Friday, 3 October 2014

Gareth's strawman

Fun week.

I posted over at about how reducing regulatory barriers to densification and to expansion in the suburbs could reduce housing costs and consequently improve child poverty outcomes, at least some of which are due to high housing costs.

Gareth Morgan posts over at Gareth's World about how I'm kinda evil for being so pro-sprawl and wanting sprawl everywhere and not wanting densification and how free-marketers are hypocrites for only wanting new development not next to them and how the infrastructure costs of sprawl should be borne by developers, and so on.

I posted comment there as follows.
Hi Gareth,

It's a shame you didn't get in touch to ask me about some of this stuff. I'm not sure why you began by assuming some strawman version of my argument, but I'll hit on it here.

First off, I'm more than happy for things to include Epsom. David Seymour and I have had a few disagreements about this. You might even read the parable I had up at Offsetting today as being directly relevant. This one. Is this the kind of thing that an out-only guy would write?

Secondly, why would you think I wouldn't support that new developments bear the infrastructure cost? I've long been a fan of Municipal Utility Districts for such purpose: these load all of the infrastructure costs onto the folks moving into new developments, using a fairly efficient financing structure.

Third, I'm totally a fan of congestion charging. Do that at the same time so that any sprawl congestion costs are internalised.

Finally, I've over and over again posted at Offsetting on how we need to get rid of regulatory impediments to densification. Heck, I've even come up with some political economy solutions to try to buy out the NIMBYs to stop the blocking of densification. Why are you assuming that I only want growth on the fringes? Auckland's done a fair bit already to open up on the fringes, though they could do a lot more. But the big gains would be overturning the avenues for NIMBY blocking of intensification. I even said it in the piece you seem to hate: we need UP AND OUT. Lemmie check...ah yes. There it is. "When land supply, both expansion at the city fringes and land zoned for increased density, is constrained by regulation, the price of zoned land rises." I specifically put that in in case people might misread me as making some argument for sprawl-only. I'm not making that argument. I don't know why you think I'm making that argument.

I agree with you that there are tons of right-wingers who want only development away from them, and that they'd come out of the woodwork were substantial proper reform suggested. I'm not one of those people. I'm one of the ones trying to figure out how we make housing more affordable given the set of political constraints.

I kinda think we're on the same side here. I don't know why you're painting this caricature.
Dunno what Gareth's deal is.

Meanwhile, David Seymour isn't a fan of my post wondering about how we get to consider neighbourhood character to be a property right.
I agree with David on a lot of stuff. Not so much on this one.

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