John Palino is standing for Mayor of Auckland at the local elections this year.

Make no mistake, Auckland is in crisis and it is a crisis of the council's making. Housing is unaffordable due to artificial restrictions on land supply. The existing council's compact city growth vision has not worked and has led to a chronic undersupply of houses. Many people in Auckland cannot afford even our cheapest homes.

Restricting development through something as blunt as a metropolitan urban limit has prevented large scale construction and forced growth into suburban areas without the services to handle density.

The urban limit and its replacement, the rural urban boundary, must be removed so those who are prepared to develop new homes can do so. It's about enabling an efficient market which reflects the value of land rather than speculative investment.


Removing the urban limit is not about encouraging unconstrained sprawl. Infrastructure will always place limitations on development.

The key is managing infrastructure investment to balance the need to support competition in the property market and keep overall costs down for current and future residents; there's no point building cheap housing if there's no access to jobs and recreation.

That's why I am campaigning on reprioritising council investment to support massive new housing and commercial development along transport spines.

This means shifting our growth focus away from grossly inefficient retro-fitting of suburbs and channelling it into new satellite cities in the south, northwest and north.

The exact location of those centres is more a decision for property owners and developers than it is council planners. The council should be working with land owners and major developers and identifying where we can get new, dense centres of housing and employment so sprawl can be disincentivised rather than prohibited.

Agreements should be signed with developers to ensure minimum house construction targets are met in return for priority council infrastructure investment.

Developers must have the capacity to build through the good times as well as the bad, or next time there's a housing slow-down we'll again see all our subbies shift to Australia.

The best thing about new greenfield, master planned development is not just that we can plan for density and provide the services which meet intensified demand, it is that we can provide employment closer to where people live.

The current council's focus on the CBD is disastrous for house prices and congestion. The road system cannot handle demand when so many jobs are concentrated in the central city but most of the housing elsewhere.

The public transport we are planning is not sufficient to get people to and from all these diverse locations.

Focusing council investment in a few new centres along transport spines so that we get commercial alongside residential development would ease pressure on all our major transport arteries. By making it possible for people to live close to where they work we would reduce congestion and end the council-created housing affordability crisis.