It's like watching a slow-motion train wreck. Despite more than a year of accords, law changes, unitary plans and talk, Auckland's housing consents are still lagging behind its population growth.

Building consent figures out this week show the number for the Auckland region in the first six months of the year are up just 21 per cent from the first half of last year.

House building in Auckland has bounced from its record lows in 2008 — but the rebound has more of a feel of a dead cat bounce than the sort of surge needed to repair the damage.

When momentum should be accelerating, consenting and building appear to be stagnating.

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Special housing areas have been created under the Auckland Housing Accord and there has been a lot of noise about new building, but very few if any new houses have been built.

Developers I talk to still chafe at the cost and time involved with consents.

Despite the just-passed law designed to harden up the rules around development contributions, the big charges for developers keep coming.

There appears to be a lack of political will in Auckland to fight the battles to encourage Auckland to grow both up and out.

One recent local dispute reinforced how tough the battle against Auckland Nimbys (Not in My Back Yard) and Bananas (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone) has become.

Property tycoon Michael Friedlander and QC Marie Dyhrberg want to remove eight villas in Ponsonby for more intensive development. Local residents Bill Ralston, Janet Wilson and Hamish Keith are fighting the plan.

It is just one of the many fights breaking out from residents who don't want change, and those who want to build more homes and develop the central city.

The missing voice is that of the young and poor who are locked out of home ownership in Auckland by the restrictions and infrastructure fees on development.

When is a politician going to stand up to the rich, comfortable and mostly old property owners of central Auckland and tell them to think of the young and poor when they block development, not to mention the rest of the country's exporters and home owners labouring under a higher interest rate and currency than is necessary?

There is political will from Wellington. But the Auckland Council and Mayor Len Brown should start pushing for much faster and more intensive development in the centre and on the fringes. Or these powers should be nationalised.