Progress on Auckland housing welcomed

Comments Off | 03-26-2014

The first monitoring report of the Auckland Housing Accord was released by Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown following their meeting in Auckland today, with both the Minister and the Mayor welcoming the progress being achieved.

“Housing supply and affordability remains one of the biggest challenges for Auckland and the wider New Zealand economy. Good progress is being made with a significant increase in new sections, new houses and new apartments being consented in the first four months since the Accord was signed. We’re on track to achieve the first year target but we must maintain momentum if we are to make a lasting change to the supply side of Auckland’s housing market,” Dr Smith says.

“Together with the Government, we are making good progress in addressing Auckland’s housing challenges, but there’s still more for us to do. We’re looking forward to the first quality homes within the SHAs being ready for people to move into later this year,” Mr Brown says.

The joint Auckland Housing Accord Monitoring Report from Auckland Council and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) covers the four months from October 2013 and January 2014 since the three-year agreement was signed between the council and Government to increase housing supply and affordability in Auckland. The report shows that in this period, 3599 new sections were created and dwellings consented. More new dwellings were consented in the 12 months to the end of January 2014 than in any 12-month period since September 2007, while the December 2013 year-on-year monthly growth rate of 38 per cent for new dwellings was the highest since March 2003.

The Auckland Housing Accord provides for the creation of Special Housing Areas (SHAs) to be created by Auckland Council with the approval of Government, and qualifying developments in the areas are able to be streamlined and fast-tracked. The first and second batches of SHAs were announced in October and December last year, with 22 established in total to date. A third tranche is expected to be announced halfway through this year.

“The early days of the Accord have been very focused on the new tool of SHAs, but today we also discussed the progress that needs to be made on important questions such as infrastructure and material costs. I’m also pleased that we’re getting a greater degree of integration of council decision-making processes with Government agencies such as the Ministry of Education. We are now seeing proposals for new and expanded schools being aligned with the council’s work on new housing areas,” Mr Brown says.

“Auckland Council is to be congratulated on its part in these positive early results. It has been particularly innovative in establishing the Housing Project Office (HPO), which provides more efficient planning and consenting processes within the SHAs. Given the great feedback I’ve received on the HPO, its work may evolve into a new benchmark for how planning for housing is undertaken within local government,” Dr Smith says.

“I encourage Auckland Council to maintain focus on reducing barriers to new housing supply. The Government intends to continue working with the council on this important issue. The results released today is evidence of the positive benefits that can be found in this collaborative approach.”

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