Dirty job – We have the man for you

I live next door to a man not given to much excitement.  He is a long time Parnell resident and a senior civil engineer with over 40 years of experience.  He talks stormwater and drains and huffs and puffs when Council do not empty the stormwater catchpits that hug the curbs of our urban roads.

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Viva the Unitary Plan – Bugger off Phil Twyford

You all know the Unitary Plan was transformation and it responded to a real need – a lack of available land and housing supply.  It did this not by the Hamilton method of development – that is sprawl as far as the eye can see but by strategically going up and deleting the density controls in the three main residential zones, thus creating more land or more houses/Ha.

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The City Centre GFA rules – What exactly is the point


While the team at MHG generally agrees that the Unitary Plan represents a significant improvement on the previous planning regimes in Auckland, there is one rule in particular that I can’t for the life of me understand why we kept. This being the gross floor area (GFA) controls in the City Centre.

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Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) Guide

The Auckland Unitary Plan is working! More houses than ever are being consented.  But this is only the beginning.  Check out our Unitary Plan Guide which shows that all over Auckland there is development potential.  This is intended as an “idiot’s guide” for accountants, lawyers, agents and to all those home owners who may become accidental developers. To read more please find the file attached. MHG’s Auckland Unitary Plan Guide

The reasons why new houses cost so much

A new report focusing on the cost of new residential developments, commissioned by Fetcher Building, has some surprising findings.

“Residential land is the largest cost contributor to new housing development and the cost is highly variable between New Zealand and Australian cities”.


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Trust me on this

This article was originally posted in ‘The Hobson’ magazine March 2019 issue.

Long summer nights, barbecues, with a syrah or rose to hand. Life is good. No excess, no deprivation, and you have choice as to when and where you buy your alcohol. Unless you’re in West Auckland. Here, liquor supply is under the control of an entity called The Trusts.

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First Home Buyers – the time is now! ….ish

At least that’s the rhetoric I’m hearing now. It’s probably because sales are getting slower in the suburbs first home buyers cannot afford. The average house price in Mt Albert, Royal Oak and Long Bay have declined the most out of all suburbs in Auckland in the last six months. And yet in suburbs like Takapuna and Onehunga, the average price is increasing. This is probably to do with a general increase in dwellings on the market in these areas. But it does show that homes are still being sold. And given the plethora of grants available to First Home Buyers it’s no wonder some suburbs are still hot despite the Auckland housing marketing hitting an 11 year low. With initiatives like the Welcome Home Loan and Home Start Grants, houses are there for the taking.

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Taking advantage of the Auckland Unitary Plan: Minor Housing Units

You’ve heard all about how the AUP is great for property owners. Today we are going enlighten you on just how some of you can take advantage! We’re discussing subdivision around an existing minor housing unit (MHU). If you currently have a minor dwelling on your property and you’re not located in the Single House Zone, this could be for you.

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Who are we ‘planning’ for?

Over the last two years I have given an Unitary Plan presentation in almost every nook of the Auckland region. The presentation sets out the changes to that have occurred to our planning system. Ultimately, I outline what may occur on sites and suburbs. There is often a collective gasp when I tell them that some neighbourhoods may have triple the number of dwellings. The crowds are often very uneasy that five level apartment buildings may go up around town centres without required parking. Read more

Bureaucracy vs Brilliance – Is poor culture the problem

Although we’re frustrated with Council’s bureaucracy all year long, the lead up to Christmas really begins to test our patience. Thankfully, a wonderfully crafted article by Jim Bright of the Sydney Morning Herald has let us know we’re not alone in the world. He has perfectly articulated what it’s like to work through Council, but also what it means to be an innovator. Something that we aspire to be at Mt Hobson Group! Read more