Housing affordability a priority of draft Auckland Plan

Press Release – Auckland Council

Auckland Council says it welcomes a Productivity Commission Report on housing affordability because it addresses the overall cost of housing. Auckland has a housing shortage and declining home ownership. It has a particular shortage of social housing.Media release
18 December 2011

Housing affordability a priority of draft Auckland Plan, says council

Auckland Council says it welcomes a Productivity Commission Report on housing affordability because it addresses the overall cost of housing. Auckland has a housing shortage and declining home ownership. It has a particular shortage of social housing.

“We want to work closely with the Government on solutions at the national and local levels,” said Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse.

“The council has a goal of affordable housing. Although it can influence some costs such as raw land costs, consents and development contributions, it can’t directly influence the materials and construction costs which contribute significantly and are rising.”

Deputy Mayor Hulse added: “The Commission says the council’s target of accommodating 75 per cent of new homes within existing urban limits is difficult to reconcile with affordable housing. There are no absolute rights and wrongs on this. The real issue is to ensure that adequate land is available for both urban intensification and greenfields development, to meet the council’s overall goal of a quality compact city.

“There has been strong support in submissions to the draft Auckland Plan on the goal of a quality compact city. At the same time, there has been debate about whether the proposed 75:25 split between intensification and greenfields development is too bold. Officers are working with private sector developers and the Property Council to further assess, at a detailed level, the physical capacity and market attractiveness for intensification,” said the Deputy Mayor.

“This will provide further evidence to the Council when it agrees to the split between intensification and greenfields development in the final Auckland Plan in February 2012”.

Chief Planning Officer Roger Blakeley said: “There were several reasons for the council’s preference for a quality compact city approach, including international evidence showing greater productivity and economic growth in denser urban areas (the ‘agglomeration’ effect).

“Also, there’s the evidence from Watercare Services and other utility providers which shows it is more expensive to develop new infrastructure beyond urban boundaries than it is to provide that infrastructure within the urban footprint. Urban sprawl means more roads, marginalised public transport solutions, more transport costs, longer travel times and more greenhouse gas emissions.

“A key feature of being the world’s most liveable city will be lifestyle opportunities. People will not want to travel long distances through urban sprawl to enjoy our countryside.”

Dr Blakeley added: “The commission recommended that Auckland bring significant tracts of greenfields and brownfield land to market. The draft Auckland Plan already contains provisions for identifying land, staged release of land within the rural urban boundary, zoning and infrastructure to ensure we have at least five years of ‘ready to go’ land to meet market demand, and a further 15 years forward supply of land in the planning pipeline.

“Submissions have supported this, and some suggested that the supply of ‘ready to go’ land should be increased to 10 years. The council will consider this in deciding on the final Auckland Plan.

“The council is already planning for several of the recommendations in the commission’s report. For example, the council is looking at collaborative models with the private sector and its own council-controlled property organisation for identifying, assembling and releasing substantial tracts of land.

“Also, the council will show in its final plan how it has considered and reconciled affordable housing alongside other priorities and how it will meet the goals of both a quality compact city and affordable housing”.

Ends

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