Housing crisis? Mayor at odds with councillors


Mayor Aaron Hawkins. Photo: ODT files
Mayor Aaron Hawkins. Photo: ODT files

Cr Carmen Houlahan. Photo: ODT files
Cr Carmen Houlahan. Photo: ODT files
A discussion into housing capacity in Dunedin snowballed into a dispute over housing availability in the city at a recent city council meeting.

At a meeting of the planning and environment committee on Tuesday, Dunedin city councillors were discussing a report on meeting future housing capacity needs in the city.

The report said variation two to the second generation district plan would allow enough development to meet future housing needs by 2030, and there would be a shortfall of 100 houses by 2050.

Cr Carmen Houlahan said the city was in crisis and she thought the council needed to call an urgent housing summit.

Pressures were being placed on the city’s housing stock from various directions, including growing student numbers, an influx of workers on the new hospital and New Zealanders returning home from overseas because of the pandemic.

It was positive that the city had been experiencing growth, but if people were unable to get a house they were likely to leave again.

‘‘We need to sit down now, urgently, and say as a council: ‘Who can help us, what can we do?’’’

Cr Andrew Whiley said the report was ‘‘sombre reading’’and it made him think about how his children would be able to afford a house in 2030.

The current supply of houses versus demand had seen house prices ‘‘go through the roof’’.

Developers had told him there was a lot of land around the city that could be developed into housing if they were allowed.

Failure to allow more development ‘‘creates a lack of opportunity for a lot of other people to come and live, work and play in our city’’.

Mayor Aaron Hawkins said that after listening to some of his colleagues, he wondered if they had been reading the same report.

He said it showed the city was on track to meet its obligations to enable development of housing by 2030, ‘‘and just shy of what is required through until 2050’’.

Housing supply should not be conflated with housing affordability, he said.

Supply had a role in affordability, but the district plan did not influence record low interest rates or market conditions that made buying a second house easier than buying a first.

Committee chairman Cr David Benson-Pope said the council should be pleased about the work done under variation two to meet future housing needs.

‘‘People need to focus not on some other agenda that appears to be apparent around the table, but on the reality of what is in the document that has been presented to us.’’




View all

Yes, listen to your Mayor. As he glibly explains. Just wait another 9 years till they are on track and he will hitchhike over to your new totally unaffordable place for the house warming party. Snacks and booze will be provided of course, won't they? Make mine GF but definitely F. It all makes perfect sense, especially if you google conflated. Good on you Carmen for facing down the naked Emperor.

"Housing supply should not be conflated with housing affordability, he said".
So, if there are more houses available than are needed the prices will continue to go up? And if there are not enough houses people won't pay more to get one. No wonder the city is in such a mess with that sort of logic from Hawkins.

Hawkins and Pope believe in a report predicting housing demand until 2050, 29 years into the future.
Houlahan and Whiley look around, see what is happening and believe their eyes.
Then Pope says people that don't believe in "the reality of what is in the document" are pushing "some other agenda that appears to be apparent around the table".
It's obvious to me who is delusional and, instead of addressing issues raised, they claim it's a conspiracy theory.
I'm guessing they still believe Covid came from people eating bat soup, from a Wet Market that didn't sell bats and not the Wuhan Institute of Virology that "investigated highly dangerous viruses, such as SARS, influenza H5N1, Japanese encephalitis, and dengue, along with germ causing anthrax".
First it was the 2GP, then the 2GP+ and now the 2GP++.
Could that be a sign that the mythology behind the report is flawed?
Could it be the 2GP plan for Dunedin was fundamentally inadequate to start with?
Could their desire to micro-manage the city be blinding them to what Houlahan and Whiley can plainly see?

What a shocking surprise - a Mayor and a group of Councillors with no commercial experience are totally out of their depth... but hey, at least we've got cycle lanes that are unused and in reality are unusable for 9 months of the year. Keep up the good work Aaron and co.

They can convert the cycle lanes to tiny houses.

I use the cycle lanes 12 months of the year and I'm not alone out there. Just sayin'

Oh, so those are cycle lanes. Thanks for the clarification. I had been wondering what those strips were that are visible between February and April but are under snow and ice for the rest of the year.

"It was positive that the city had been experiencing growth...."
I laugh whenever a politician asserts this mindless mantra.
It displays their complete ignorance of basic arithmetic.
This video helps to explain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O133ppiVnWY).
Trying to shoehorn more people into an area results in unaffordable demands on infrastructure and a decrease in quality of life.

That is a great Youtube clip. Very informative. Well worth viewing.
Makes the peak energy crisis and emission levels more real than climate change predictions.
Dunedin's population growth has been near static, for as long as I can remember.
Boulder Colorado's population grew 9000 in the last 9 years to 107,000.
Could be a good case study for the DCC now people are prepared to move south.

When you have a mayor, who as a politician sadly failed, I believe he's better off running a bike shop, write a manual "how to free load" and set up a website "How to hitch hike around New Zealand for free".
He can conflate all of the above with great ease.

View all