News in brief: Some of Unitary Plan recs ‘bizarre’ says Property Institute

by NZ Adviser03 Aug 2016
Property Institute of New Zealand chief executive, Ashley Church, has highlighted some of the ‘bizarre and divisive’ recommendations in the Auckland Unitary Plan that 'must be resisted at all costs'.

Although he said there were also a range of very positive recommendations in the Plan including intensification and a revised target of 400,000 new dwellings over the next 30 years.

"I think most reasonable people knew that the document would outline the necessity of much greater intensification - but expected that to be balanced by a strong commitment to the protection of heritage and culture, requirements to maintain and enhance lifestyle facilities and amenities, and a very strong focus on the need to maintain quality and standards at all levels,” said Church.

"Instead, we have a document that appears to be so obsessed with the development of new dwellings that it is prepared to forgo the things which have made Auckland into the world's 3rd most livable city". 

Church points to recommendations to delete building demolition controls for pre-1944 houses and to delete the Schedule of sites of value to Mana Whenua as 'unnecessary acts of cultural vandalism'.

"These recommendations add nothing to the proposed document and any perception that they might somehow speed up the development process is naïve and misplaced. Yet their application would progressively rip the soul out of the city on the altar of expediency".

"The recommendation that Sites of Value to Mana Whenua should be disregarded until the 'evidential basis of their value has been assembled' is particularly offensive and appears to pander to a small but vocal element rather than the wider interests of the city".

Kiwibank cuts rates
Kiwibank has dropped its 3 year fixed rate by 20 basis points to 4.29%  and is the lowest 3 year fixed rate on CANSTAR’s database. 
For borrowers with a $400,000 debt over 25 years, this rate would translate to monthly repayments of approximately $2,176; at Kiwibank’s previous 3 year fixed rate of 4.49%, monthly repayments would be $2,221.

Life insurer AIA reports ‘excellent growth’ in first half 2016
The Board of Directors of AIA Group Limited announced the Group’s unaudited consolidated results for the six months ended 31 May 2016.

The insurer saw a record 37% growth in value of new business (VONB) to US$1,260 million and a strong operating profit growth. 

AIA’s group chief executive and president, Mark Tucker said, “The strength of this performance reflects the disciplined execution of our growth strategy, the resilience of our operating model and our commitment to building a high-quality, sustainable business for the long term.

“Asia is the most attractive and dynamic region in the world for life insurance. We are operating in markets that continue to offer sustainable economic growth, increased disposable incomes, powerful demographic and urbanisation trends and very low insurance penetration rates. AIA is exceptionally well placed to benefit directly from these significant and robust drivers of life insurance growth across our region. We have a highly-diversified and resilient business model underpinned by our market-leading brand and the financial strength to enable us to capture these opportunities."

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