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Twyford rides again – Don’t hold your breath for any achievement!


This item from RNZ Checkpoint caught my eye

In an article published at Stuff by Joel Maxwell, there was this explanation of what the ‘new’ policy was meant to achieve

This seemed somewhat familiar

A government plan to sideline nimbys could pave the way to cheaper housing and faster development.

It would also force local councils to ease restrictions on building heights and intensive housing in city centres, under proposed changes announced Wednesday.

Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said the country’s cities were “failing” as council planning was restricting development and creating a pressure-cooker effect.

He spoke at the launch of a new proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development, alongside Environment Minister David Parker at a Porirua development, Kenepuru Landing

Later Twyford is reported as follows

It would allow consideration of urban development where land has not yet been released or not identified for urban development, the document said.

It would set limits on the ability to regulate the number of car parks required for a development.

The proposal would make councils “provide opportunities for iwi and hapū to identify aspirations and issues of concern, and ensures these are considered”.

The Government wanted councils to “take a long-term strategic approach” to the growth of their cities, Twyford said.

“This means joining up transport, housing and infrastructure in a 30-year plan that involves mana whenua and the wider community in a much more hands-on approach to planning.”

A 30 year plan – don’t be silly nobody can plan for 30 years. Why are mana whenua to receive preference. Does this mean mana whenua nimbys are OK, but white ones are not?

Then as the article reported:

In 2016, the previous National Government’s Housing Minister Nick Smith launched a policy statement making councils over-supply land rather than just look to meet expected demand.

Twyford, then in opposition, called the policy a “damp squib”. On Wednesday he said this government’s plan, however, would definitely have an impact. “This is a bolder move … it’s going to take the shackles off.”

So Nick Smith and National tried to tackle the issue of supply and failed. In addition, Twyford ridiculed the idea put forward by National, but is now proposing very much the same.

However, back in November 2018, Twyford announced in an interview on The Nation the creation of the Housing and Urban Development Authority, now apparently the subject of Kāinga Ora—Homes and Communities Bill, which establishes the agency, but a second bill will be needed to grant enabling powers to the agency.

Now in November 2018 Twyford said

 The HUDA will have broad powers, including being able to ignore existing council designations, amend or write its own by-laws and grant its own resource consent, and councils will have no veto power. “It’s going to be a tooled-up agency that can cut through the red tape,” said Mr Twyford.

He said land use regulation and the rules that govern development projects had been solely in the hands of councils and that was “not working”. “We have to change things, and we’re putting central government in there to work alongside councils.” He said he hoped the authority will mean developments could go “from concept to building within 12 months”.

Mr Twyford said the HUDA will have a $100 million injection to get it started but will also have access to Kiwibuild and Housing NZ Funds, because state homes and Kiwibuild funds would be part of the projects.

The HUDA will also have the power of forced acquisition, where private land owners can be can be forced to sell to make way for a development – but the minister says the powers are just “in the back pocket”. “I don’t think it’s likely at all that someone’s private property or their house will be acquired for one of these projects.”

Much of yesterday’s great announcement seemed more or less a rehash of what Twyford announced in November. Plus of course the new Ardern regime mantras of

  • joined up thinking
  • long term plans
  • community involvement
  • taking account of aspirations

All of which means if nothing gets done, well we consulted and listened, so actual achievement does not matter.

Curiously delivery is not mentioned.

This is just as well as 2 years into the election cycle this ‘government’ has achieved noting with regard to what it identified as the major crisis when it came into office.

In 2 years Twyford has presided over KiwFail (aka KiwBuild), with the aid of Julie Anne Genter done very little to help transport in NZ and now seeks to improve our cities. Ohand by the way this man is also Minister of Economic Development.

I return to a comment I wrote in November

Twyford was his usual bombastic self. He would be much more effective if he stopped over selling and over promising and started delivering.

Don’t hold your breath for any achievement!


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