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Old July 29th, 2012, 10:10 PM   #3261
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More land won't mean cheaper homes, says critic

An environmentalist has accused Fletcher Building of being greedy and rebuffed its recipe for solving housing affordability problems. Gary Taylor, the chairman of the Environmental Defence Society, criticised Fletcher for demanding the Government and Auckland Council expand urban limits to create more housing. "Fletcher, with its market dominance, stands to make a fortune out of building more houses. But that won't make housing more affordable. It will, however, contribute to Fletcher's excessive profit-taking, which is a big part of the problem," Taylor said. In a column for the Herald's Mood of the Boardroom publication last Thursday, Jonathan Ling, Fletcher's chief executive, said central and local government must free up more land, particularly in Auckland, if the city is to grow and prosper. But Taylor said it was an urban myth that more land brought cheaper houses. "It won't make any real dent on cost because raw land value - a greenfield site before it's subdivided and developed - is only around 10 to 15 per cent of the total value of a new house and land package," Taylor said, advocating instead the creation of a more competitive building supplies market, improving labour inputs, reducing development levies and consenting costs and tightening up on infrastructure spending.


Increasing land supply would have little impact because the other 90 per cent of costs were relatively fixed and out of the developer's control, said Taylor, a former director of Housing NZ's Hobsonville Land Company. Philip King, Fletcher's investor relations manager, cited his company's submission to the Productivity Commission and said land prices made up almost half the cost of new houses so it made sense to make more land available. "Land price rises have outstripped other building costs by a factor of more than two to one over the past two decades. Construction materials have increased by around 70 per cent whereas section prices have gone up fourfold in nominal terms or threefold in CPI adjusted terms," King said. The Real Estate Institute and Statistics NZ found the biggest driver in the increase in house prices has been land value appreciation, King said. "There are many other influences on the cost of housing which were extensively canvassed in the Productivity Commission report and Jonathan's comments merely sought to highlight one of these as a significant area requiring attention. " Housing affordability is much lower in Auckland than in Invercargill. Why? Chiefly, because land values in Auckland are much higher."
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Old July 29th, 2012, 10:17 PM   #3262
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Graffiti crackdown in Auckland

A new Auckland Council graffiti plan which will turn up the heat on taggers and aim to get rid of their vandalism within two hours, will be launched in Otara tomorrow. The Auckland Graffiti Vandalism Prevention Plan hopes to curb the graffiti problem in Auckland that, in 2010/11 financial year alone cost the council $4.8m to clean up. About 340,000 sites were vandalised. The plan, which will be launched by Mayor Len Brown, replaces a number of different approaches used by the eight former councils that were amalgamated to form Auckland Council. It focuses on prevention and its main goals are eradication, enforcement and education. It is understood a region wide database of incidents will be created where photographs and GPS co-ordinates of graffiti will be logged - similar to a system already in use in Manukau.

Graffiti is a region wide problem for Auckland but the central business district is consistently the worst hit with vacant sites like the Yates Building on Albert St - which the council paid to clean up last year - often repeatedly targeted by offenders. South Auckland is also a target area. The Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust keeps a monthly suburb-by-suburb breakdown of reported graffiti in the area. In June alone there were 5727 incidents, in May there were more than 6300. The council currently has six officers working on graffiti management across the region but eradication and enforcement is carried out by contractors. Each of the four city areas - central, south, west and the North Shore - has between three and 10 eradication operators ''responding to customer service requests and proactively finding and removing graffiti daily''.

Enforcement services are delivered by a private company using investigative and surveillance techniques while working with Auckland police. During the previous three years they have given police evidence against 237 vandals. Over the same period police have apprehended 1615 taggers who faced police, court or youth justice action - 21 were charged with graffiti offences involving more than $5000 of damaged property. The council hopes the plan will see "sustainable, significant and measurable reductions'' in graffiti across Auckland. A plan document says spin off effects include enhanced civic pride, reduced criminal behaviour, increased property values and improved perceptions of safety.
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While strolling through the 'scrapers high, Three's thoughts were lost in fog, "Oh, It don't got teams like Bulls or Bears, But Demons and Bulldogs. I say," he said, "this town of Melbourne's Very like Chicago."

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Old July 31st, 2012, 05:38 AM   #3263
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Auckland Zoo scoops gold for Te Wao Nui in landscape awards

Auckland Zoo’s curator of horticulture, Hugo Baynes, has won Landscaping New Zealand’s supreme award in the 2012 Landscapes of Distinction Awards for the NZ precinct, Te Wao Nui – the Zoo’s largest ever project. Along with winning the Landscape of the Year Award and three golds - for Landscape Design, Horticulture, and Garden Management, Te Wao Nui also won the Best Sustainable Landscape, Best Use of Native Plants, Best Horticulture, and Best Garden Management (large project) awards. The overall award recognised consistency in quality and excellence throughout the planning, planting and maintenance of Te Wao Nui’s habitats - The Coast, The Islands, The Wetlands, The Forest, and The High Country. Judges said: “This design shows sensitivity and expertise at all levels and results in a magical journey for visitors that highlights the very best and special natural character of New Zealand. Zoos are much more than animals! The renewed focus on flora, as well as fauna, is extraordinary and educational…and the planting design of this space is inspirational.” The Zoo’s curator of horticulture, Hugo Baynes, says the win is both tremendous and humbling and the result of many passionate people. “It was a truly collaborative effort.

The Zoo’s horticultural team and Natural Habitats contractors did a superb job helping install the landscape on a canvas beautifully designed and compiled by designer Logan Brewer and proudly built by NZ Strong. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a real joy to be involved in a project where New Zealand native flora and fauna are showcased in representative iconic habitats, that by their very nature, encourage visitors to explore, connect and protect our natural heritage,” says Mr Baynes. Auckland Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken says local and overseas visitors have flocked to see Te Wao Nui since it opened last September – a major catalyst for the Zoo attracting a record 710,000 visitors in the 12 months ended 30 June. “It’s wonderful to receive these landscaping awards for Te Wao Nui - the biggest and most important project in our 90-year history, and a real tribute to Hugo and his team, and everyone involved,” says Mr Wilcken. Landscaping New Zealand’s Landscapes of Distinction Awards is a biennial event that recognises excellence in the fields of landscape design, construction and maintenance, encompassing commercial and residential projects.

2012 Landscaping New Zealand awards won by Auckland Zoo:
• 2012 Landscape of the Year
• The Living Earth: Best Sustainable Landscape
• The Dalton’s Landscape Supplies: Best Horticulture Large Project
• NZ Landscape Supplies: Best Garden Management
• Naturally Native: Best Use of Native Plants
• GOLD: Landscape Design – large project category
• GOLD: Landscape Horticulture – large project category
• GOLD: Garden Management – large project category

The 2012 judges were Renee Davies, Head of Department of Landscape Architecture at Unitec, Grant Eyre from Growing Spectrum Plant Nursery, and Richard Hart, architect.
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While strolling through the 'scrapers high, Three's thoughts were lost in fog, "Oh, It don't got teams like Bulls or Bears, But Demons and Bulldogs. I say," he said, "this town of Melbourne's Very like Chicago."

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Old July 31st, 2012, 10:31 PM   #3264
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Jackson in Auckland for film festival

Kiwi director Sir Peter Jackson backed a film about their dodgy murder convictions, and now one of the "West Memphis Three" has spoken of his desire to live here. "I wouldn't be averse to it at all," Damien Echols said at the first New Zealand screening of the feature length documentary West of Memphis, at a packed Embassy Theatre in Wellington last night. "Right when I first got out this is one of the first places I came. I stayed here for two months, and it was an incredibly healing place for me. Even when I hear the New Zealand accent now it gives the feeling of home because it took me in when I didn't have anywhere else to go." Echols and Jackson spoke at last night's screening, as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival, and will attend the Auckland screening on Thursday.

Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were teenagers when accused of killing three eight-year-old boys - Stevie Edward Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore - in West Memphis, Arkansas, in 1993. They were released last year, after entering "Alford" no-contest pleas to lesser charges after fresh DNA evidence analysis, meaning they could be freed while not being legally exonerated. Last night, dressed head to toe in black, Echols told the audience he had no choice but to take the plea deal if he wanted to live. "My physical health was deteriorating very rapidly. I had started losing eyesight. You heard the prosecutor say that one of his considerations was that the three of us together could have sued the state for about $60 million. And I knew they could have had me stabbed to death for $50 any day of the week. It happens in prison all the time. So I knew this deal was the only chance I was going to get to ever see the outside of those walls again."

Jackson told the audience he and Fran Walsh first got involved with the defence on the case in 2005. Vital evidence was uncovered, but a local judge wasn't interested, he said. "We thought a hopeless scenario was unfolding where the state was suppressing any information at all which would lead to the truth in this case." The pair brought in director Amy Berg to make the film. "We thought a documentary was the most potent way to get the evidence before the public," Jackson said. Echols said he was still traumatised by his prison experience, but trying to stay positive. "I don't want anyone to leave here tonight heavy hearted or depressed. I'm here, we're out and I'm happy."
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While strolling through the 'scrapers high, Three's thoughts were lost in fog, "Oh, It don't got teams like Bulls or Bears, But Demons and Bulldogs. I say," he said, "this town of Melbourne's Very like Chicago."

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Old August 1st, 2012, 04:45 AM   #3265
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architecture&design

http://www.architectureanddesign.com...ry/534769.aspx


FJMT wins global awards for two projects: Darling Quarter and Auckland Art Gallery

1 August 2012

Darling Quarter [Sydney] by FJMT and Auckland Art Gallery by FJMT + Archimedia (architects in association) have been announced as winners of International Architecture Awards by the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.

Hassell’s one40william in Perth and BVN’s Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) in Sydney were also announced recently as among the award winners.

The International Architectural Awards is a distinguished building awards program that honours new and cutting-edge design. This annual program also promotes international architecture and design to a global audience.

The news from FJMT follows Auckland Art Gallery's recent win of a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Award and the New Zealand Institute of Architects 2012 Architecture Medal, and Darling Quarter's win for the 2012 Australia Award for Urban Design.

FJMT's Surry Hills Library and Community Centre was also a recipient of an International Architecture Award from the The Chicago Athenaeum in 2011.

The awards will be presented in Istanbul, Turkey in October at the launch of an exhibition of the award winners that will travel across Europe.

In October, 2012, The Chicago Athenaeum, together with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies will present a special exhibition of all awarded buildings at the annual The City and the World symposium in Istanbul, Turkey, in conjunction with the Istanbul Biennial.
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Old August 1st, 2012, 05:07 AM   #3266
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Sale of $1m Auckland homes returns to previous peak

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20 MAY 12 16°C HALF MOON BAY by Urban+Explorer, on Flickr

In the first six months of this year Barfoot & Thompson sold 424 Auckland homes for more than $1 million, matching the number sold in the first half of 2007, the year before the global financial crisis started to impact on local real estate prices. “In 2009 and 2010 the number of homes selling for more a million dollars increased modestly, but really took off in 2011, when we sold 308 in the first six months of the year,” said Wendy Alexander, Chief Executive Officer of Barfoot & Thompson. “In the first six months of this year that number has jumped again, this time by 38 percent. “By contrast, homes selling for in excess of $2 million have not returned to their 2007 peak. “In the first six months of this year we sold 51 homes for more than $2 million. While this is up on last year’s 36, it is still well under the 99 sold in the first half of 2007. “While this trend to more homes selling for more than a million dollars is assisted by a general rise in prices, more significant contributors are the growth of Auckland into a world class city and a growing preparedness by high-earning people to invest in their lifestyle.

“Demand for homes in the suburbs around the central business district, the beach- facing suburbs and rural lifestyle properties are all in great demand. “The land in these areas is irreplaceable and therefore very valuable, and homes are being built or refurbished in keeping with those high values. “An emerging trend is renewed interest in a number of the more established central Auckland suburbs to the west of State Highway 1, such as Western Springs, Mt Albert, Blockhouse Bay, Hillsborough, Onehunga and Mt Eden, and their regeneration potential. In the past six months we sold 155 homes for more than a million dollars in these suburbs, a 63 percent increase on the same six months last year. “Number one on the list of most expensive suburbs is Herne Bay, where the average sale price in the first six months of this year was $1.35 million (also in the number one position for the first six months of 2011), with Devonport at number two on $1.16 million (previously number 5) and Epsom number three on $1.06 million (previously number 7).”
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While strolling through the 'scrapers high, Three's thoughts were lost in fog, "Oh, It don't got teams like Bulls or Bears, But Demons and Bulldogs. I say," he said, "this town of Melbourne's Very like Chicago."

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Old August 1st, 2012, 11:18 PM   #3267
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Downtown's empty sites magnet for drunks


Two large sites in central Auckland have been vacant for more than 20 years - and have become refuges for binge drinkers. The former Royal International Hotel site next door to the Atrium on Elliott between Albert, Victoria and Elliott Sts, and the former Auckland Star site between Shortland and Fort Sts have been empty since the 1980s and are used as carparks. Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers, said having the empty sites was "not optimal" and the mayoral taskforce had identified inner-city carparks as alcohol pre-loading points - where people go to binge drink before going on to licensed venues. They were unstaffed and could be entered freely. "It's not good. There are a lot of reasons vacant sites are not optimal," Mr Chambers said. Alex Swney of Heart of the City was surprised the sites had been vacant for so long but said plans for them had been "massive" and could not be justified. The hotel was knocked down in 1987 and the five-level Star building two years later. While towers have been built all around, the sites remain empty. Both have been owned by South Korean investor/developer Dae Ju, headed by Jae Ho Huh.

The hotel was demolished to make way for a Farmers department store and the Star site was to be an office block. But neither plan eventuated. Auckland lawyer Marcus Beveridge of Queen City Law represents Dae Ju's interests in Auckland. He advertised the Star property on his website as for sale. QV lists the hotel site as having been sold early last year for $53 million to Furu Ding's NDG Asia Pacific (NZ), the Shanghai business which also has a big land holding north of Auckland.
Zoltan Moricz, senior director of research and consulting for property consultancy CBRE, said the Star site had been marketed as an office site.
The Korean owners had worked with Brookfield as development advisers and partners until about 18 months ago and at one point, the site was on the short list of options for a new home for the ANZ Bank, Mr Moricz said.

BIG GAPS
Ex-Royal International Hotel site, 104-106 Albert St / 5-13 Elliott St
* Hotel demolished in 1987.
* Reverse bungee amusement ride operates on the site.
* Plans for $300m 67-level Elliott Tower never fulfilled.
* Site owned by China's NDG Asia Pacific (NZ).

Ex-Auckland Star site, 20-30 Shortland St
* Five-level building demolished May 1989.
* Property has been for sale for some time.
* Plans for $100m 35-level tower never fulfilled.
* Site owned by Korea's Dae Ju.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 01:30 AM   #3268
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 07:29 PM   #3269
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Rainbow's End owner up for sale


New Zealand Experience (NZE) - the company behind the Rainbow's End amusement park in Auckland - is up for sale. Canada's Garlow Management, which represents the estate of George Ryerson Gardiner, owns 27.7 million shares in NZE, or 74.86 per cent of the stock, NZE said. Trustees for Gardiner had informed NZE that they wanted to start a process to seek expressions of interest for the acquisition of their holding. NZE has been asked to assist in the sale process. "The directors have advised the trustees that they are willing to assist, but acting in the interests of all NZE shareholders," NZE said.

The process is not expected to start immediately, NZE said. "It is possible that the process will result in a transaction involving all of the shares in NZE. However there is no guarantee of this, or that any transaction will result from the process," the company said. NZE's directors said they were seeking external advice. NZE stock last traded at 36c each, valuing the company in total at $13.32m. At todays' price, Garlow's stake in total would be worth about $10m. In April, NZE said it expected to report a net profit of range of $1.2m to $1.4m. for the 2011-12 financial year to June 30. Aside from NZE, Garlow has an 8.12 per cent in the country's only oil refiner - Refining NZ.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 11:39 PM   #3270
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Auckland house turnover soars

Homes are selling at such a speed in Auckland that the number of properties left available at the end of July was the lowest level in seven years. A press release today from Barfoot & Thompson, Auckland largest real estate firm, said it sold 998 Auckland homes last month at an average price of $591,444. Prices were up slightly. "For a July, this number of sales was at the very top end of the scale in recent years," said managing director Peter Thompson. "At the end of the month it left us with only 3975 properties on our books, the lowest number since late 2005." High turnover was causing the low number of homes available, rather than a low number of people listing properties, Thompson said. The number of and speed at which properties were being sold was "out of the ordinary" for this time of the year.

Barfoot & Thompson listed 1295 properties in the month, which was 23.3 per cent more than in the same month last year. "However, demand in July was exceptionally strong and we sold 28.3 per cent more homes in July than in the same month last year." Thompson said the firm had seen the number of homes on its books at month's end fall for five consecutive months. Prices were increasing, but not spiralling upwards, he said. July's average sales price was up by slightly more than $2000 over that for June. "In the past three months the price difference between the May and July average price is modest at $9000, or a movement of less than 2 per cent." Last July at total of 50 properties sold in the $1 million plus category, but this jumped to 82 in July 2012. About half of all properties sold in Auckland went for less than $500,000, Thompson said.
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While strolling through the 'scrapers high, Three's thoughts were lost in fog, "Oh, It don't got teams like Bulls or Bears, But Demons and Bulldogs. I say," he said, "this town of Melbourne's Very like Chicago."

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Old August 4th, 2012, 10:01 AM   #3271
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Making Auckland the most liveable city in the World

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While strolling through the 'scrapers high, Three's thoughts were lost in fog, "Oh, It don't got teams like Bulls or Bears, But Demons and Bulldogs. I say," he said, "this town of Melbourne's Very like Chicago."

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Old August 5th, 2012, 10:19 PM   #3272
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Nickelback are Auckland bound

Without trying, they have become one of the most controversial bands in the world. And Kiwi audiences will get to see Nickelback in all their glory this November. Having just finished a 54-city tour of North America, and before they hit Europe, the Canadian rock band will bring their Here and Now tour to Auckland for their first Kiwi show in three years. The band's last tour in 2009 saw them performing to nearly two million fans with more than 120 shows around the world. Their most recent album, Here and Now, has been their biggest international release ever, debuting in the top 10 of the New Zealand charts. Nickelback has sold nearly 50 million albums worldwide - 150,000 in New Zealand alone - making them one of the most successful rock acts in history. Since their 2001 breakthrough hit song How You Remind Me, Nickelback has sent more than 20 singles to radio. In 2009, Billboard Magazine also named Nickelback Top Group of the Decade. Their album All the Right Reasons spent 112 consecutive weeks in the Top 30 of the Billboard Top 200, was certified eight-times platinum in the US and sold more than 11 million copies worldwide. Nickelback made headlines ealier this year by firing back against vocal critics on Twitter, and in 2011, 50,000 people signed a petition to stop the band performing during half time at a Detroit Lions football game. The band will be performing hits and chart-topping singles drawn from their seven-album arsenal for their one New Zealand show.
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While strolling through the 'scrapers high, Three's thoughts were lost in fog, "Oh, It don't got teams like Bulls or Bears, But Demons and Bulldogs. I say," he said, "this town of Melbourne's Very like Chicago."

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Old August 7th, 2012, 05:25 AM   #3273
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New boundary will give Auckland room to grow

A new development boundary replacing the current metropolitan urban limits will be introduced to ensure Auckland has 30 years supply of greenfield land for residential and business growth as targeted in the Auckland Plan. The Auckland Plan Committee today endorsed a programme to investigate key greenfield areas of Auckland and consult widely with stakeholders, local boards and communities prior to defining a rural urban boundary (RUB) to be incorporated in the Unitary Plan. The RUB will define the maximum extent of urban development in 2040, enveloping all significant urban areas including the existing urban core, satellite towns, and rural and coastal towns. It will enable the potential to have up to 40 per cent of new dwellings outside the current metropolitan urban limits. “We’re looking at a 30 year timeframe and this work is vital to the success of the Auckland Plan in meeting the housing and business land needs of our rapidly growing city,” said Councillor Penny Hulse, deputy mayor and committee chair. She added that in the formalising the RUB it would be important to achieve balance between development and environmental and rural protection.

Initial areas for investigation to provide additional capacity are:

South - Pukekohe, Drury South Karaka, Paerata
West - Whenuapai, Kumeu-Huapai
North - Warkworth, Silverdale West
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Old August 7th, 2012, 09:49 AM   #3274
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Not necessarily sure that's such a good move. Why set a MUL if you're just going to move the goalposts. Sprawling more is not the answer especially if you're talking about 40% of dwellings being outside the current limits.
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Old August 7th, 2012, 12:46 PM   #3275
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
Not necessarily sure that's such a good move. Why set a MUL if you're just going to move the goalposts. Sprawling more is not the answer especially if you're talking about 40% of dwellings being outside the current limits.
True. It gives no incentive for builders and architects to develop a new skill set and learn to build quality intensified options by rail or CBD. They just keep churning out the same 4-5 bedroom homes.
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Old August 7th, 2012, 11:13 PM   #3276
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One Man Two Guvnors At Auckland Arts Festival

Auckland Arts Festival is thrilled to announce that the National Theatre of Great Britain’s multiaward- winning West End and Broadway sensation One Man, Two Guvnors is in the 2013 Auckland Arts Festival. Tickets for the side-splittingly funny British production, which runs 14 -23 March 2013 at Auckland’s Aotea Centre, go on sale on 17 August. Richard Bean’s smash-hit comedy of errors is a glorious homage to British comedy and vaudeville that happily hijacks the plot of Carlo Goldoni’s classic 18th Century Italian comedy The Servant of Two Masters. Under the impeccable direction of the National Theatre’s Artistic Director, Nicholas Hytner, One Man, Two Guvnors is a laugh-until-you-cry celebration of farce, slapstick, physical gags, sing-alongs and Python-esque absurdity, accompanied by an energetic score from on-stage skiffle band, The Craze.

The show comes to Auckland Arts Festival 2013 after hugely acclaimed West End and Broadway seasons and widespread recognition, including Best Play in the 2011 Evening Standard Theatre Awards (UK), four Outer Critics Circle Awards (USA) and seven Tony nominations (USA). The all- British cast is led by Owain Arthur, whose performance has received multiple five-star reviews in the current West End run. The Auckland Arts Festival 2013, which runs 6 – 24 March across the Auckland region, is Carla van Zon’s inaugural season as Artistic Director. On choosing One Man, Two Guvnors as one of the major international headliners, she says, “The Auckland Arts Festival offers locals and visitors to Auckland a chance to experience the arts in a way they may not otherwise. A show of such wide international acclaim and superb quality as the National Theatre of Great Britain’s One Man, Two Guvnors doesn’t come to town very often. This sensational production is one that avid theatre lovers, comedy fanatics and followers of the best of everything British shouldn’t miss. It’s a high energy night at the theatre, full of laughter.”

The full 2013 Auckland Arts Festival programme will be announced on 31 October. One Man, Two Guvnors is proudly supported by THE EDGE.

www.aucklandfestival.co.nz
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While strolling through the 'scrapers high, Three's thoughts were lost in fog, "Oh, It don't got teams like Bulls or Bears, But Demons and Bulldogs. I say," he said, "this town of Melbourne's Very like Chicago."

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Old August 7th, 2012, 11:50 PM   #3277
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Does anybody know what is happening at 28 Balfour Road in Parnell ? There is a huge construction site there.
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While strolling through the 'scrapers high, Three's thoughts were lost in fog, "Oh, It don't got teams like Bulls or Bears, But Demons and Bulldogs. I say," he said, "this town of Melbourne's Very like Chicago."

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Old August 8th, 2012, 01:03 AM   #3278
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I saw that the other day with the large crane on site at the moment
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Old August 8th, 2012, 01:05 AM   #3279
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One Man Two Guvnors At Auckland Arts Festival

Auckland Arts Festival is thrilled to announce that the National Theatre of Great Britain’s multiaward- winning West End and Broadway sensation One Man, Two Guvnors is in the 2013 Auckland Arts Festival.


www.aucklandfestival.co.nz
If you get a chance go along to see this - I saw it in New York earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Old August 8th, 2012, 01:05 AM   #3280
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I saw that the other day with the large crane on site at the moment
Yeah that is the one .... could be a large development but I haven't heard anything about it.
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