In Revolt: A recent Auckland Council rant in The Hobson

This Auckland Council rant article was originally published in THE HOBSON, Issue 45, January/ February 2018. THE HOBSON is a community magazine servicing Remuera, Parnell and Orakei.

I have decided once and for all, the bureaucracy that is Auckland Council is essentially incompetent and we should secede from the Super City and become the Borough of Mt Hobson. Not because the Auckland ‘regionwide’ concept is not a good one, not because we are concerned about rates, but because the Council is generally incompetent and it becomes more and more apparent as time goes by. In short, we are not getting value for money, and less so as we each pay more than twice the average rates of an Auckland region dwelling.  Read more

Auckland’s new Local Alcohol Policy

Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 Councils are able to create a local alcohol policy. Each area of New Zealand can create their own set up sub-rules that are specific to their community.  Created in consultation with their community. The purpose of the policy is to encourage the responsible sale, supply and consumption of alcohol and to reduce alcohol-related harm.

Once a local alcohol policy is in place, licencing authorities must consider it when making decisions about applications. While it’s optional to put in place, it does give local authority the power to address alcohol issues within their own communities. Something that the SASOA 2012 wouldn’t necessarily be specific enough to do. It also allows people living in these areas to have a say over how alcohol can be sold and supplied in their own neighbourhoods. For example, had Wellington had a LAP like ours this spat between a local business owner seeking a liquor licence and the Salvation Army would not be happening. Read more

Yimbys VS Nimbys – Change is coming

We’re posting something a little different this month. Rather than listening to any rants of mine (stand-by because one is coming) here is a millennials perspective on a sulking newspaper article and how the world looks to be changing.

Bella has been with us for around 18 months, she’s probably the first person you will see if you ever visit us. Have a read and please send in any feedback! We love it.

Change is coming!

A Christchurch woman has been told she needs to move her house to accommodate five new two-storey townhouses. A loose sound bite which has made for a fantastic headline. She is in absolute despair because her classic kiwi home considerably set back from the road, probably also with a beautiful private back yard, is being dwarfed and cramped by new higher density homes. It’s so cramped the contractors were regularly on her property doing work for next door, until she banned them.

Read more

Cross-lease to Fee Simple: Take advantage of the Auckland Unitary Plan

Until very recently, there hasn’t been any serious reward for converting your cross-lease title to a fee simple title. Sure, your property would have sold for more or you wouldn’t have to deal with your fellow land owner. But for the most part, it probably seemed easier to just leave it alone. We’re here to tell you that it may no longer be the best option to just leave it as a cross-lease! I know we keep banging on about it, but under the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) the potential for development has significantly increase all over Auckland.

Read more

Interviewing the greats: Clinton Bird – Urban Designer

We’re pleased to present the first in a series of “Interviewing the Greats”.  The first candidate is Clinton Bird, a long time Parnell resident and an expert in all things urban design.  I have known Clinton for over 12 years and have tremendous respect for his knowledge and diligence.  His attention to detail means he is in my mind one of New Zealand’s leading urban designers with his input adding value to projects both from a financial and more importantly an aesthetic point of view.  I often joke that if I had been in his classes at University he would have failed me for my lack of the qualities he possesses and would expect from his students.

Hamish Firth and Clinton Bird

Read more

Council staff enjoy rugby too!

Journalism is considered the fourth estate of society. Historically being placed alongside ‘the king, the clergy, and the commoners’. It’s role has been that of a watch dog of those other estates which have significant influence over society –  resulting in itself also gaining significant influence. In more recent times, the increase in dialogue around fake news and click bait, the actual weight given to the media has weakened somewhat. If Trump we’re to be believed, all press would be known as liars and spin-doctors.


Donald Trump calls the press fake news

Read more

Gaining resource consent on Waiheke Island: A starting point

Now that the Auckland Unitary Plan is all but completely implemented, the urban planning consistency across Auckland is 10/10. We have gone from a range of rules across each ward to an overarching system governing what can and cannot be done with our precious land. From checking multiple plans for a singular site to only one. And it’s a great plan at that! However, there are still some anomalies. Waiheke Island, the jewel in the crown that is the Hauraki Gulf, is one of them.

The beautiful Waiheke Island looking back towards the city.

Read more

Have you noticed the housing downturn?


For any one following the news, trying to sell a property or even looking at buying a property you may have noticed that things are beginning to sloooow down. The New Zealand Herald enjoys using headlines including the word ‘dramatically’, but we’re not so sure about that. We obviously know that New Zealand has recently gone through a major housing peak. With the average home in Auckland and Queenstown hitting the one million dollar mark, our national housing peak is no secret. When things start coming down from the million dollar mark the lack of buyers is always going to be noticeable. But is it the most predictable housing downturn in the last 40 years?

Read more

Lets get more efficient at building homes!

Model T

We are just three months away from electing a new government. That’s right; the New Zealand political mudslinging season is truly underway. Housing, whether it be homeless people sleeping in cars, the local marae or the general affordability issue, it’s fair to say that the big kahuna of the election will be housing (as the rest of the economy is ticking along). While policy announcements and tax cuts make for column inches in newspaper, it doesn’t get us any closer to a more balanced housing market.  I am talking about a housing market that allows first home buyers to afford a nice place of their own and to go out for the occasional “avo on toast”, as well as all the mum and dad investors not having to worry about the value of their multiple dwellings bottoming out. An unrealistic utopia? Perhaps. I believe that if our industry was more efficient, the production of homes could increase significantly.

Read more