Excuse Me But Isn’t Excise The Same As Tax?

The new regional fuel excise/tax will be phased in over the next 3 years and Aucklanders will eventually face up to 23.5c per litre from this alone.

Our population is forecast to be 2,000,000 by 2033 adding an extra 300,000 people in the job market. Employees in the city and fringe will double in that time. The City Rail Link in construction now will help create efficiencies, yet most know that still more needs to be done.

This extra fuel tax on Auckland’s motorists has been initiated to help fund the light rail initiative from the CBD to the airport and West Auckland.

This will naturally ‘encourage’ more people towards public transport for commuting, which is no bad thing given the extra 70k cars that are hitting our roads every year exacerbating our current congestion problems.

Unfortunately, for a growing city like ours, our public transport system is pretty user unfriendly. We’ve got a lot to do before we can compare with the likes of Melbourne or London in this regard. I hope that the excise charges will be put towards the infrastructure projects as claimed to improve the services in this area, such as the light rail.

The Unitary Plan, despite its shortcomings has been designed to enable greater intensification from the metropolitan and town centres as hubs moving outwards concentrically to the lower density zones. Right where the better public links are typically located. 

Our focus is on creating superior housing solutions within the higher intensification zones, where we believe a growing percentage of the population is attracted, for its vibrancy, ease and ability to engage with the community.

As a result, I’ve encountered fierce criticism (and still do!) from NIMBYs who do not want this change, blaming extra loads and congestion I am creating by increasing housing choice in urban areas. 

On the flip side, I am contacted regularly by YIMBYs who acknowledge the work we’re doing. Taking the time to actively understand what people want in their housing based on the way lifestyles have changed over time.

Auckland Council’s Chief Economist, David Norman conducted a study which showed that values (a measure for desirability) are highest (all else being equal) when 410m from a green space and 590 from the local school. I think we’d find similar results for proximity to public transport stops such as train stations and bus stops.

We’re watching with interest as to the confirmed Light Rail route as this too will attract demand for quality housing by residents who wish to be near better transport amenities.

As a developer of residential housing, we use this data to help us form assessments of where the highest demand will be for quality housing. It stands to reason to focus on locations that are well located and enable residents to safely walk their children to school, getting to their place of work efficiently, and ideally being close to local shops and parks for community based living. 

People’s lifestyles have changed from what they were 30 short years ago. It’s a fact of life that most families lead busy lifestyles and have unrelenting work demands. In many situations, children are no longer expected to fend for themselves after school as in my generation, placing greater demands on parents.

It makes sense for us to create quality housing choices to improve the way we live. 

Graeme Fan