Government to build 34,000 new Auckland houses, classes $650,000 as an affordable house video

Chris Skelton/FAIRFAX NZ

Government announces next steps in social housing plan

The government says it will build more than 34,000 new houses in Auckland over the next 10 years in response to what it calls the city's 'housing challenges'.

The Crown Building Project will replace 8300 old, rundown houses in Auckland with new houses, 24,300 of which would be built by Housing New Zealand through their Auckland Housing Programme.

The houses will be divided between 13,500 newly built social houses and 20,600 affordable market homes.

Social housing minister Amy Adams said the planned social housing would be a significant investment for taxpayers.
ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

Social housing minister Amy Adams said the planned social housing would be a significant investment for taxpayers.

Social Housing Minister Amy Adams said that by affordable, the government meant houses that cost $650,000 and under.

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Adams announced the next steps in the Government's social housing plan for Auckland on Tuesday afternoon at a Property Institute event.

MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ

Andrew Little comments on National's housing policy.

The Government said its housing stock was old, cold and expensive to maintain and in urgent need of upgrading and replacement.

The first houses in this programme were built in July last year.

The houses planned for the programme will be a mix of apartments, houses and terraced housing.

Half of the houses would be two-bedroom homes as that was an area of real need, Adams said. They would be tailored for the elderly and those with disabilities.

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Adams said this was a significant undertaking for the government and for taxpayers.

"It's the equivalent of three-and-a-half new houses on every street across Auckland."

She said the houses would be for the most vulnerable families and for first-home buyers as well as the wider market. 

The houses were planned for areas like Northcote, Hobsonville Point and Tamaki.

Phase one of the plan would cover the next four years and cost $2.23 billion. It would be funded through Housing NZ and new borrowing of $1.1 billion, already approved by government.

Phase two would be funded through the programme's market housing development and rental returns.

Housing New Zealand would retain dividends and proceeds from state house transfers to help fund the programme. 

But Labour has branded the policy an "embarrassing" imitation of its own Kiwibuild policy to build 100,000 affordable homes across the country.

"They've announced 34,000 new houses - actually, it turns out it's 20,000 new houses.

"They can't say, between their affordable and market houses, how many will actually be affordable," said leader Andrew Little.

It was "not a credible response" to the housing crisis.Labour's own policy would see a mix of terraced housing, apartments and standalone housing. "For the terraced housing - medium-density housing - we can get those dwellings in under $500,000 per dwelling.

"For the standalone housing, we think between $500,000 and A$600,000."

Labour's funding model would require borrowing to build the first tranche of houses, then reinvesting proceeds into following tranches. Little said the Government's announcement was "hypocritical".

"Actually it's also sadly embarrassing. Nine years into this Government, they've denied there's a housing crisis - four months out from an election, they're desperate to look like they're doing something about housing."

Little had no issue with the use of bonds to raise money, but said if the Government had stopped demanding a dividend from Housing NZ, it could afford to maintain and replenish the stock it had.

 - Stuff

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