Press Release – Office of the Mayor of Auckland
Auckland Council is committed to working constructively with the government to address housing issues facing Auckland. The Mayor says the majority of the government’s proposals released this afternoon fit with Auckland Council initiatives including the Auckland Plan, the Housing Strategic Action Plan, the Economic Development Strategy and the upcoming Unitary Plan.
“As the Deputy Prime Minister pointed out, at the moment the housing market is not working. Land is available for development right now in Auckland, but in many cases, developers do not feel confident enough to put that land on the market.
“This is a complex issue that requires the government and councils to work together with developers, the banks, the building industry and all the other players in the housing market to find long-term solutions,” says Len Brown.
“What we are talking about here is New Zealand Inc working together to deal with issues associated with housing in Auckland and other parts of the country.
“I was particularly pleased to hear the Deputy Prime Minister acknowledge the work already being done by Auckland Council on a variety of fronts to address Auckland’s housing issues.
“Urban sprawl is not the answer to housing affordability. We now have broad consensus that the way forward is the creation of an affordable, quality, compact city that gives Aucklanders housing choice through mixed density development on brownfield and greenfield sites, both inside the Rural Urban Boundary and in satellite centres such as Warkworth and Pukekohe.
“Getting housing right is critical to the future of Auckland and I think it is fair to say there is now a common sense of purpose on this issue.
“I am committed to working with the government and all the players in the housing sector on the various work-streams proposed by the government over the next few months and in particular the work-stream focussed on Auckland,” says Len Brown.
“Two areas that require caution are the cost of infrastructure, which can only be funded three ways: through development contributions, rates or taxes. In the end, someone has to pay, the question is who? And with regards to proposed changes to the consent process, the rights of the community must continue to be protected.”
Report from BusinessDesk by Paul McBeth
The government has released a raft of targets and new research projects in response to the Productivity Commission’s report into the unaffordability of housing in New Zealand.
The National-led administration aims to make home ownership more affordable by increasing land supply, cutting the resource consent time for mid-size projects, lifting construction productivity and improving the infrastructure to manage new housing projects, Finance Minister Bill English said in a statement.
“High housing debt diverts money from more productive investments, contributes to New Zealand’s significant overall level of indebtedness and exposes taxpayers to growing demands for State assistance with housing costs,” English said. “Those factors make it vital that housing becomes more affordable.”
In April, the Productivity Commission made a slew of recommendations to improve housing affordability, and was especially critical of Auckland Council’s proposed compact city approach which undermined that goal.
The government is looking at ways to assist Auckland’s housing supply, and is considering legislative change to allow a faster adoption of Auckland’ unitary plan to address that need.
“Many of the changes that will make a difference lie with councils, and the government expects them to share the commitment to improving housing affordability,” English said.
As part of its response, the government will introduce a six-month time limit on council processing of medium-sized Resource Management Act consents to speed up developments including subdivision. It is also looking at ways to create a national or regional hub for consent authorities, and will consider setting up a rival agency.
“If implemented fully, today’s announcements on housing affordability will reduce housing stress and enable the housing market to better meet the needs of middle and low income New Zealanders,” English said.