$300m to bring forward Auckland developments
The Government will loan Auckland Council $300 million to accelerate the construction of thousands of homes.
But two further infrastructure projects of at least that value were still to be announced over the coming weeks.
Tuesday's loan included five roading and five water projects designated by the council as "priority, fast track-initiatives".
Auckland Council would be lent $300 million interest-free between 2019 and 2017 from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) which would be repaid within ten years.
This would allow the construction of 10,500 homes in greenfield areas in Whenuapai and Redhills, north-west of Auckland City, to be "brought forward", mayor Phil Goff said.
"Accelerating housing delivery in Auckland is a priority," Goff said.
"I welcome the Government's recognition of the growth challenges facing Auckland and their readiness to work with council to address issues in our city for the benefit of all New Zealand."
Goff said the loan was most of what the council had asked for, but was only a partial answer to Auckland's needs.
The council was constrained by how much debt it could take on, and the Government understood the challenge this presented when it came to funding much-needed infrastructure projects.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce had foreshadowed there would be a further announcement about this in the coming weeks.
"We've been innovative in the way we approach that," Goff said.
"I would imagine the package in a couple of weeks will be larger than the one announced [Tuesday]."
Joyce said the council had made it clear they wanted to look at other models outside of the HIF to support some additional applications.
The two other "sizeable" projects required capital which would not put constraints on the council's balance sheet.
"There are a couple of other projects that are at least the size of the project you see [Tuesday].
"We're developing a mechanism to help the council achieve that infrastructure."
The Whenupai Structure Plan anticipated between 8100-10,700 dwellings would be built over the next 10-20 years.
In stage one about 1800 dwellings could be built between 2017-2021.
The council's HIF would fund a $2m stormwater system; a $10m Trig Rd upgrade and realignment; a new $18m bridge crossing to the West Harbour ferry terminal; a wastewater pump station at Westgate, and $60m for stage two of the Northern Interceptor wastewater pipe.
However, as previously reported, stage two of Whenuapai couldn't start until additional infrastructure – principally the Northern Interceptor and highway improvements – were completed.
Construction of stage one of Watercare's Northern Interceptor pipeline was expected to start later this year.
The new pipeline would redirect wastewater flows from Massey, Whenuapai, Hobsonville, Kumeu, Huapai and Riverhead to the Rosedale Wastewater Treatment Plant, in Albany.
It's expected to accommodate growth in the north-west for the next 15-to-20 years.
The Redhills greenfield area bordered Fred Taylor Drive, Nixon Rd and Red Hills Rd.
The council's loan would fund a $30m sewer; the Northside Drive $30m extension; an $80m Redhills north-south arterial road; $80m Fred Taylor Drive extension; and a $2m stormwater system.
Stage one of about 3,500 dwellings across 200 hectares were expected to be built over the next 10 years in the new west Auckland suburb of Redhills. The council's website said construction would commence in January. It was zoned future urban under the unitary plan.
However, Whenupai stage two – and the second stage of Redhills called Redhills North – was pushed out to 2028-2032 earlier this year. Auckland Council made changes to the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy delaying the developments in March.
Goff said Auckland Council would continue to need billions of dollars of extra investment to keep pace with the city's "unprecedented growth".
"The HIF package will help significantly, but with ongoing growth and the pressing need for matching infrastructure, we will need to continue to work together to increase and bring forward investment to tackle Auckland's housing shortage and growing congestion," Goff said.