Today we are all to receive words from on high – if not exactly a set of commandments carved in stone, then at least close to it, as John Key says this will solve everything. Housing, apparently, is uncontrollable by countries around the world, and yet JK is going to solve it with a Policy Statement.

This Policy Statement is apparently going to go something along the lines of: Auckland Council – sell more land to the People! And if you don’t do that, we’ll force you to sell your land, or replace Len Brown with a bluish coloured commissioner who will.

I’ve yet to see a Policy Statement from any government that really has an effect on anything. In Britain, they issued Planning Policy Guidelines, in a very serious manner, and yet no one paid them the slightest bit of notice. Here, we have had a few policy statements before, on Fresh Water, and things like that. There is an upcoming Policy Statement due soon on Urban development, linked here, which could be the one Key is talking about. So: watch out. Land development is about to happen. One guess for Auckland: upwards, or outwards? The rich, blue voting people of Remuera and St Heliers have spoken and said they want intensification, but not in their back yards. In truth, that’s mostly because they have already sold off their back yards already, and as a suburban spread, it’s not like Mt Albert, where section sizes are still large, with an eighth of an acre of lawn pushing up the daisies.

It’s most likely that the Gov won’t say “more intensification of existing suburbs” as that will just lose them popularity in those true blue states (but they’ll never go and vote red – if anything, they’ll look blue and go purple, or black, or yellow, or anything but red and green). So it is bound to be: “Go West young man”, or “Go South and build all over that fertile ground in Pukekohe”. You know those Bombay Hills, all covered in lettuces and carrots in a rich red soil?

Then – and Now

Owned by careful Chinese gardeners like Mr Aah Chee, Mr Yung, and (above), Mr Fong, for the last generation or two, working 12 hour days growing vegetables, for modest returns. Once they are forced to sell, and with their land priced in the millions, they will sell, and Auckland will grow south, and strangle itself even further. Auckland, like a cancer, grows fast and uncontrolled. And you know what happens with cancer.

So I’m very glad that we don’t have those growth issues here in the capital. Instead of uncontrolled growth, we have small, gradual, sensible growth, with reasonable intensification and infilling of inner city land, and some increasing sprawl at the outer edges. We have growth planned along our public transport spine, with more housing planned for Kilbirnie, Newtown, Te Aro, and Johnsonville (whether J’ville likes it or not). We’re also planning more housing in places like Newlands, up on top of the plateau, which will rely heavily on cars, and makes less sense to me. Our roads are already quite full.

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