Larry Williams: Dumping house density proposal the right thing to do

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Listen to Larry Williams now on Newstalk ZB, 4pm to 7pm. Today he looks at the Auckland Council's rejection of housing density changes for some suburbs.
An eastern suburbs resident studies a map of proposed housing density changes. Photo / Dean Purcell
An eastern suburbs resident studies a map of proposed housing density changes. Photo / Dean Purcell

The Auckland Council has wisely dumped the proposal to increase housing density in the suburbs. Facing revolt, enough councillors "caved in" to the proposal.

The Council bungled this one. There was no consultation on the Council's "out of scope" changes to the Unitary Plan's intensification rules.

Totally undemocratic - but it gets worse. Without the support of the unelected Maori statutory board member on the committee that voted the change in, the proposal would not have even passed in the first place.

Unelected Maori statutory board members should not be voting on council business, let alone dictating critical issues. The very notion is hare-brained stupidity.

The remarkable thing is eight councillors voted in favour of the untenable, non-consultative change.

Prior to council facing up to outraged residents, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said "Auckland needs more homes without compromising quality".

This is where Ms Hulse misses the point. It's not just about intensification.

No doubt there is a degree of NIMBY-ism (not in my back yard) out there, but folks don't trust developers to deliver quality homes.

Residents are worried their suburbs will be trashed, which means their house values will be trashed - and there is good reason to be worried. The developers' plans always look "flashy" but seldom deliver.

Just look around; terrible design, awful housing areas spread across the city. junky and tacky.

The city's planners have approved these projects and these are the people trying to tell residents that "quality" is now all under control.

No wonder there's a revolt in the suburbs. These people aren't stupid.

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Newstalk ZB radio host Larry Williams. Photo / Michael Craig
Newstalk ZB radio host Larry Williams. Photo / Michael Craig

- NZME.

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