Nick Smith’s urban sprawl wrong for Auckland
David Shearer | Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 15:57
Nick Smith’s threat to smash Auckland’s urban limits to free up more land for housing shows National is out of touch, confused and wedded to a 1950s vision of uncontrolled sprawl, says Labour Leader David Shearer.
“Nick Smith, the MP for Nelson, has rushed up from Wellington to tell Aucklanders how their city should develop. Well, he should butt out and go back to his bureaucrats.
“National is all over the place when it comes to the future of Auckland.
“Nick Smith wants to legislate to forcibly open up new land on the city fringes because he doesn’t want to wait for Auckland’s Unitary Plan, which will bring in large areas of new land for development in a planned way.
“But bizarrely the Government has just rejected Auckland Council’s request to give the Unitary Plan legal weight later this year. The Government is insisting on a 3-4 year wait, which will mean new green-fields land won’t be available for development until 2016.
“National set up the Auckland super-city. But it seems hell bent on undermining the Council at every turn. Nick Smith should allow the Council to get on with the job of planning for the city’s future.
“Instead he is turning to the one and only tool National seems to have in its tool-box. Its answer to every problem is a hands-off approach - to deregulate planning and weaken the RMA.
“That would result in massive urban sprawl, and see rates skyrocket to pay for the infrastructure needed to service these rushed developments. People would end up spending hours every day stuck in motorway gridlock as they drive to and from remote suburbs.
“Aucklanders don’t want that. They want a balanced and planned approach – not just the far-flung suburbs that National wants to establish.
“Auckland needs a range of smart, well designed housing options. Development needs to go up as well as out. Labour’s KiwiBuild programme to build 100,000 new, entry-level homes in ten years is a credible plan to tackle housing affordability in Auckland and around the country,” says David Shearer.