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Home & Design April 12, 2018

Change Must Happen

Auckland’s housing crisis. Nothing new here. The phrase has become meaningless. Flogged to death for political mileage and to get a reaction. I’m guilty of it here right now, aren’t I?


What does it really mean? For most, it means house prices and rents rising at an uncomfortable rate as residents battle for a place to call home, at least until the situation is sorted.


Anyone who’s sat through economics at school, knows when supply equals demand, an equilibrium is reached. We currently don’t have that.


The shortage, driven by the city’s population growth, also means being stuck in traffic, stormwater and wastewater on the brink, shoddy building work by unregulated builders, frustration at the slow pace of change. It means, heaven forbid, having to live closer together.


Auckland is growing at an unprecedented rate. Most forecasts predict a population of around two million by 2033 and according to the RBNZ we were 54,000 houses short back in 2016. Who knows what it is now?


Where are the additional 600,000 people going to live? Especially if we’re only building around 10,000 a year. We lack infrastructure, we don’t have enough people to deliver what’s required based on current processes, and so on.


Again… boring! Figures and stats, eyes glaze over. It’s all been flogged before.


Auckland has NIMBYs, the world has NIMBYs. This group represents those resistant to change. Those who want to hang on to the quarter-acre section pavlova dream within a five-minute commute into the city. I’m sorry, but that ship has sailed, the curtains are down, the show’s over.


There is nothing to be gained from burying our heads in the sand. Change is coming. Everyone wants change. However, in some quarters, people want change as long as it’s not them!


Isn’t that just basic human nature and psychology 101?


And so what’s the solution?


I agree with housing strategist Leonie Freeman — we all need to work together. We can’t just point the finger at government (yes they do have a big responsibility) and other big players with big influence. But I like to think we can all play a positive role.


Imagine a scenario where we all think of ourselves as being part of the solution, being adaptive and figuring out how we can each make a positive contribution to one another no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.


Increasingly, residents want low maintenance, well designed, high quality homes, close to public transport within walking distance to schools that don’t necessitate endless weekends of maintenance and upkeep.


Above is a development in central Auckland we’re working on that will eventually cater to five families, delivering all the above benefits. Hard to believe it currently has just one run down, poorly insulated house on it.


We might not be as big as the larger players out there, but we’re still dedicated to making a positive contribution to this city, our city of Auckland.


Graeme Fan of Beau Consultants, specialises in creating quality homes for now and the future. /

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