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 is also great for children 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 soon we will be living on smaller sections and will be 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 people who cannot afford to regularly holiday out of the city.

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 cannot be replaced. Once green space land is lost to development it is lost to future generations of Kiwis. This is also about the rights of people to be consulted about their local communities.  Previous generations recognised the need for reserves and established legal frameworks to protect them, and the rights of people living around them and using them. Government has legislated get around the normal process for revoking Reserve status, which sets a precedent for Reserves everywhere. All open spaces within urban areas are under threat.

What about homeless people living in cars and motels?

Property markets change. There are many solutions that should be pursued before we sell and bulldoze our Reserves. These include better managing immigration,  disincentivising property speculators, increasing the minimum wage, training 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 local communities.