Smith n Brown Announce Housing Accord on target at midpoint

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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Government – Housing Accord on target at midpoint

Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Mayor Len Brown have today welcomed the release of the latest Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report, which marks the halfway point of the three-year agreement between the Government and the council to address the city’s housing supply and affordability challenge.

“This report shows we are 1234 homes and sections ahead of our targets at the halfway mark of the Housing Accord. In Year One we achieved 11,060, as compared to a target of 9000. In the first half of Year Two, we are at 5674, as compared to a full-year target of 13,000,” Dr Smith says.

“The period covered in the report includes the traditionally slower months of January and February, as demonstrated by the steep pick-up seen in the consent figures for March. We remain committed to the Accord targets, and the focus of both the Government and the council remains on keeping our foot on the accelerator.”

“The 84 Special Housing Areas (SHAs) created so far as part of the Accord are accelerating the release of land in Auckland and that will continue,” Mr Brown says. “The council will later this month consider more locations for suitability as SHAs, and that programme will continue throughout the year.

“Other council initiatives include the creation of the council-controlled organisation Development Auckland to drive large urban development projects, and the provision of financial tools to enable community housing providers to build more affordable homes.”

The Auckland Housing Accord, agreed on 1 October 2013, set a target of 39,000 new sections and dwelling consented over three years – with 9000 in Year One, 13,000 in Year Two and 17,000 in Year Three. The latest report shows that at 31 March 2015, 16,734 sections and dwellings had been consented.

The Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report, produced jointly by Auckland Council and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), covers the six months from October 2014 to March 2015. The Accord, agreed between the Government and Auckland Council, provides for the creation of Special Housing Areas (SHAs) by the council with the approval of Government. Qualifying developments in the areas are able to be streamlined and fast-tracked.

“We are succeeding in growing Auckland’s housing supply, with the rate of the city’s new house build doubling over the past three years. Our most recent initiative announced as part of last month’s Budget will see further collaboration between the Government and Auckland Council, as we proceed to facilitate housing development on vacant Crown-owned land,” Dr Smith says.

“Our Accord with Auckland Council is one of seven we have agreed to date with local councils to address issues of housing supply and affordability across the country. We are also constraining new section development contributions, removing tariffs on building materials, and making record investments in building apprenticeships. Our KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme, which came into effect on 1 April 2015, provides financial assistance to 90,000 first-home buyers.

“The next key measure is our planned second phase of the Resource Management Act reforms to tackle the long-term issues affecting housing affordability and supply,” Dr Smith says.

Further information on the Auckland Housing Accord is available from: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/ratesbuildingproperty/housingsupply/Pages/aucklandhousingaccord.aspx

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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