The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The magical thinking is still strong in Wellington

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The magical thinking is still strong in Wellington

Simeon Brown still wants councils to magick up new water entities to borrow without Government guarantees, which ratings agencies and investors won't tolerate; Wellington panel rejects densification
Brown’s interview this week was yet another example of belief in the cheerful fairytale that you can have fast growth without high infrastructure spending, higher taxes or angry NIMBYs. File photo: Lynn Grieveson

TL;DR: Local Government, Transport and Auckland Minister Simeon Brown still believes councils can create off-balance-sheet water authorities able to borrow tens of billions of dollars without Crown or council guarantees: a stance rejected repeatedly by ratings agencies and fund managers as too expensive and dangerous.

Redolent of the same magical thinking that somehow NIMBY ratepayers and taxpayers can have strong population growth and infastructure without having to pay higher taxes, take on extra debt or have those extra people living near them, Wellington City Council’s Independent Hearings Panel into housing densification has decided against allowing significant densification of housing, saying it didn’t think “Character Precinct provisions are likely to have any effect on the provision of affordable housing.” It even moved to de-densify housing in Wellington’s leafiest suburbs.

Elsewhere in the news in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy and beyond at 9 am:

  • Nearly 200 employers have had their licence to hire migrants revoked or suspended as an Immigration NZ probe into work visa abuse continues, with a further 167 under investigation. RNZ Lucy Xia

  • Treasury has advised the new Government to look at reforms to tax capital and capital gains in order to improve its financial sustainability and take pressure off house prices. Stuff Susan Edmunds

  • Massive population growth on Auckland’s North Shore has raised parental concerns about the dangers of heat stress and accidents in standing-room-only buses for school children that don’t have airconditioning. NZ Herald Benjamin Plummer.

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The magical thinking is still strong in Wellington

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