Wellington Scoop

Priced out of the city

by Conor Hill
The Wellington City Council has a vision in which the city grows at an incredibly slow rate. Slower than it has been growing. Significantly slower than the rest of the region. Far slower than the country as a whole is growing.

This vision of course is that the city will only add 75,000 people in the next 30 years, a rate of growth barely above 1% per annum.

Somehow this is presented as the highest growth option. This is mind boggling.

Many of the young families I know who have bought in the Hutt Valley, or Porirua, or left the region altogether have done so after being priced out of Wellington City.

If Wellington had an additional 30,000 affordable homes for rent or sale, Wellington would add that many people in 3 years, not 30.

Of course we know the downside of not preparing for enough people. It’s what Wellington suffers from currently. Homelessness, crazy rents, huge numbers of people on social housing waiting lists and ridiculous house prices. Poor transport options, and an ever increasing rates bill as huge infrastructure charges come due.

If we want to avoid this, then it’s imperative we plan for growth, rather than put the discussion in the too hard basket.


  1. Marko, 7. September 2020, 16:51

    “Many of the young families I know who have bought in the Hutt Valley, or Porirua, or left the region altogether have done so after being priced out of Wellington City.” I would add to that the many many promising tertiary students who moved their lives, talent and dollars to Auckland, Canterbury or Dunedin instead of staying on in Wellington. With rents increasing 10% each year for damp, cold flats can you blame them? It’s our loss.

  2. Henry Filth, 7. September 2020, 22:19

    Out of idle curiosity, is the New Zealand birth rate, Wellington in particular, far enough above replacement to generate the suggested population increase?

  3. Bob Dino, 8. September 2020, 7:48

    “Many of the young families I know … left the region altogether …” Where did they go? Where in NZ is there no housing shortage, no galloping house prices, no rising rents — and jobs? Please tell me. I want to move there too!

  4. K, 8. September 2020, 10:11

    @Bob Dino: Christchurch. Christchurch is the city you are after with low rent and house prices, and land for future suburban developments that goes on literally for hundreds of miles around the city.

  5. Lindsay, 8. September 2020, 10:16

    @Bob Dino. How about my home town of Marton – houses for sale for less than $300,000. Good schools. And within easy reach of jobs in Whanganui or Palmerston North.

  6. Guy M, 8. September 2020, 17:35

    But Lindsay – who would want to live in Marton?

    Even you left there…..

  7. Peter S, 8. September 2020, 22:46

    Why the continual obsession with growth? If so many people want to move to Wellington, then sorry it’s tough bikkies if there isn’t room for all of them. Why should the current residents “have to” make room for them and have densification forced upon them??? Surely there is enough natural growth with all the new high rise apartment blocks being built in town, and proliferation of multiple town houses and low rise apartment blocks in the suburbs. Raising maximum heights in the suburbs and minimum heights in the CBD seems to be completely unfair for the current citizens, and just a boon for greedy developers. No surprises there then.

  8. Fred Webber, 9. September 2020, 6:39

    Think slashing immigration particularly of rich people, and vasectomies. plus banning the building of car garages in houses. Cars take up a significant amount of urban space

  9. Toni, 9. September 2020, 9:39

    The biggest problem is that the council’s obsession with growth has seen them lose focus on everything else. Before considering major growth they should be assessing whether they can actually supply the basics like infrastructure, transport and find enough space for green spaces, additional services like schools, creches, aged care facilities, increased hospital capacity, medical centres, supermarkets etc etc . . .

  10. Lindsay, 9. September 2020, 10:13

    Guy. Let me tell you (sometime) about the many excitements of living in Marton.

  11. Guy M, 9. September 2020, 14:12

    Thanks Lindsay – I’m asleep already! It’s clearly very soporific. [What I’ll be telling you about Marton will make you wake up, sit up, and pay attention. In my day it was a most event-full town.]

  12. Peter S, 9. September 2020, 22:55

    I drove through Marton on a quiet afternoon sometime last year. The only activity in town was a cat crossing the road. Purrfect!

  13. Dave B, 10. September 2020, 11:59

    They shouldn’t have closed Marton’s railway station and stopped the train from stopping there. Losing a passenger rail service never did any provincial town any good.

  14. Lindsay, 10. September 2020, 12:01

    The overnight Auckland to Wellington express stopped there early every morning – it was a great way to get to the capital.

  15. Pam, 11. September 2020, 20:23

    Labour have advised today 1400 temporary visa holders will be allowed into NZ a month, on top of large numbers of returning permanent residents. House prices are set to go even further through the roof.
    1400 per month equates to 72,800 a year on top of many resident visa holders.