#VoteAKL 2016 maps

I had a bit of a play around with mapping the voter return data from the 2016 Auckland local body elections (raw data available here).  I looked at it two ways:

  • What areas had the highest/lowest turnout? (i.e. where is participation high/low)
  • What areas had the highest raw number of votes? (“who elects the mayor”)

Maps addressing these two questions are below.  Note that they don’t include Waiheke, mainly because it’s not part of the “Coastlines” shapefile I used to crop the board boundaries and I decided the effort of separately mapping the board area to the “islands” geographic shapefile wasn’t worth the effort given I have a day job (i.e. I am lazy).  If you are wondering, turnout on Waiheke was very high (58.6%).

Percentage turnout


Number of votes final-votes

Visualising the Auckland Unitary Plan: IHP Recommended Version

Given there appears to be a lot of misinformation being spread about the Unitary Plan, I OIA’d the Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) recommended version of the Unitary Plan (aka the “RUP“).  This follows on from Stephen Davis doing an OIA for the previous version the Council proposed back in 2013 (the “PAUP”).

The purpose of this post is really to collate a bunch of stuff I have been throwing up on twitter so there is a record of it.  Also check out Aaron Schiff’s very cool analysis of the overlays in the Unitary Plan (heritage, volcanic view shafts etc…) and the Herald Insights visualization of the residential zones, which overlaps a lot with I have here.  (Update: The Spinoff have a some amazing maps here).

All of the maps that appear below can be accessed directly here.

How the single house zone changed

The first thing I looked at was how the Single House Zone changed between the 2013 PAUP and the 2016 RUP.  I initially created separate static maps, but at Aaron Schiff’s suggestion I turned it into an animated GIFSHZ change 2000ms

This demonstrates how much of the Single House has been removed, it’s astonishing really!  Though note it still has a stranglehold around the CBD.  Those areas with the best amenity the CBD, and thus which would be most valuable if intensified, are being frozen in time.

I also made an interactive map combing the two sets of data, with RUP in solid red and the PAUP set to be transparent.

Direct link to map

High-rises everywhere?

The big fear around the unitary plan is that we are going to get high-rise apartments in the middle of leafy suburbs.  The sentiment is nicely capture by this tweet:

I’m not sure what the average person would consider “high-rise”.  The famous “Painted Ladies” in San Francisco look to be 3.5 storeys and I don’t think most people would consider them high-rise (see below).

With this in mind, I did a map of the areas allowing residential development greater than (>) 3 storeys.

Direct link to map

As you can see this is concentrated around public transport (PT) trunk lines and employment centres. The burbs are relatively unscathed, except the parts within walking distance of PT or jobs.

Where is Auckland Staying flat?

The flip side of the previous question is where will Auckland “stay flat”.  I’ve looked at this two ways:

  • “Flat” = up to three storeys (i.e. the reverse of the previous high-rise map) ;and
  • “Real flat” = up to two storeys

Flat (up to 3 Storeys)

Direct link to map

Real flat (up to 2 Storeys)

Direct link to map


Either way you define it,  residential Auckland is actually staying pretty flat, at least based upon a very unscientific eyeballing of the maps.

One map to rule them all

And the last map I did is probably the first map I should have done.  This map contains all the zones allowing residential development and allows you to turn certain zones on or off under “Visible Layers”, allowing replication of any of the maps above.  Note that because I am using a free version of Carto, I had to lump city/town/metro/local center into one layer.

Direct link to map

The Single House Zone: PAUP 2013

The Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) has released its recommendations on the Auckland Unitary Plan. One of the ways the IHP is proposing to increase density is to reduce the Single House Zone (SHZ) by 22%. The SHZ is areas with relatively large sections that you are only allowed one house on.  So these areas are effectively frozen in time, no growth will can happen and they will remain villages of sorts.

To get a feel for how the SHZ effects Auckland, and therefore what reducing it might do, I’ve pulled together a map of the SHZ, as proposed by Auckland Council back in September 2013 (what is known as the “Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan” or PUAP).  I.e. the IHP is proposing to reduce what is shown in this map substantially. But the data that would allow me to draw that map hasn’t been released yet.  (You can view the maps with all the zones online here.)



Looking at this, it’s striking that the CBD is encircled by the SHZ.  So the land it is closest to where people work, and therefore would benefit the most from increased density, is precisely the land that can’t be unlocked for increased density.


Auckland Home ownership and income maps

While the map that everyone will be interested in today is the new Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP)….I have been playing around with drawing maps in R.  The maps below use the 2013 census meshblock data set.

Given all the discussion around NIMBYism that has surrounded the AUP process, I thought it would be interesting to look at where people actually own the homes they live in.  The first map below shows the proportion of households within a meshblock that either own/partially own the house or it is held in a family trust.  Including the latter category in my measure of home-ownership may cause some anomalies, such as with the leasehold land around Cornwall park.


It will be interesting to compare this the AUP when comes out and see whether the are any patterns in zoning in areas where there is a high % of owner-occupied dwellings vs those where people rent (i.e. investors own the homes).

The other map I pulled together uses household income data. For this map I looked at the proportion of households with an income over > $100,000. I.e. I was interested in “which areas had the highest concentration of wealthy households”.household.100k

Again, pretty much shows what you would expect, higher concentrations of wealthy households in the inner suburbs and waterfront eastern suburbs.   South and West Auckland on the other hand have lower concentrations of wealthy households.

Communication and monetary policy

I was sitting around eating a date scone the other day when I ran into this article by Shamubeel Eaqub.  The topic was central bank communication and whether the RBNZ (New Zealand’s central bank) was doing things well.  Within a number of hours I’d been sent the link numerous times and had received a pile of feedback – with people on all sides fairly angry.  This is an important issue though, so I thought I would note down my own thoughts while they are in my head.

Read more

State schooled pupils and Oxbridge entry

In The Telegraph, Julia Hartley-Brewer claims that the low percentage of state-schooled pupils accepted by Oxford and Cambridge represents a failure of state schools. Her argument is that Oxford and Cambridge have high entry standards and independently-schooled pupils are far more likely to meet them, hence the strong representation of those pupils at the top institutions.

She’s partly right. She’s right that independently schooled pupils perform better at A-levels, on average. It’s also true that Oxford and Cambridge have very high entry standards, which favours independently-schooled pupils. However, that does not fully explain the low rate of admission for state-schooled pupils.

It’s fairly easy to check because the percentage of state-schooled pupils admitted is one of the Performance Indicators published by HESA each year for all universities. The indicators helpfully include a benchmark that accounts for, among other things, the entry qualifications of students. That means we can compare the actual state-schooled intake for each university against a benchmark that takes Ms Hartley-Brewer’s concerns into account, along with other considerations, such as age, ethnicity and sex.

The chart below shows that we would not expect Oxford and Cambridge to take a high proportion of state-schooled pupils, largely because of their high entry requirements. However, even against that adjusted benchmark, they underperform.