Auckland must dump the ideology of a compact city and spread out and grow to make housing affordable, says Auckland councillor Greg Sayers.
"Auckland should spread out predominantly to the south where there is a lot of suitable land," Sayers says in a self-published book, How to Fix Auckland's Housing Crisis.
The Rodney councillor joins other right-leaning advocates who believe the solution to the city's housing crisis is to abolish the rural-urban boundary that controls land supply for housing, freeing up planning rules to make it easier for developers and funding infrastructure through user-pays.
It is morally wrong that many of our next generation of youth have given up any sense of hope of ever becoming homeowners
The book is dedicated to former Auckland councillor Dick Quax, a fierce opponent of the compact city model, and contains a forward by former Reserve Bank Governor and National Party leader Don Brash.
"In well-functioning cities, the median house price should be about three times the median household income, as it used to be in New Zealand 30 years ago. Now it is more than nine times," Brash said.
Sayers said the "anti-sprawling" of houses into rural area has pushed land prices up and meant higher house prices.
"While there are downsides to sprawl, as Aucklanders we need to consider whether sprawl is as bad as super high house prices that are radically changing the nature of our city for the worse," he said.
Auckland, he said, was a beautiful and vibrant city with many highly desirable qualities, but council, through its planning had created a city where housing is unaffordable.
"No sailing regatta, sports stadium, pink cycleway, giant hanging street mirror or white water rafting complex can make us one of the greatest cities in the world if we are turning a blind eye to the well-being of fellow citizens living in Third World conditions."
Sayers said the bulk of the root cause of the city's housing crisis rests squarely on the shoulders of Auckland Council, and in particular its planning and consenting processes.
He wants to see house building made easier with fewer rules, lower council costs and speeding up consenting times.
One new initiative he supports is a new user-pays model for infrastructure. Last November, it was announced the owners of 9000 new homes at Milldale, north of Auckland, will pay an "infrastructure payment" to bring forward roading and water work.
The cost of the payment will be about $1000 per section for 35 years. It will be added to rate bills collected by Auckland Council.
Sayers said homeowners should be able to insure their house against poor workmanship for a lifetime, removing the high costs that council adds to the price of a new house through its approach to risk management.
The solutions in the book, he said, are essential to solving Auckland's rapidly growing wealth inequality and poverty issues, dealing with homelessness, eliminating diseases associated with overcrowding and reversing house prices from being the ninth most unaffordable in the world.
"It is morally wrong that many of our next generation of youth have given up any sense of hope of ever becoming homeowners," Sayers said.
When the Herald approached Mayor Phil Goff for comment, a spokesman said he had not seen or read the book yet.
For information about the book go to: www.gregsayers.co.nz