Well, the Auckland Unitary Plan has landed after a difficult birth lasting four years.

It's been painful, but it's here now -- and we can only hope that our elected representatives have not only done the right thing by us, but will ensure the plan delivers what we need. Housing; lots of it, and affordable so people on median wages can buy a median home.

And let's hope developers don't throw up a tonne of sub-standard rubbish that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars to put right.

With such a huge building plan ahead of us -- 422,000 homes in 25 years -- the council needs to employ qualified and competent building inspectors, and not hire "here today, gone tomorrow" contractors to do it for them.


We need a city that not only provides homes the locals can afford, but -- as Andrea Rush writes opposite -- green spaces, clean water (remember when we used to take that for granted?) and healthy environments along with world-class public transport.

Here's hoping.

Our cover story looks at the high cost of building a home in New Zealand, and why Kiwis pay more than most any other comparable nation per square metre of home.

It's a difficult task to calculate the cost of building when comparing one country to another, but Diana Clement has pulled together the stats and concludes that skill shortages and our location play a major part.

Remember how the Government released the responsibility of training people to the industry? Well, now it is short of the skilled people it needs, it doesn't need to look far to understand why.

Elsewhere, economist Shamubeel Eaqub tells Sandra Goodwin that housing affordability won't change in the short term, despite the Government's comforting words.

His preference is to see more social housing built, and for those homes to remain in public hands.

All that and more, in this edition of the Property Report.

Click here for Steve Hart's weekly property report.