Archive | Manukau growth

Manukau opts for 4.9% rates rise amid some structural rethinking

Published 6 March 2008

Manukau City Council was halfway through a 6-year spell in its long-term plan for which it agreed a 5.9% annual rate rise, when it broke the circuit.


The half hour at the end of a 12½-hour meeting day was hardly the time to be setting new policy, but councillors had been working towards it. They questioned the rationale for various staff capital proposals and even turned down further spending on one which had been promoted to the Regional Economic Development Forum only a week earlier as a valuable tourism prospect.


So when the councillors reached item 24 on the agenda, the level of rate increase, it was no surprise when mayor Len Brown recommended a 4.9% increase instead of the 5.9% staff had been working their numbers on.


Councillors had looked at 4.9% on 25 February, though staff advised them this level of increase was unsustainable. Unlike some councils in the region – still expanding staff numbers in line with boom times – Manukau has reduced staff over the past year, largely through technological efficiency gains. But despite the change in leadership – Mr Brown replacing longtime mayor Sir Barry Curtis and some bright new faces around the council table – the city still holds aspirations for capital improvements.


Not quite in the same grand vein as Sir Barry would have had things; in fact, more mundane, down at quality service level.


New councillor Michael Williams kept pricking the balloon long after others thought it was already deflated. And second-termer Jami-Lee Ross was impressive in turning the planning for a city-centre parking building on its head: Why was the council spending money on design & consents ahead of the ownership model? If you chose not to own it – and he argued it wasn’t council business – an enterprise which knew how to develop & operate such businesses would take it on if it saw commercial value.


These were councillor moves for a radical rethink on spending. Councillor (& Property Council researcher) Daniel Newman joined them, suggesting a low-depreciation, high-debt model for the council.


That would push costs on to future generations. At the same time, though, these councillors talked of getting rate rises down to the real inflation rate (3-4%?) rather than the council rate of inflation (about 5%), recognising that continuing hefty rises will become unaffordable for ratepayers and therefore unsustainable.


Which sustainability has priority: Sustaining service levels through the city, with upgrades, as people continually expect, or sustaining price rises at a manageable level? Politicians tend to think of price rises in electability terms, and there was some of that at this meeting, but mostly the thought was for the ratepayer pocket: How can a council justify continually raising rates beyond the stated consumer inflation rate?


Other councils are facing the same issue: To maintain the expected upgrades in services & capital works, huge cost rises are required and the sole mechanism for most to cover those costs is a rise in rates. Councils tend to ignore reality in budgeting far beyond the rest of the world’s inflation rate, so the Manukau vote was a welcome pause, though it fell far short of the deep & penetrating thinking councils will require if they’re to escape the cost-plus spiral.


The council’s finance director, Dave Foster, explained how the councillors could opt for a lower rates increase this time but that, eventually, rates increases would have to catch up. But he also introduced a palliative, so rates increases will be grouped closely around the proposed rise in 2 property revaluation years, rather than having a rates increase that could vary between 4.1-15% next year.


The proposed rates increase & draft annual plan now go to public consultation. Submissions close on Friday 18 April, with public hearings Tuesday-Friday 29 April-2 May and adoption the plan scheduled for Thursday 19 June.


Want to comment? Email [email protected].


Attribution: Company statement, story written by Bob Dey for The Bob Dey Property Report.

Continue Reading

Manukau councillors make momentous changes to growth plans

Published 7 March 2008

Manukau City Council made 5 significant negative decisions affecting city development last night, and 2 positives.


While some of the biggest decisions are immediate negatives, they may yet yield positive outcomes for the city after more consideration. For example, a decision to look at ownership options for a city-centre parking building may result in bidding for the site & operation, taking the risk away from the council.


The council:


deferred a report on cost implications of the Manurewa concept plan & Otara growth centre planturned down a staff proposal for its council-controlled organisation, Tomorrow’s Manukau Properties Ltd, to spawn a series of subsidiaries to manage town centre developmentagreed to cut the proposed increase to $5 million for buying houses along the Ameti route, back to $3 millionagreed to look at ownership options for a city-centre parking building instead of continuing with design & consent work based on council ownershipdeferred extra spending on the Otuataua stonefields historic reserve – though not indefinitely, which some councillors wanted, butkept the city centre on the list of town centres up for design & district plan changeskept funding in place to support extension of the rail spur into the city centre. 

2 specific plans deferred


Councillors had agreed to put the plans for Manurewa & Otara forward after 3 days of deliberations on the annual plan 2 weeks ago.


At the same meeting on the annual plan, councillors had agreed staff should compile a draft statement of proposal on the subsidiary council-controlled organisations for public consultation, on the basis that this would be the best mechanism for achieving development of growth centres around the city.


The mayor, Len Brown, said he’d be loathe to put money in the budget for Otara “when the outcome we want isn’t quite clear”. This was despite trying for 12 years as a councillor for Otara to get reinvestment in the old town centre, saying “Nothing substantive will happen there unless we can get a public or private sector partner to invest in it” and commenting that, “for an Otara resident, the fact that it’s called Tin City has been very hard to deal with over the years”.


Mr Brown said he’d like to work with ward councillors over the next 6 months to see what partnership opportunities were available.


Cllr Colleen Brown said the people of Manurewa had been waiting for renovations for 7 years: “It’s a very, very tired-looking area.”


Chief executive Leigh Auton told the council: “Manurewa has had a concept plan developed and we’re implementing that. The issue you’re looking at with SouthMall is the governance options. We need time to work out how we’re going to exercise strategy round SouthMall. At Otara, we haven’t done the concept plan.”


No to baby CCOs


On the council-controlled organisations, staff failed to get their message across that the best mechanism was for separate subsidiaries for each town centre, enabling partners to deal with one focused organisation and funding to be tied to that one centre.


Several councillors could see no justification for a series of subsidiaries, although strategy director Grant Taylor said that, if agreement for the new organisations wasn’t reached now, when it came time to develop each centre the council would have to go out to consultation before establishing a new council-controlled organisation.


“It doesn’t lock the council into anything at any town centre. This is purely about the mechanism.” Asked why there should be a series of companies, he said: “You can envisage us working with a partner in Papatoetoe that is different from a partner in Otara….. but they are divisions of Tomorrow’s Manukau Properties.”


Cllr Dick Quax: “I am concerned that we will become property developers, because some developments we go into will not be as attractive to a joint-venture partner, and so we are going to become a developer in the most risky developments throughout the city. Would that be correct?”


Mr Taylor: “No, that’s not a correct assumption.” He said in all cases the risks would be carefully evaluated, and usually there would be an element of council land. “This proposal gives you the best chance of leveraging off your property and getting developed.”


And Cllr Anne Candy came forward with the social bogy: “I can see a huge backlash here, when they (residents) see something they treasure taken out of their hands, almost, by people who do not know that area, haven’t even walked the streets of that centre.”


Mr Taylor: “All of them will be 100% owned by the council. The council decides its objectives & the direction it will take.”


Mr Auton showed his exasperation before the mayor decided to pull the plug and seek further analysis. Mr Auton: “Maybe we have to spend more time talking about the way forward. I do not understand how we can come to an arrangement with partners (without such an entity)… The other scenario is we exit and sell off the land. The market wants us to be a partner. My concern is, you’re pushing to have constant plans done for these town centre, but unless you have a plan to implement, a way forward, I don’t see the point. You change the district plan and so what, you let the market come & decide. I can understand the politics about community apprehension about this but I can’t see how we can move & redevelop our centres without some sort of mechanism.”


Mr Brown, realising a number of councillors were uncomfortable with the idea, said: “There’s a time to stop pushing water up hill and I suspect this is the time on this particular item….. There’s nothing to be lost if we defer this for a year. It’s not an issue that will compromise our developmental programme.”


Council staff will put together a model based on redevelopment of Papatoetoe over the next few months.


Money for Ameti property purchases cut


Council staff proposed increasing the budget for property purchases along the Ameti (Auckland-Manukau eastern transport initative) route from $1.5 million to $5 million. However Cllr Colleen Brown, smarting over the failure to advance the town centre design for Manurewa, commented: “I’d like to open a bidding war on this. It’s doubling the budget council officers actually asked for.”


She was successful, cutting the extra for this year from $3.5 million to $1.5 million. Council economic director Rick Walden said: “We’re talking 100 properties which could be $60 million. Even given that the project is likely to take longer than we think to commence, say 10 years, it would take $6 million/year to achieve that (all the purchases).”


Transport group manager Chris Freke said in his report $5 million would buy 13 properties but there were willing sellers for 30, worth $14 million. “Early purchase obviously assists owners who can not otherwise sell and makes progress on what will be a large task of acquiring all the necessary properties.”


City centre design


A recommendation was made to remove the Manukau City Centre from the list of centres up for town centre design & district plan changes, in favour of other centres, but council staff said major projects such as a rail station, a parking building, maybe a university, needed council input. The majority supported keeping the city centre on the list.


Extra money for Otuataua development shelved


The fifth negative for the night was the decision not to approve any additional funding for the Otuataua stonefields historic reserve in the annual plan, but to consider proposals in the long-term plan through to 2019.


Cllr Michael Williams argued unsuccessfully for indefinitely deferring concept work. He didn’t want to denigrate the site, but said: “This council is bleeding cash. I’m just trying to cut some expenditure.”


Mangere councillor Hugh Graham said the stonefields reserve was an opportunity for employment for people at 3 marae by boosting tourism & promoting Maori culture 10 minutes from the international airport.


Other councillors’ negative attitudes towards the project were surprising, given that the Manukau council has been promoting its Gateway project to the Regional Economic Development Forum as a scheme worthy of support for national funding.


Parking shortage – but question over council development role


The proposed 9-storey 916-space parking building, with retail on half the ground floor, on Clist Crescent is estimated to cost $23 million, based on early design concepts. The council rejected a recommendation to retain the $2.1 million already budgeted for design & matters such as consent, and instead pushed forward investigation of ownership models.into the long-term plan process.


Cllr Jami-Lee Ross said it wasn’t the council’s responsibility to build & own a parking building. He said looking at ownership options first could mean the council wouldn’t have to commit to design work.


Cllr Michael Williams said the biggest risk was that the council wouldn’t achieve projected earnings, “and it’s an even riskier business in the climate we’re going into…. We may have the idea that this is a cbd but in fact it is a satellite business district. In the city (Auckland), there is a shortage of land & parking and people pay to park in it, but we don’t have that here.”


Cllr Quax said such projects began with a small cost and to justify that expense more money would be spent: “We are not into carparking, we are into governance here. Parking is not our business.”


Cllr Colleen Brown said the council should be supporting public transport, not cars. She asked: “What are our ratepayers going to see for it? I doubt that our rates will go down.”


Work on rail link continues


The mayor said he’d fought for 12 years in the council against the rail spur because he was concerned about the linking. The question for him was how far in it would go, to Hayman Park or Osterley. “This is key to development of the Manukau cbd.”


He said the debate on AUT (the Auckland University of Technology) coming to Manukau, centred on Hayman Park, was coming “faster than you think”. But he added: “The rail spur is not just about economic development but servicing the needs of the people of this city. Keep this on track.”


Cllr Bob Wichman thought a line along the median strip through to Botany and round to Panmure was a good idea, but he wasn’t sure about the spur.


Cllr Michael Williams said he opposed goldplating: “$6.5 million for 100m which you can walk, it’s just not worth it.” He supported the rail link in but not the extension.


Chief executive Leigh Auton said: “There is a contract out there with Leightons – you’ve got about 2 months to do a variation of contract” and councillors could debate where the railhead would be at their forum on 18 March.


“Can I assure you this is one of the best-leveraged infrastructure deals you will ever get – it’s about $70 million, of which our contribution is about $10 million.”


Cllr Quax said railways needed population density at both ends and this project would never have it. Nevertheless, the council agreed to support continued funding for the extension project.


Want to comment? Email [email protected].


Attribution: Council meeting, story written by Bob Dey for The Bob Dey Property Report.

Continue Reading

Manukau wins international liveable communities awards

Published 2 December 2007

Manukau City Council has won 3 awards at the International Awards for Liveable Communities, hosted by Westminster City Council in London.


Manukau won a global award for heritage management, a gold award in the environmentally sustainable project category for its entry, Flat Bush new town, and a silver award in the whole city category.


Cllr Anne Candy, who led a Manukau delegation, said the United Nations-backed awards recognised environmental management and the creation of liveable communities, and encouraged leadership in providing a vibrant, environmentally sustainable community that improves quality of life.


Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].


Attribution: Council release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

Continue Reading

Manukau City Council progress on growth strategy projects in the final quarter of 2006:

Published 14 January 2007

Urban design panel – pilot study

The council has completed a 6-month pilot study on the value of having its own urban design panel. The positive response to the panel has led to longer panel sessions to accommodate growing interest & demand for urban design peer review of projects. The council was to decide in mid-December whether a full-time panel should be established in early 2007.

Flat Bush stage 2 plan change

A draft plan change for Flat Bush stage 2 will be notified in early 2007. The Flat Bush stage 2 plan change brings forward the next development stages and initiates the necessary amendments to the district plan to begin land release further into the catchment.

Growth centres (plan change 16)

A draft plan change is needed to support intensification & mixed-use developments in

existing town centres that have been subject to concept plans. The plan change will be

notified in the New Year and will include a new urban design code.

Wairoa maritime village plan change (plan change 13)

Hearings were held from 20 November for this plan change, which relates to the

Wairoa River maritime village area. This involves the establishment of a new coastal settlement, based around a canal housing scheme in the lower reaches of the Wairoa River.

Earlier stories, 20 November 2005: Wairoa River canal village out to public consultation

11 May 2004: New push for Wairoa River canal village gets same old answer

10 March 2001: Force’s canal village concept before regional council

Mangere gateway (plan change 14)

This plan change relates to the area between between Auckland International Airport & the Otuataua Stonefields historic reserve, and to the east of the Mangere wastewater treatment plant between Greenwood, Kirkbride, Creamery & Ascot Rds. The city council has lodged a request with the regional council to expand the metropolitan urban limits.

Manukau growth strategy

The council is working on developing the Manukau gowth mnagement srategy to provide a framework for how it intends to manage residential growth across the city over the next 20 years.

Rural strategy

The council has completed the rural strategy to identify how best to manage growth within its rural areas over the next 20 years. Hearings were held in November and an interim decision on the rural strategy was released on 17 November. The rural strategy will be integrated into the Manukau growth strategy to be released mid-2007.

Material in the related stories listed below is from the growth forum agenda, lightly edited and still presented as the council’s views.

Related stories: Consultation in March on regional sustainability framework

Auckland City Council progress on growth strategy projects in the final quarter of 2006:

Franklin District Council progress on growth strategy projects in the final quarter of 2006:

Manukau City Council progress on growth strategy projects in the final quarter of 2006:

North Shore City Council progress on growth strategy projects in the final quarter of 2006:

Papakura District Council progress on growth strategy projects in the final quarter of 2006:

Rodney District Council progress on growth strategy projects in the final quarter of 2006:

Waitakere City Council progress on growth strategy projects in the final quarter of 2006:


Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].


Attribution: Forum agenda, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

Continue Reading

Update on Manukau growth strategy

Published 6 August 2006

The item below is derived from Manukau City Council’s latest report to the Regional Growth Forum.

Councils around the Auckland region report into the forum periodically on what’s happening in their neighbourhood – plans, strategies, sometimes proposals for zone changes or shifts of the urban limit.

Check the links at the foot of the page for details from other reports to the forum’s last meeting, on 5 July.

Growth centres, plan change 16, informal consultation is underway including workshops on the draft rules for the phase 1 growth centres (Manukau City Centre, Papatoetoe, Manurewa, Hunters Corner & Mangere). A plan change will be notified later this year, including a new urban design code
Draft business location strategy, the council has completed a draft strategy to identify the location of business activities over the next 20-50 years. This document will be released for public consultation
Draft rural strategy, the council has completed a draft strategy to identify how best to manage growth within its rural areas over the next 20 years. This document will be released for public consultation
Draft urban growth strategy, the council is working on developing an urban growth management strategy to provide a framework for how the council intends to manage residential growth across the city over the next 20 years. The document will consider various options as scenarios for future growth as part of Manukau’s long-term urban growth strategy. Th strategy should be released for public consultation when completed by the end of 2006
Wairoa Maritime Village plan change, the purpose of this proposed plan change is to create a Wairoa River maritime village area, which will enable the establishment of a new coastal settlement based around a canal housing scheme in the lower reaches of the Wairoa River. A hearing is expected later this year
Mangere Puhinui, a draft proposed plan change has been prepared for the Mangere Puhinui rural zone between Auckland International Airport, Oruarangi Creek & the Otuataua Stonefields. An application to shift the metropolitan urban limit will be made shortly.

Growth strategy links:


Update on growth strategies around the Auckland region

Update on Auckland City growth strategy

Update on Franklin growth strategy

Update on Manukau growth strategy

Update on North Shore City growth strategy

Update on Papakura growth strategy

Update on Rodney growth strategy

Update on Waitakere growth strategy


Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].


Attribution: Growth forum, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

Continue Reading

Manukau growth update

Published 5 January 2006

Reports to the Regional Growth Forum by the region’s 7 territorial councils outline the many changes affecting property, particularly around developing town centres. This update is derived from reports to the forum’s November 2005 meeting.

Manukau City

Business location strategy

The Manukau council has initiated its own strategy to identify the location of business activities over the next 20-50 years. This will feed into the Regional Growth Forum work as part of the overall

regional business location strategy.

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis: “We don’t subscribe to this no-growth option that others around this table (at the regional growth forum) seem to have submitted to.”

Flat Bush

Variation 13 is operative, with all appeals settled. A detailed master plan is being prepared for the town centre.

Growth centres

Relocation of the Manurewa station to Hunters Corner has started.

District plan change for phase 1 growth centres

The council intends to amend the business 3 (Manukau City Centre) zone and create a new town centre zone (business 7) for Manurewa, Old Papatoetoe & Hunters Corner, and an intensive housing precinct in the main residential zone within 800m walking distance of the business 3 & business 7 zones.

Half Moon Bay

Work has been done on designing a new terminal for Half Moon Bay, but Sir Barry said: “We’re perturbed at the delay.” Regional council & regional growth forum chairman Mike Lee responded: “We have a different viewpoint but we need to discuss it.”

Mangere growth centre concept plan

Submissions closed in October on the draft concept plan for Mangere. Major redevelopment of the town centre is proposed. “It will become the cultural heart for a number of Polynesian & other people,” Sir Barry said.

Mangere-Puhinui future development

The council is investigating the long-term future of the Mangere-Puhinui rural area. Options being considered include a mixture of rural-residential & business zones. The council has bought 260ha at Puhinui.

Roading, eastern corridor

At Manukau, it’s still the Eastern corridor. Over the border in Auckland City, it’s now Ameti – the Auckland-Manukau eastern transport initiative. Representatives of the 2 council, Transit NZ, Arta (the regional transport authority) & the regional council continue to work on various aspects of the corridor.

Extension of Cavendish Drive to Roscommon Rd was to start before Christmas, creating a link from Manukau’s east to the airport. Discussions are under way on options for Mangere Bridge.

Whitford & Beachlands

The council is preparing a plan change to allow more flexible countryside living development within the Whitford area. It’s also started a study leading towards a growth management strategy for Beachlands.

The council has bought land to enable a road bypass of the Whitford town centre.

If you want to comment on this story, write to the BD Central Discussion forum or send an email to [email protected].

Continue Reading

Council sets to work on revitalisation projects

Jurisdiction: Manukau City

Neighbourhood: Town centres

Applicant: Manukau City Council

Application detail: Expressions of interest, provision of professional services for planning & development of town centre revitalisation projects. Documents available from Wednesday 17 November

Closing date: Thursday 9 December

Relatively new city that it is, Manukau is finding that change has severely damaged the economic futures of several of its main business & retail neighbourhoods.

On my first visit to Auckland, in the early 60s, the family car wound its way slowly up the Great South Rd through these fascinating, bustling outskirts villages that are now in trouble – Papakura, Manurewa, Papatoetoe, Otahuhu. A decade later, with the exclusion of Papakura, they were incorporated in the new Manukau City.

Manukau has since been carpeted with houses – a paradise for subdividers & builders, with a straightforward consent process, mostly flat land to work on and a population now around 300,000.

Although Penrose & Mt Wellington, across in Auckland City, are still industrial heartland, Manukau is home to some of New Zealand’s main industrial zones, such as Wiri & East Tamaki.

Supermarket company Foodstuffs long had a development site at Botany, which it sold to AMP for the development of a 17ha shopping centre, changing the complexion of the city 4 years ago. Manukau City Centre, a retail development owned by Westfield, had been the biggest mall and Westfield also owns the Pakuranga town centre’s mall.

Adding to Westfield’s worries, Kiwi Income Property Trust has started work on its town centre at Sylvia Park, across the Tamaki River in Auckland City.

Sylvia Park will draw retail trade from many smaller centres, especially Pakuranga and probably Howick, both already affected by Botany.

Meanwhile, down the Great South Rd, those old villages have all seen better days. There’s a bustle about some of them, but it’s the bustle of poor & rundown neighbourhoods.

The advent of the regional growth strategy saw 13 of Manukau’s town centres identified as growth areas, and upgrading them was put in a priority order by the council.

Manukau Square, in the heart of the city, is undergoing a $4 million makeover at the moment – the council has a request out for provision of 2 works of art for the square, closing on Wednesday 15 December – and concept plans are being produced for Manukau City Centre, Manurewa, old Papatoetoe & Hunters Corner growth centres in phase 1.

From a council decision in April, next in priority order are Middlemore/Favona, Mangere Bridge & Mangere town centre. In phase 2 are Pakuranga, Otara & Botany town centres, Homai, Howick & Te Mahia.

Website: Manukau City centres strategy

Continue Reading