Why do we need cows in the city?

This is the question the Government wants you to ask, but it is not the right question. We need public open space to be preserved for future generations in a context in which Auckland’s population is booming and the density of the city is intensifying rapidly. Once you sell public open space, it is gone forever. In the meantime, it is cheaper to keep cows on the land than mow it, it’s great for the kids to meet the animals and it reminds us of our rural roots!

Why do we need so much green space?

Large green spaces are important for city folks’ state of mind, especially in a growing city like Auckland. The entire city has recently been rezoned to enable higher density housing and we will soon be living on smaller sections and are more likely to live in apartments. Large green park-like areas in cities, especially close to the coast, will enable us to get out of “the city” without having to go too far. This is especially important for poorer people who cannot afford to regularly holiday out of the city, like those in Tāmaki.

Given the housing crisis, isn’t it selfish of local people, who have a huge park, to object to using a small bit of it for housing?

Our parks and reserves are sacred. Once the land is lost to development it is lost to future generations of kiwis. Previous generations recognised the need for reserves and established legal frameworks to protect them. The Government is now attempting to legislate to get around the normal process for revoking reserve status, which sets a precedent for reserves everywhere. If the Government pushes through this legislation, reserves all over Auckland and other areas of growth will be under threat.

What about the homeless people living in cars and motels? There’s a homeless crisis!

There are many solutions to the housing crisis that should be pursued before we bulldoze our reserves. These include reducing immigration, introducing a capital gains tax, disincentivizing lending to property speculators, increasing the minimum wage, training and importing more builders, investigating the cost of building materials in the local market, increasing density and releasing land on urban fringes. SOR is not tied to any particular solution but considers that the Government should pursue any or all of these avenues before taking reserves away from the people.