Monday 28 November 2016

Predictions and forecasts

The Prime Minister rubbished Treasury's long-term fiscal forecast:
Key: "When we came in in 2008, the predictions from the Treasury were much more short term than that, so they were saying by about, I think, 2022, 2023 — we were back —they were predicting debt-to-GDP to be 60%, right? The sort of numbers that you’re talking about now. Okay, so what really happened was under a National-led Government, we got on top of the expenditure that the country was facing. We had years of zero budgets and being cautious with our expenditure and all of those things. We also grew the economy much faster than they thought."

Q. So you’re basically telling me you’re betting your legacy on Treasury being wrong?

Key: Let me just finish this point, because it’s a really important point. They said that within 15 years debt-to-GDP would be 60%. What it really is is 24.5%. So what those things are worked on is a static model that says if the government doesn’t make all sorts of changes.

Q. You’re telling me that you’re doing— You’re not going to do any of those—

Key: I’m telling you it’s a load of nonsense, because they can’t get predictions in 44 days right, let alone in 44 years.

Q. So, you know that— You know that Super is going to be a huge draw on us, and you’ve said that you’re not going to do anything about that. So I’m just wondering what you know that Treasury doesn’t, if you know better.

Key: Well, I mean, okay, go back and ask the Treasury, then, and say — when they gave us those predictions in 2008, when I became Prime Minister and Bill became Minister of Finance, what did the Government do? And in the course of the last eight years; it grew the economy faster; it was far more cautious on its expenditure; it took careful steps in a number of different areas. The overall mix of the economy changed in terms of what was happening. The population changed in New Zealand. My point is these are very static models. 44 days before putting together Budget 2015 and Budget 2016, the Treasury were a mile out in terms of predicting what the budgets would be. These guys are saying, on a totally static basis, we do absolutely nothing; everything carries on. So you said Super — it’s 4.9% of GDP today. In theory, if nothing ever happens and the population doesn’t change, it tops out at about 7.5%, maybe
As reminder:
  1. The long-term projections are "if nothing changes in policy, this is what is going to happen." If you change policy and cut the rate of growth of government expenditure, you'll avoid getting the projected debt-to-GDP ratios. That isn't Treasury being wrong, it's the government having done what it should have in response to the projections.
  2. Long term projections can be in some ways easier than forecasting things 44 days out. I don't know what the weather will be tomorrow, but I can expect that June will be colder than December in New Zealand, and that temperature in a century will likely be a degree or two higher than it is now. 
  3. Key's right that they're static models. But avoiding the big debt-to-GDP numbers requires something to change those projections. Like faster economic growth, or increasing migration by working-aged folks to outweigh the superannuation hit that will come, or pushing out the age of pension eligibility. It is odd to say that Treasury can't forecast because you changed policy so that things wouldn't look like that, then to simultaneously say you don't need to do anything about the other longer-term forecast.
I have plenty of issue with Treasury's quality of analysis on a few fronts. I don't have any particular reason to doubt their long term fiscal projections. 

Blocking content

The UK is Brexiting from a sizeable chunk of the internet: content that the British censor wouldn't rate for DVD sale.
Web users in the UK will be banned from accessing websites portraying a range of non-conventional sexual acts, under a little discussed clause to a government bill currently going through parliament.
The proposal, part of the digital economy bill, would force internet service providers to block sites hosting content that would not be certified for commercial DVD sale by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).
It is contained within provisions of the bill designed to enforce strict age verification checks to stop children accessing adult websites. After pressure from MPs, the culture secretary, Karen Bradley, announced on Saturday that the government would amend the bill to include powers to block non-compliant websites.
In order to comply with the censorship rules, many mainstream adult websites would have to render whole sections inaccessible to UK audiences. That is despite the acts shown being legal for consenting over-16s to perform and for adults in almost all other liberal countries to film, distribute and watch.
The best tweet I saw summarising this suggested that the Brits would allow the British internet the full range of British sexual preferences by distributing six pictures of Sean Connery from the 1960s. Alas, couldn't find it again.

Here in NZ, I was annoyed when the NZ Censor's Office seemed to be making a play to block parallel importation of digital content using censor regs as vehicle. The regime remains in need of modernisation. The UK is going in the wrong direction.

Friday 25 November 2016

Spring cleaning

Wellington's quake-prone heritage-listed buildings remain scary. My column in this week's NBR ($) suggests prioritising the risky heritage buildings, pulling the heritage listings from the scariest ones, and putting public money into the ones where the heritage amenity is really worth it. 

Or, Council could just buy the buildings from their owners, fix them itself, and sell them afterwards - though they would almost certainly take a pretty big loss in doing so. The loss is the same loss they're currently imposing on private owners via the heritage listings, but putting it on the public account never feels quite as nice for the regulators.

A snippet:
The most recent data say Wellington has 641 registered earthquake-prone buildings. Of those, 20 are Category 1 places listed by the Historic Places Trust and 44 more have Category 2 status. Another 62 are listed by Wellington Council but not by the trust.

These listings are their own kind of basement clutter.

Looking through our basement, I often had a hard time remembering why we had gotten some of that stuff in the first place. Looking through the heritage listings has a similar feel: buildings added to the list with little background documentation on how they ever got there.

It seems amazing that the Gordon Wilson Flats were ever heritage listed, despite their apparently rare status as a state housing high-rise built by a National rather than a Labour government. While I can throw out the ugly wedding present in the garage given by a long-deceased relative, it’s harder to get rid of heritage-listings on dangerous buildings. Appeals processes are still under way for the Gordon Wilson flats.

Those delays can be deadly. In Christchurch, the owner of a heritage-listed building on Colombo St wanted to demolish it after the September earthquakes. The council blocked demolition pending the right processes being undertaken.

February’s earthquake did not bother with consenting processes and killed 12 people in a bus outside the building without seeking the leave of any council official. The council staff who delayed demolition faced no liability for their choices.
I covered similar themes in last week's Insights newsletter, focusing on the Human Rights Commission's report on property rights in post-quake Christchurch.

Hot tub talk machine

Last weekend, I argued environmental policy with David Round, Sam Mahon, and Camila Nieuwlands in a hot tub full of warm milk at CoCA, Christchurch's Centre of Contemporary Art.

A snippet from my column in this week's Insights newsletter on it. Trigger warning if you hit the link: There are pictures.
Gaby Montejo is one of Christchurch’s more interesting artists, and the post-quake Christchurch arts scene is especially entrepreneurial. Gaby, and others, improvised wonderfully around the city’s demolished and ruined spaces, giving everyone little bits of whimsy and beauty.

I couldn’t really say no when he asked if I’d join in a performance exhibition he was putting on at Christchurch’s Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA).

He wanted a panel discussion about dairy and the environment in an art space surrounded by other works on environmental themes, but different. Rather than sit at the front of the room at a table with a lectern, we sat in Gaby’s “Honeymoon Latte” – a warm hot tub full of milk – for a conversation about dairy, the environment, and economics, and the amusement of a few dozen spectators who came around to listen in.

I assumed my job was to add a few shots of espresso to the mix, and so had a lot of fun.
You can subscribe to our newsletter with the little form at the bottom of the column above-linked. If you want a subscription link that doesn't come with risk of pictures of me in a hot tub filled with milk, sign up via Jason Krupp's column on the launch of his report on local government, or Martine's on data and education policy.

New Zealand is totally different from Ontario

New Zealand may be heading toward 1988-Ontario-style Pay Equity rules.

Here's The Herald's summary:
The changes will mean employees who believe they are underpaid because they do work in fields dominated by women will be able to approach their employer to raise a pay equity claim.

The Government has today announced it has accepted the recommendations from a joint working group, led by Business NZ and the NZ Council of Trade Unions, that were delivered to Cabinet earlier this year.

When putting up a pay equity claim, employees need to find another non-female-dominated job they can compare their work to.

As well as establishing a process for employers and employees to follow to address pay equity, ministers have also decided to clarify how to choose an appropriate job for comparison when making a pay equity claim.

PSA national secretary Erin Polaczuk said Cabinet had proposed a "start close then move out" mechanism, where employees must try to find a comparison in their own business, then their industry, then their sector.

She said the PSA would now raise pay equity claims for thousands of low-paid women.
I am absolutely confident that our experience will be absolutely nothing like Ontario's. I only put the Ontario experience up here as illustration of what goes wrong in other places. Here it will be wonderful, as I am certain all right-thinking people would have to agree.

On administrative costs, here's a report by Morley Gunderson (University of Toronto) and Paul Lanoie (École des Hautes Études Commerciales) for CIRANO. You should read the whole thing, so you can satisfy yourself that the clear differences between Ontario and New Zealand mean we are entirely safe. Here is a snippet.
Based on these figures, in some back-of-the-envelope calculations, Gunderson (1994, p. 88) estimated the administrative costs for the 20 percent of the persons in an establishment who may receive an award, to be approximately $750 or about 20 percent of the average award of around $4,000. That is, about 20 cents of every dollar transferred is "eaten-up" in the employer’s cost of administering the system. This may be an underestimate to the extent that it does not include the actual cost of the job evaluation procedure, or the hidden indirect cost (e.g., managerial time) or the cost to other parties. It may be an overestimate to the extent it does not net out other benefits that may result from the process. Furthermore, many of the administrative costs may be one-time only, while the pay equity adjustments may continue.

Based on her consultations across the province, Read (1996, p. 4) also indicated: "For some smaller private sector employers, the cost of compliance sometimes exceeded the actual adjustment made." That is, more than 100 percent of the adjustment would get "eaten-up" in the real resource cost of administering the system. She cites (p. 38) survey evidence from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business indicating that for small businesses the total cost of consulting fees10 averaged around $5,400, which was considerably higher than the total amount of around $4,000 that went into wage adjustments.

As an illustration of the costs incurred, we present the process that was involved in the hospital that served as one of our case studies. First, a job description had to be done for all occupations by people of the HR services. The job description was then presented to the supervisors who submitted them to all workers for approval. Four pay equity committees (one for every bargaining unit and one for non-unionised workers), each of them involving 5 or 6 persons then proceeded to the job evaluation. This took many weeks, involving a countless number of meetings. The results of the job evaluation and the consequent wage adjustment were then presented to supervisors before being posted. Once the plan was posted, HR officers had to meet a large number of workers to discuss the results and the wage adjustment they received. The pay equity law also requires that firms maintain pay equity, which means that every time a job description is changed (because of a re-engineering, because a worker uses a new equipment, etc.), the pay equity process has to be done again.

When the pay equity system was first conceived in Ontario, it is not likely that the complexities and "litigation nightmare" were anticipated11. Nor were the long delays and legal wranglings of the Tribunal over seemingly simple, but inherently complex and important matters12. Examples of issues dealt with by the Tribunal include13: the definition of the establishment and the employer; gender composition of the job; gender bias in job evaluation; appropriateness of certain male comparators; exemptions for bargaining strength; retroactivity in the wage adjustment; language difficulties in understanding the pay equity plan; disclosure of documents; the possibility of an "officially induced error" if a Review Officer gives an opinion; and the rights of employees to paid time off to participate in the Tribunal hearing.

The job-to-job comparison procedures were likely utilised because of the apparent simplicity of comparing one job to another once the appropriate comparison group was established -- not anticipating the complexity of selecting the comparison group. This could be minimised by allowing the estimation of paylines, but that too can give rise to endless technical wrangling. The problem of a lack of male comparator jobs was not likely anticipated, nor was the complexity of proportionate value methods (with their paylines) or proxy comparisons to close those loopholes. Regulations beget further regulations to close the loopholes, with the process often bordering on the impenetrable to all but a few. Of course, there is money to be made by such complexities, but that money does not go to those for whom the system was designed to assist.
The CIRANO piece concludes:
Pay equity can be a complex procedure even if it is intended to be simple. That very complexity can give rise to negative features when judged according to program evaluation procedures. Not all persons in the target groups are assisted and in a manner sufficient to fully redress their problem. Significant spillover benefits can leak to non-target groups. Otherwise similar groups can receive very different treatment. The process may foster rather than break down the sex segregation of jobs. Significant real resources can be used up in the administration and implementation of the complex procedures. Such procedures are not transparent and well understood by the parties.

Our assessment is that these negative features especially associated with the complexity of the policy are a significant barrier to the effective implementation and wider adoption of the policy. Pay equity runs the very real risk of "imploding" under its own weight. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that simple rules for its application are elusive. Rather than closing loopholes, further regulations seem to add more complexity, begetting even further regulations. The pie gets eaten up in the process of administering the pie.

These problems appear to be inherent in the nature of the policy, at least when it is applied proactively and on unit-by-unit bases, as is inevitable when applied to the private sector. This raises the danger that the legislation will be ignored because it is unwieldy, a possibility enhanced by the fact that settlements have been much smaller in the private sector than the public sector.

Pay equity was instituted in large part because of the limitations and ineffectiveness of conventional equal pay policies in reducing the male-female wage gap17. Unfortunately, we know remarkably little about the overall effectiveness of initiatives like Ontario’s pay equity initiatives. We know that Ontario is a leader in the world in the area of pay equity, and we know that its system has turned out to be complex, but we do not have an answer to the bottom-line question: has pay equity been successful in closing the wage gap or in achieving other social objectives?
They didn't have an answer to their bottom-line question in 1999 when that piece was written. What have we learned since? Here's McDonald and Thornton (sci-hub link)
Evaluating the effect of pay-equity laws is important and yet difficult as one needs to deduce what would have occurred without the policy intervention. We use a new tool, synthetic-control method, to examine the effects of Ontario's Pay Equity Act on the gender pay gap. This tool enables us to create a “Synthetic” Ontario, which resembles Ontario more closely than does any other single province. Using Synthetic Ontario to compare what actually happened in Ontario to what would have happened, we find that the act has had little or no effect on the female-male wage gap in Ontario.
New Zealand will be totally different. Here we never create systems that layer up tons of bureaucratic processes imposing massive cost for little discernible benefit, and surely that will continue to be as true as it ever was.

Thursday 24 November 2016

Uber ignorant

A lot of people who should have failed intermediate microeconomics like to make the following argument.
  1. The theory of perfect competition has perfect information as an underlying assumption
  2. Nobody has perfect information
  3. Therefore, government must regulate to protect people from bad choices because market failure.
It's wrong on a pile of grounds. First, and most importantly, the first welfare theorem gives us sufficient conditions for optimality, not necessary ones. But even leaving that aside, we need a Demsetz move into comparative institutional analysis. How do people act to overcome their information problem? Are there profitable opportunities for some entrepreneur to bridge the knowledge problem so that consumers and producers can meet up successfully? Are there heuristics that consumers use in response to information problems and how close to optimality do they get us? And, most importantly, do the legislators and bureaucrats have any better clue themselves?

On that latter point, here is how New Zealand's Parliament covered itself in glory this afternoon in the select committee hearings on Uber. Parliament's deciding how to modernise the transport regs so that innovation can happen. There are some problems in the proposed legislation, but the Transport Committee has the MPs who are most expert in the committee's area. The best of the best. Here's what they thought about how Uber works:
Appearing before Parliament's Transport Committee, Uber New Zealand general manager Richard Menzies tried to argue that the company should not have to adopt outdated taxi requirements like logbooks, signage and stringent driver and vehicle checks.

But first he was forced to explain to the committee, over and over again, that Uber was not a "rank and hail" taxi company.

National MP Alastair Scott was the first to bite.

"We're concerned that you could get some gypsy operators who are not licensed by anyone appearing on a taxi rank."

Labour MP Sue Moroney interjected, offering a more politically-correct term: "Cowboys".

"Cowboys, gypsies, whatever," Scott said.

Menzies politely explained that an Uber vehicle could only be ordered through its app.

"People can't simply spot at Uber and jump into random car," he said.

Labour MP Sue Moroney wasn't convinced.

"How do you know that? How do you know that people who are your drivers are not sitting at taxi stands or being hailed?"

Menzies, looking slightly bemused, said: "We don't use taxi ranks."
None of these people seems to have ever used the service, or ever to have talked with anyone who has.
Green MP Jan Logie noted that the law change would allow Uber to use taxi ranks - how did Uber feel about that?

Menzies, again: "The way our system is currently set up, we don't need taxi ranks."
The whole point of Uber is to not have drivers sitting around at freaking taxi ranks, idling. They go to where demand is expected.
As it was becoming apparent that no MP on the committee had ever used the Uber service, National MP and technophile Maurice Williamson piped up that he was a "massive fan".

But he did not favour the ordinary Uber, he said. He wanted to know when Uber New Zealand would roll out Uber Black - the company's VIP service.

By now, Uber's committee appearance had gone well overtime. But Moroney wanted one last shot, asking Uber whether it would actually follow any rules set by Parliament.

"All I want to hear is that you won't be breaking the law," she said.

Menzies raised his hands in front of his face, wordlessly, as the committee chairman brought the session to a close.
I have a different argument we might wish to consider, in place of the one with which I opened. I think it works better.
  1. Good laws don't require that MPs have perfect information about the industries that they're attempting to regulate, but they should be at least half-way to having a clue.
  2. They don't. Not even close. And the feedback loops that help normal people get a clue when they make mistakes - those don't operate for MPs. They can be wrong, forever, with no personal consequence. They may even be more likely to be re-elected rather than less if they're wrong in particular ways.
  3. Therefore, Parliament should get out of the way. Stop pretending you're protecting me from bad cab drivers or whatever with rules that protect incumbents when you have absolutely no clue how Uber even works. Get Out Of The Way. Everything else has far more risk of doing harm than of doing good. 

Uber flexible

Roger Partridge lays out some of the problems with the government's proposed changes to the taxi regs. While the government talks a good game about flexibility, the rules do the opposite. For example, paper logs for drivers makes little sense when drivers' records are all already in the Uber app, and where someone with 2 hours on-shift might be far more fatigued than the driver who's been on 6 hours, if the former just came off the day job.

The upshot of the rules is to increase the fixed cost for prospective drivers. And that wrecks what seems one of the main benefits of Uber for drivers: flexibility. When fixed costs are high, that pushes things towards a smaller group of drivers putting in lots of hours rather than a greater number of drivers putting in a bit of time here and there when it suits their schedule.

Uber, the ride-sharing company launched in 2010, has grown at an exponential rate. This paper provides the first comprehensive analysis of the labor market for Uber’s driver-partners, based on both survey and administrative data. Drivers who partner with Uber appear to be attracted to the platform largely because of the flexibility it offers, the level of compensation, and the fact that earnings per hour do not vary much with the number of hours worked. Uber’s driver-partners are more similar in terms of their age and education to the general workforce than to taxi drivers and chauffeurs. Most of Uber’s driver-partners had full- or part-time employment prior to joining Uber, and many continued in those positions after starting to drive with the Uber platform, which makes the flexibility to set their own hours all the more valuable. Uber’s driver-partners also often cited the desire to smooth fluctuations in their income as a reason for partnering with Uber.
The paper uses, among other things, administrative data from Uber on drivers' driving patterns: when they're active picking up fares, and when they're not on the clock.

Another interesting tidbit: the survey of drivers shows only a fifth of drivers see it as a full-time job, and only a fifth had worked in transport in their previous job. The New Zealand government still wants drivers to have a P-endorsement. If you weren't working as a cab or commercial driver in your previous job, that's a pretty big barrier. Given the proportion of drivers in the US who came to Uber from outside of the commercial transport sector, it's a barrier that matters.

The paper makes really rather clear that the flexibility Uber offers matters for drivers.
First, the Uber platform provides a great deal of flexibility for driver-partners, and this characteristic of work in the on-demand economy may attract workers who supply labor to the sector more generally. Responses to the BSG survey indicated that many driver-partners valued the flexibility to choose their hours and days of work. Furthermore, the administrative data indicate that a large share of driver-partners avail themselves of this flexibility and vary their hours from week to week. Compared with traditional taxi drivers, Uber driver-partners tend to work substantially fewer hours per week. For example, taxi drivers and chauffeurs were five times more likely to work 50 or more hours per week. The high fixed costs of obtaining a medallion to drive a taxi in many areas could explain the longer hours of taxi drivers. The finding that hourly earnings for Uber’s driver-partners are essentially invariant to hours worked during the week also makes Uber an attractive option to those who want to work part-time or intermittently, as other part-time or intermittent jobs in the labor market may entail a wage penalty.

Second, Uber’s driver-partners are more similar in terms of age and education to the general workforce than to taxi drivers and chauffeurs. There are many possible explanations that could have contributed to this result. First, the U.S. economy was operating at less than full employment during the period studied, and more highly educated and younger workers may have had fewer alternatives available than is normally the case in this time period. Uber may have represented a particularly attractive bridge option for these workers. Second, entry barriers in traditional taxi and limo services may prevent a broader segment of the workforce from gaining such jobs. And third, a segment of the general public may be drawn to Uber over traditional taxi and chauffeur jobs because Uber permits greater flexibility in terms of scheduling. The fact that new drivers continued to partner with Uber at an accelerating rate in late 2014 and 2015, when the economy strengthened and the unemployment rate fell below six percent, suggests that weakness in the economy was not the major reason why driver-partners partnered with Uber. In addition, most driver-partners were employed prior to joining Uber. These considerations suggest that Uber has attracted driver-partners with a wide range of backgrounds because they value the type of opportunity for flexible work that Uber provides. 
Let's hope the NZ government doesn't wreck that flexibility. More on that momentarily.

Heritage Costs: Who wants an old church?

Heritage fans have a chance to put their money where their mouths are. A beautiful old rimu church is going for $1 reserve auction.

But it does have a few encumbrances.

If you buy it and keep it on-site, you couldn't use it without strengthening it to meet earthquake code - it's currently at 8% of code. And it's a Category 2 Heritage-listed building, so strengthening will not be cheap as you'd have to find a strengthening solution that makes the Historic Places Trust happy. If you keep it on-site, your final use, at seller's insistence, has to be not incompatible with Christian faith, so I suppose a brothel is out.

If you buy it and want to move it, you'd need to get a resource consent for moving it, and nobody knows how hard that would be given the heritage listing.

TradeMe says it's now sold for $11,100. I wonder if the buyer knows what's coming.

The Q&A on the listing is instructive. Some snippets below. Heritage New Zealand listings really should come with a standing option for the owner to sell the building, and all of its encumbrances, back to Heritage New Zealand, at a pre-set price.

This is a pretty sad case. But if an earthquake hit, it's unlikely that an empty church in a small town would kill people.

There are dozens of buildings in Wellington for which this is not true. The masonry facades will fall off the buildings, onto the street and sidewalk, and kill people. And nobody who made those buildings too hard to fix will face any liability whatsoever for the deaths they will have helped to cause.

sandra18 (1071 1071 positive feedback) 7:41 pm, Sun 20 Nov
A. Thanks for the offer. Does need new piles and maintenance. Congregation mostly old and unable to do the work. Not interested in spending money of a building no longer suitable for current worship 6:43 am, Tue 22 Nov

can we demolish
rottnott1 (197 197 positive feedback) 7:37 pm, Tue 22 Nov
A. The Church building is listed with Heritage NZ and WBOP as category 2. We are attempting to have it de-listed to enable demolition, but Heritage NZ insist on every effort being made to find someone to relocate and restore it. If this is not possible we would be happy to have it demolished. 6:14 am, Wed 23 Nov

what a shame .
thisles5 (3083 3083 positive feedback) 8:31 pm, Tue 22 Nov
A. The shame is that when a building is no longer suitable, and requires more in maintenance than can be afforded by its owners, it can't be got rid of for no other reason than it is old. 6:18 am, Wed 23 Nov

I have just come across this listing. I see there are a few current bidders but no info on who is bidding. I really would like to see this building relocated, restored and put to a worthwhile purpose compatible with its history and Christian faith. Please can this auction auto extend to give time to investigate some possibilities. Bless you.
yas6 (493 493 positive feedback) 10:48 am, Wed 23 Nov
A. We are happy to give as much time as needed for serious developers / restorers. The process of getting resource consents will not be short. 8:25 pm, Wed 23 Nov

Given the removal isn't a fait accompli (you haven't received permission to do this) don't you think you're leading people up the up the garden path with this auction?
nyron (21 21 positive feedback) 9:02 pm, Wed 23 Nov
A. You are right. Removal is not a fait accompli. We are trying to find someone who loves old buildings enough to go through the long process of resource and other consents to achieve relocation. If we can't the old church will continue to deteriorate until it begins to fall down. 8:06 am, Thu 24 Nov

Hello there, can you tell me why rhe church has been unused for so long? Is it unsafe? Thankyou (1038 1038 positive feedback) 10:39 pm, Wed 23 Nov
A. The Church is only 8% of current earthquake standards, requiring re-piling and strengthening before it can be used by the public 8:08 am, Thu 24 Nov

I live in Waihi and am currently bidding. If a listed building, is there a possible grant towards restoration/conversion. If there is any correspondence with regards would this be available to purchaser.
kotkinsmith (2 2 positive feedback) 2:37 am, Thu 24 Nov
A. Heritage NZ and others talk about grants but nothing has materialised 8:10 am, Thu 24 Nov

This trade me listing is very misleading. Firstly it says it is listed with the WBOP District whereas actually it is the HDC and the listing means that it cannot be either demolished or removed without a resource consent. From memory that is a non complying activity in the HDC District Plan, which would not be easy to get.
ugmine (173 173 positive feedback) 6:52 am, Thu 24 Nov
A. You are right on two counts. My mistake. I wrote WBOP instead of HDC. Removal or demolition is non complying. As it stands the church can't be used, demolished or removed. A case can be made for preserving it by relocation, but it will take time and effort. 8:15 am, Thu 24 Nov

Do you have any idea how much the resource consent would cost for removal?
sjr24 (66 66 positive feedback) 8:36 am, Thu 24 Nov
A. No Idea. It depends very much on how long it takes to convince HDC relocation and restoration is the best option 8:45 am, Thu 24 Nov

What would happen if after months/years petitioning to relocate the council / heritage NZ still do not approve it - what then would be the responsibilities of the new owner?
justinsa6 (41 41 positive feedback) 8:47 am, Thu 24 Nov
A. Had not thought that one through. It seems logical to me that if it HDC and Heritage are adamant that it can't be moved it would fall back on us .. and we would leave it to fall to bits 8:50 am, Thu 24 Nov