that had a massive influence on my submission writing to the Draft Auckland Plan. In developing my submission I was drawing on four aspects that I like to see Auckland achieve:

  1. Affordability restored to housing and businesses
  2. Freedom of choice on residential dwelling type
  3. Freedom of transportation choice reflected on dwelling type, job and location
  4. A few truths
A copy of my submission can be found HERE
Rebekka and I were lucky to get our first house in a decent location for around $40-60k under the inflated market value. However I know there are many people who are not so fortunate.
In brief, my submission was my opinion (backed with academic material) designed to achieve a goal for Auckland:

 The Auckland Plan should have One Goal: To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Livable City.’

That goal I see as the best way (with it being followed on through the Long Term Plan) in achieving best value for my rate payers dollar in making Auckland a prosperous and vibrant place for two million people.
The next series posts will be a break down of my comprehensive submission (and supporting documents) to the Draft Auckland Plan. The series will then move through a series on the Long Term Plan that is the action plan and budget for Auckland over the next ten years.
Your feedback and discussion are welcome as the first series gets under-way, just remember the rules please.