Wednesday's pick 'o the links: NIMBY North Shore
Birkenhead boomers campaign to stop any new homes being built anywhere near them while hundreds of kids live for months in motels; Oranga Tamariki reveals one child in care lived in motel for 651 days
TLDR: Here’s my pick of the news links elsewhere from my roundings of the traps since 4am here and overseas, including one doozy of a NIMBY outburst in Birkenhead and Oranga Tamariki revealing some kids in care have stayed in motels for 600 nights.
Paying subscribers can see all the details and links below the paywall fold.
In Aotearoa’s political economy
NIMBYs ahoy in Birkenhead - Jonathan Killick reported via Stuff yesterday on a meeting of residents in Beachhaven in the suburb of Birkenhead just across from the Auckland CBD. They were not happy. It is, sadly, a sign of our times of rising inequality and intolerance of change and growth (but not of any restrictions on population growth and the cheap GDP growth and asset price growth it brings with it).
Here’s a few snippets to illustrate (bolding mine):
A public meeting was held in January at which 180 attendees discussed how to prevent developer Bentley Studios from getting resource consent to develop a 7000m² site near Cresta Ave and Beach Haven Rd.
One of the attendees fought back tears. “Two-thirds of these apartments are singles or studios which means bedroom commuters who are not going to be a part of this community or have any connection,” she said.
“I love this f...ing village with all my heart and I don’t want to see it change.”
‘I don’t want change, or at least anywhere near me’
This exchange encapsulates the problem. Population growth means infrastructure spending, except no one wants to pay for it.
Another member of the crowd claimed the waste pipes in Beach Haven were too small deal with the scale of the proposed development.
“It was never set up for this multi-storey bullshit. The pipe is too bloody small and if the developer wants to come and build a monstrosity here, they can pay to replace it.”
These comments nicely captures the mood in many of the leafy suburbs close to the CBDs.
A woman in the crowd said she had been used to seeing the same houses on her daily commute and didn’t want the area to change.
“Can’t they build on green land that’s 10 minutes up the motorway? I don’t understand why they’re coming to Beach Haven, we’re not an apartment community,” she said.
Crispin Robertson, who organised the meeting, was also concerned that the area wasn’t right for young singles.
“There’s no supermarket or café here for them,” he said.
Bragging about stopping the building new homes is yet to be become socially unacceptable.
Kaipātiki Local Board chair John Gillon told the crowd he had previously helped residents stop or reduce two developments in nearby Birkenhead, including 50 units on Zion Rd.
He advised Beach Havenites that in those cases locals had pooled together funds and hired a lawyer. A member of the crowd asked whether the local board might have some spare cash to contribute.
And here’s something for Nicola Willis, the mother of last year’s Townhouse Nation accord, to see:
National Party’s Dan Bidois, who was described at the meeting as “MP in waiting”, turned to a reporter and said: “You can put this on the record, I oppose the development. I don’t think it should be down there.”
The magical thinking is strong with these ones
So how does this all add up? National wants to:
release the migration shackles without any debate or limit on population growth, even faster and with less debate than Labour;
has yet to say how it would fund the necessary infrastructure growth to sustainably grow the population;
says it wants to solve housing affordability with extra housing supply; and,
wants to remove the sorts of RMA rights to local residents blocking developments.
It does not compute, and Labour is barely any better.
It’s another example of magical thinking. Both major parties are happy to take the low interest rates and surging tax revenues from population growth, but neither want to use the crown’s balance sheet to fund the necessary infrastructure and neither want to even debate population growth, let alone plan for it.
The assumption embedded in the magical thinking is that somehow public/private partnerships or some sort of Government-sponsored but not Government-guaranteed debt that doesn’t push up mortgage rates will solve the problem. Never has and won’t now at the scale required.
The end result is fast population growth without the infrastructure, especially for housing, at the same time as falling Budget deficits, less Government debt, lower interest rates and higher house prices. That is actually a formula median-voting home owners love, but that means we have tens of thousands of people stuck on housing waiting lists and hundreds of kids living in motels. It also means those kids of renters can only look to Australia for a future. Luckily for them, Australia is set to give them a full citizenship pathway as soon as April 24, and is gearing up for 300,000 new migrants this year, which it has planned for with its official Population strategy office.
The result? Kids living in motels
Anna Leask has done the OIA legwork via the NZ Herald (unpaywalled) to find out from Oranga Tamariki that one young person in care stayed in a motel for nearly two years.
A young person in state care lived in a motel for more than 600 days until suitable accommodation could be found.
The Herald can reveal that other young people spent more than 100 and 200 nights living in motels across the country as it was considered the “best option” for them with no suitable alternatives.
The figures around motel placements for young Kiwis in care were released by Oranga Tamariki under the Official Information Act.
This is the Aotearoa we live in now. Boomers in Birkenhead campaign to stop housebuilding that would allow young brown people into their suburb. Oranga Tamariki puts the most vulnerable ones into motels.
It also confirmed that the young person who spent the most time in a motel was placed there on March 31 2021 and “transitioned successfully to new care arrangements” on January 11 this year - boosting their total stay to 651 days.
“There are numerous reasons why tamariki need to enter motel accommodation, however, the most common reason is the breakdown of their usual care arrangement, most often linked to challenging behaviour,” Leota told the Herald.
“Other factors include unplanned entries to care when police utilise their powers under the Oranga Tamariki Act to place tamariki in the custody of the chief executive; mental health and disability concerns and Covid restrictions meaning that it has not been possible to place tamariki with caregivers immediately.”
Does anyone think this is sustainable?
Elsewhere in our political economy
With Ardern leaving, is a capital gains tax back on the table? Stuff
Christoper Luxon calls co-governance a 'divisive and immature conversation' Stuff
Uni working with mana whenua to review Maori name: academic ODT-$$$
Southern mayors calling for 3 Waters rethink ODT-$$$
Unions racing to nail down Fair Pay Agreements before election Stuff
Wayne Brown: The case for light rail is lighter than ever - NZ Herald-$$$
Chris Hipkins uses first official event as incoming PM to tell story of co-governance at local park Stuff
Chris Hipkins as PM: What Christchurch's swing voters think Stuff
MediaWorks announces 90 staff to lose jobs in cost cutting move Stuff
In geopolitics and the global economy
Bank of Japan eases bond market strains with loans to banks. FT-$$$
Europe’s economy picks up, raising hopes global recession threat is receding. WSJ
Australian price and purchase cost pressures have probably peaked: NAB. AFR-$$$
Amazon unveils generic prescription drug plan for Prime members. Amazon
US Confronts China Over Companies’ Ties to Russian War Effort Bloomberg
India Unveils Mobile Operating System in Self-Reliance Pursuit Bloomberg
Jacinda Ardern Leaves a Mixed Record on Tackling Climate Change Bloomberg
Debt-Limit Fight Risks Early End to Fed Quantitative Tightening Bloomberg
New Fiji leader muscles up to Beijing - The Australian-$$$
Quote of the day
“We shouldn’t kid ourselves that everything about this inflationary environment is fixable by somebody. There is a bit too much of that going on, with a mentality from some that the Reserve Bank should keep hiking interest rates until it kills us all.
“In the last few weeks some of the biggest sources of inflationary pressure have been the weather and domestic petrol prices going on their way back up.” BNZ research head Stephen Toplis via Stuff.
Ka kite ano
PS. I subscribe to FT, WSJ, Bloomberg, The Australian, the AFR, the ODT, NZ Herald, Newsroom Pro, NBR and a bunch of Substacks. I’ll put the ‘gift’ links in where I can, and put free links in where I can.
Free link with three free opens.
Free link with five free opens.