When are we going to talk about allowing rapacious Developers building on Aucklands floodplains?

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When are we going to talk about how we’ve allowed Developers to build on Aucklands floodplains?

Let me quote former Auckland councillor and National’s Upper Harbour candidate, Cameron Brewer:

Last decade some Special Housing Areas were built in pretty marginal places, but it seems to have got worse since the 2016 Auckland Unitary Plan and the latest residential building boom,” 

“We were all promised the Unitary Plan was more about going up than out, but in the past few years it has been mostly ‘greenfields’ development on the outskirts of Auckland, and some of it in totally unsuitable locations.

“We got rid of the Auckland Regional Council in 2010 because many thought they were too litigious and a drag on development. Much of their work and warnings, however, are now being borne out.

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“In 2009 the regional council published some amazing fine-tooth mapping of the entire region identifying rapid flood hazard areas. Alarmingly in the intervening years, some well identified risk areas have been built on and in this latest event many sadly endured flash flooding.

“In the rush to get into the housing market, many Aucklanders have had little choice but to buy or rent properties in flood plains and rapid flood hazard areas. Developers have also headed to very problematic flood basins, with too many getting their way.” 

We had detailed flood maps in 2009, why were they ignored?

The Unitary Plan was supposed to build up not out – sure Brown’s incompetence on the night was shocking and his fecklessness with every passing day since makes him look like the Mr Bean of Disaster Management, but the issues of it are bigger than him.

Metservice receives over $20million each year from the Ministry of Transport for public safety forecasting services, but they also have a side hustle called ‘MetOcean Solutions’, where they provide detailed marine weather forecasting for their corporate clients. Is there a difference between the open source forecasting they provide the public and the far more detailed one they provide corporate clients, and if so does that need investigating?

Deputy Mayor is forced to drag Wayne Brown from stage after he continues to whine and complain about how the media is treating him during a stand up interview train wreck.

Look, I’ve been in the media game for over 30 years in this country and I have never witnessed a trainwreck interview like Wayne Brown’s one. His focus was on defending his own inaction and incompetence, not the welfare of the people of Auckland.

You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people and Wayne looks like he barely cares about the people.

But let’s acknowledge decades of underfunding Auckland’s infrastructure alongside rapacious Developers being allowed to build on floodplains have all been exacerbated by a warming climate that is generating catastrophic extreme events that are ultimately going to redefine our future.

The real question in front of us is, how many warnings do you clowns need before we collectively act?

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46 COMMENTS

  1. A couple of things:
    1). We are now a sub tropical city in regards to weather. Our water infrastructure needs to reflect that.
    2). We received (being generous) about 250mm of water over 3 days. In the recent Brisbane floods they received triple that in a city that is a lot lower in geography.

    So yes Bomber you are correct. Now watch for the following response:
    i). Both the Supercity and the government run for the hills in regards to water infrastructure required outside of marginal electorates therefore watch Mt Roskill, Waitakere and Te Atatu get some pork barreling infrastructure investment in the next few months. Both will blame each other and use their proxies in the MSM to smear the other side.
    ii). Waka Kotahi won’t be able to fix the roads quickly or effectively. Watch for state highway 25a into the coromandel become an election issue when it isn’t fixed in 3 months time. Ditto for Northland.
    iii). The climate cultists will continue their Cassandra shrills yet never offer anything practical solutions other than banning plastic cups.
    iv). Wood will totally fluff the Auckland response as he becomes beholden to the middle class cycle sadists and bureaucrats.

  2. The common Queenslander Style home was designed for exactly this type of climate. Height to protect the interior from flooding, and the benefits of underfloor airflow during the summer.

    Reducing available land during a housing crisis would be pretty disastrous. A combination of smart architecture and tropical-type water infrastructure can solve these problems.

    However, the economy needs to be turned around urgently first — considering the appalling state of the infrastructure and housing stock currently, it is unlikely anyone has enough money to undertake these projects at present.

  3. We build on floodplains because local councillors and NIMBYs have a hatred of building upwards and having multifamily housing anywhere the nice white people who own the single family dwellings in suburbs and who vote reliably against densification.

    So we are left with the floodplains.

    Wait until we have to do managed retreat from coastal houses – watch to see how homeowners get full compensation for their beachside property.

  4. This has been happening since the 1980’s – because developers can just take the council to environment court whose process has been designed to consent every application – 99% of all resource applications to environment court are consented – designed by the Natz and then helped by Labour and Greens.

    This has allowed the developers to disregard any planning rules because they know once in environment court which is very expensive they will win. In the coromandel residents won against a marina in environment court, only to have the developer go back with an even bigger application which they got through. This encourages all the judges to just let everything go through the first time as they are being told to make sure all consents go through no matter how outside planning rules it is.

    This is an example in Auckland but also was a big problem in Christchurch during the earthquake – (some of the red stickered liquefaction estates should never have been built on, when the council said no, the developers took it to the environment court and got it through – then all the houses were red stickered in the earthquake on land they knew was not safe).

    ‘Demolish my house’: Auckland couple wants out as flood-prone home hit again
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/demolish-my-house-auckland-couple-wants-out-as-flood-prone-home-hit-again/LVOHMVBBINAAFL4OHE5JELXMRE/

    “According to Hurley, the housing was built in the 1980s by a construction company that was declined consent by Auckland Council, due to the location’s flood risk.

    The company took Auckland Council to court and the council didn’t contest, so the company went ahead and built anyway.

    Because of the nature of flood risk, the house is built on poles – so it’s already elevated to avoid any initial floodwaters that reach the house.

    “The problem is council comes around and sees the poles and says ‘oh yeah, it’s structurally sound’, but the river overflows and we get a massive surge of water that’s like a rushing river,” said Hurley.

    A flood alarm was installed on a nearby hill to alert the residents to the flood risk. It didn’t go off on Wednesday morning.”

    Basically the developers just push all the problems on the future owners and ratepayers – they need to prosecute the directors of developments who are building poorly designed houses that fail and are not safe – while they profit.

  5. And we still plan on building on floodplanes, as evidenced by the reserves set aside by the ex labour MP Mayor of rotorua how lost the last election in last part due to those reserves and the motel misery. Why do i know that? i live bordering on one of these sicker areas and guess what, its all wet, soggy ground, water everywhere.
    And councils everywhere sign of on it, as in Auckland were the EX Labour MP Mayor Phil Goeff was lucky to not have this weather bomb under his watch. After all he just left the job 3 month ago!!
    You could even stipulate that the council worked of an emergency plan established by Phil Geoffs people, during his 6 years of Auckland Mayor 2016 – 2022.

    This is decades of mismanagment by local and national government, bucket passing since at least 25+ years, and the poor as always will pay the price as chances are they live in these flood plains – low income housing 🙂 – are underinsured, have no home contents insurance and now have no place to go and no money to go away with.

    I understand that Bomber is upset that Efeso did not win, but then that is an issue for Efeso to grapple with, the left needs to grapple with the fact that they did not field a candidate that appealed to the many layers of ‘leftism’ in Auckland, that the Green and Labour did not fully support, and for whom in the end very few voted. Dislike the Mayor as much as you want, but people not voting for someone who does not inspire them at all is not the fault of those that came out to vote for the winner and the loser alike, it is a problem the left needs to acknowledge and fix. Field better candidate. Uplift good people know, so that you don’t have a vast emptiness when people resign or retire.
    And fwiw, he left lost a few mayors in the last local elections, ask yourself why.
    In Rotorua it was because they wanted to build low income housing in areas that repeatedly and easily flood. go figure. It was because of people being stacked like cordwood in rundown motels and no one listening. It was because of increasing crime and no one listening.
    Maybe the betters need to listen to the locals more often? Personally i hope that this current Mayor stays. He is so far the only one that actually admitted that maybe houses got build in areas where they should have not. And any nice kind and committed to the Party principles mayor would have not done so.
    As with the Auckland Minister – whose wife is also a Auckland Councillor it might actually pay to have that old contrarian in the mix.
    Cause Auckland has never had a mayor in my lifetime that actually gave a fuck about the town, it was either a step up for some wanna be, or a step down from politics for some suit past his used by date.
    And the town and the people there deserve better.

  6. Interesting points, timely, due to about 400 – 500 dwellings being stuffed, requiring replacement…but, where do we build? Auckland land use is pretty much covered, apart from Regional/City parks, and the odd golf course…

    • Nathan you’re closer to the real problem as I see it and that’s us, the public. We blame everyone but ourselves. People want to live in areas close to existing cities. Why, because they want to be close to their work and they like living in attractive areas close to beaches and water. I’m not just talking flood plain here, but how we don’t care that houses are taking productive land and those in authority look the other way to keep their power and keep the public happy. We saw bad flooding in Napier where New subdivisions at sea level are draining through existing suburbs causing flooding. We’ve seen houses continually being built on the Heretaunga Plains in Hawkes Bay over some of the world’s most fertile land. In Auckland it’s no different with houses creeping south over beautiful market garden land. We the people don’t care because we want to live there and not somewhere remote and inconvenient. The city fathers have let the people build to the waters edge because the people want to live there and the councils don’t want to be voted out. Those who have purchased homes on cliff tops thought they were safe from rising sea levels but water will still have the last say.

      • Our problem here in NZ is that we build to own McMansions all the while we need 1 bdrm / 2 bedrm flats for long term rentals galore. These would be good starter flats for young ones moving to uni/job and for young couples with no or one kid and of course retirees. These could be build in decent sized apartment blocks close to fringes – maybe the first or second ring around a fringe to encourage walking/cycling and near public transport and public amenities. Even add a few three bedrooms in the mix for the families that don’t want a yard but like living near town.
        No we build apartments to own that cost the same as houses plus body corp on one side and on the other we build satellite towns or bedroom towns in the middle of nowhere near nothing.
        The biggest issue in the housing crisis that we never discuss the type of housing – size, location, age groups – that we need vs what is actually consented to and build. And how much that indifference to the needs vs the profit centers of builders and developers actually costs the country in treasury and mental and physical health of the public.

        The ones that build palaces on cliffs for the view hopefully have a good insurance policy for the day the cliffs caves as cliffs have done since the dawn of time.

  7. Really? I think a number of properties in flood areas were built ages ago. How many of the Mt Roskill, Mt Albert, South Auckland Northshore etc were built in the last say 20 years? Or are we saying new developments on areas that should have been left clear have impacted older suburbs? There are a lot of opinions but where are the numbers?

    By the way you can build up under the unitary plan.

    • A lot of the areas that got concreted over is in these old suburbs. It is called infill housing. Check out Royal Oak, and chances are it was just plumbed into the existing infrastructure. that is then the same infrastructure that can’t cope because all the sicker areas – sports fields, reserves, parks and back yards are now carparks and the water will need to go somewhere.

  8. So we’ve had stories of 3 year old state houses lifting off their piles and floating away?

    Anyone that’s even glanced at the news over the past 10 years will have noticed articles about how climate change will contribute to more and heavier rainfall

  9. Read our story on how greedy selfish individuals – real estate agents – developers and their lawyer sought sole trustee control over a vulnerable widows home after she had a stroke with the intention of developing her land into high rise apartments – and to date the criminals and abusers engaged in elder abuse have been protected.
    Making a today profit exploiting the most vulnerable. Criminal complaints or fraud and false pretences tabled with police in 2017 and to date have never been investigated. Rather the police acted on lies and false accusations by the criminals engaging in DARVO when caught out – blame shifting and playing the victims and placed an innocent man in prison – solitary confinement and terrorised his family and children at gun point.
    https://www.reputationguardian.nz/

  10. All thanks to the allowance of rich people to use property as a vehicle to their success.
    Housing market has been unsustainable for 20 years now. That million dollar villa in Auckland really is only worth $200k if that but thanks to limp wristed politicians serving the people who donate to them over the people who struggle here has meant decisions have been made to allow the rich to get richer and who cares about aftermath, they made their money.

  11. Local politicians only need to win a popularity contest with ratepayers, we generally have no idea of their background or their true motives of wanting to be in charge and making the rules.
    Wish this were a country where people who run this country are experts in the feilds required to run things rather than just people who can act popular when the time comes.

    • Most are there for the money no one else would hire them.That goes for both local body and central government.

  12. And it happened in Christchurch prior to the earthquakes. Entire suburbs that should never have been built destroyed. Suburbs that council didn’t want to allow, but were overruled by courts.

  13. NZ is hilarious councils will regulate which monoploy you have to get your gib board from but not that you can’t build in dangerous places

  14. Panuku! Panuku! Panuku! Paul Majurey! Paul Majurey! Paul Majurey! Panuku! Panuku! Panuku! Paul Majurey! Paul Majurey! Paul Majurey! Panuku! Panuku! Panuku! Paul Majurey! Paul Majurey! Paul Majurey! Panuku! Panuku! Panuku! Paul Majurey! Paul Majurey! Paul Majurey!

  15. We can talk about how we’ve allowed Developers to build on Aucklands floodplains, but first we have to address the planning rules that drove them to do that. Developers like to build on easy, flat sections with good ground conditions, not precipitous slopes and clay that becomes diarrhoea when mixed with water.

    This is the entirely the result of the council mantra of in-fill housing and then intensification, in order to prevent urban sprawl. With hindsight, if we’d spread Auckland out instead and maintained bush on the slopes and the gullies, we would be in the mess we’re in now.

    Auckland is surrounded by sea, pony clubs and lifestyle blocks. The rich folk with the Range Rovers don’t want suburban Auckland intruding into their lives so influence the Council to ration land. So here we are. It’s no surprise that the previous two mayors both had lifestyle blocks.

    • Andrew When I do read you you always seem to represent negative closed thinking. Could you stir the cup so we get the sugar taste? Referring to your comments on lifestyle blocks and pony clubs and the land those people live on, I feel happy that the urban sprawl is not eating up potential horticultural land. Really they are just custodians of it if they are not allowed to create subdivisions on it. Don’t spout out 20th century thunks, think again please.

  16. May I say that since it became a National Government instigated Super City that Auckland has changed alot and not really in the best interest of its inhabitants in areas of Auckland that are prone to flooding.
    Decades ago there used to be one house/dwelling on a property and alot of trees. Over the past 12 plus years since the “Super City” was created there are now alot of Concrete Jungles and as a result alot of flooding.
    Where there was once a form of drainage and with trees there are now areas with massive amount of concreting and flooding as a result. I may well be proven wrong but I do wonder if any parts of Auckland that experienced flooding were parts that have had massive concreting development in what I will call the Upward Build???!!!
    We all know concrete is not a soluble material but with Auckland building Upwards even in townhouses/units/apartments or whatever little or no attention has been given to below street level matters.
    There are now areas of Auckland that are prone to flooding and especially more so since 2010 since the Super City came into existence.
    I am certain this amount of flooding isn’t the first and neither will it be the last. It is ongoing because in a way the development of Auckland especially has resulted in no proper surface run off.
    Another problem with the creation of the “Super City’ is whilst there were separate Councils in the past drainage was dealt with in a proper manner. Today there are ‘contractors’ involved in the drainage and perhaps when it came to AC the Cheapest Option was the Best Option but it didn’t do Aucklanders any good in the long run. That and perhaps a few “backhanders’ into someones’ bank account.
    I am not inferring that bribery has been a part of NZ life in local or central government. Just it seems some people with the right contacts profited more so than others especially in the creation of the ‘Super City” that may as well be referred to as the City of Fails.
    On Friday we had a very angry neighbour knock at our door demanding we come to their place which had experienced flooding. Our property is sloping and it also has trees. I will say firstly that trees appear to be the sadly lacking entity in Auckland since the Great Massive Build Up. Whilst foliage from trees around a neigbourhood can cause problems it wasn’t necessarily our trees to blame and I pointed this out to the neighour.
    What I also pointed out is prior to them purchasing a downstairs unit down a concreted driveway with lots of concrete around them that did the real estate salesperson warn them at the time that the area is prone to flooding? They admitted that yes the salesperson had told them that. But they still blamed OUR trees.

  17. “. . . how many warnings do you clowns need before we collectively act?”

    What should the clowns do if they did decide to act?

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