Friday news in brief

Friday 24 March 2017

Life is busy and it’s easy to miss some of the stories that hit the news. So here’s a brief rundown of some of the stories that might have slipped by you this week…

By Miriam Bell

Stoush over proposed 1000 home development heats up

Todd Property Group has fired an opening sally in its battle to win Environment Court approval for a planned housing development just north of Auckland – with the launch of a new website on the project.

The proposed development in Okura, beside Long Bay Regional Park would include 750 to 1000 houses, parks and a 2km long coastal reserve and the website provides detailed information about the plans.

Todd Property Group managing director Evan Davies said the development would be sustainable, provide real benefits to Auckland, and would involve the protection of the existing marine reserve in the area.

However, there is staunch opposition to the proposal from local residents and environmental groups: After wending its way through Auckland Council where it was approved under the Unitary Plan but declined by the Governing Body, it is now headed for the Environment Court.

Read more: Auckland Council votes for Unitary Plan

Builder loses licence for overstepping boundaries

Northland builder Grant Tromp is no longer a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) after the Building Practitioners Board revoked his license for undertaking work beyond his competency and not securing consents.

Tromp was employed to renovate a kitchen and to turn a porch into an additional room, but the design work was beyond his competency as carpentry LBP and the work itself did not comply with the Building Code and relevant standards.

Paul Hobbs, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's registrar in charge of LBP licences, said that if building consent had been properly sought, it would have been clear the work was outside Tromp’s scope.

“This decision should send a very clear message that the Board will hold LBPs to their legal obligations of only carrying out work within their area of competence and obtaining building consents where required.”

Read more: Tread carefully with building products 

Financing new housing infrastructure

Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford’s latest suggestion on how to tackle the fraught issue of infrastructure funding for new housing in fast growing cities, like Auckland, got quite an airing this week.

Twyford recently proposed the creation of a special unit within Treasury to borrow on behalf of councils for infrastructure development that would be repaid by targeted rates over the lifetime of the assets.

But, in a Parliamentary debate on the issue with Twyford, Infrastructure Minister Stephen Joyce was dismissive of the proposal for a variety of reasons and pointed to the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Conversely, NZ Institute executive director Oliver Hartwich said that while the details of the proposal were up for debate, it was a practical and sensible proposal that would help put housing in the reach of first home buyers.

Read more: Address Auckland infrastructure issues

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