'Good progress' made on tackling Auckland's housing

ROB KIDD
Last updated 19:29 26/03/2014

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The plan to combat Auckland's housing crisis is on track with 3600 new sections created in its first four months.

Minister of Housing Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown made the announcement on the Auckland Housing Accord at the Town Hall this afternoon.

The accord aims to accelerate delivery of housing across the city, and it is expected that about 39,000 new homes and sections will be consented during the three-year period.

The report on the first four months of that time frame marked "good progress", Smith said.

"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."

The report – compiled by the council and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment – found more new houses were consented in the last year up to January than in any 12-month period since 2007.

Also, the December 2013 year-on-year growth rate of 38 per cent was the highest in the last 10 years.

The accord created "special housing areas" in the city, where development could be fast-tracked.

Smith said a key issue would be getting people over the stigma of apartments built on top of each other.

"We have collectively, between council and Government, got a job to do to tell the story of the changes in Auckland get people comfortable with the intensification that's part of the model," he said.

The streamlined system the council used, by establishing a housing project office, had been so successful it could set the benchmark for housing planning and consent in local government, Smith said.

Brown said the increase in population and housing would put pressure on the city's infrastructure.

"We are now seeking proposals for new and expanded schools being aligned with the council's work on new housing areas," he said.

There would also be a focus on having enough "chippies, sparkies and plummers," Brown said.

During Smith's Auckland trip he had spoken to bosses of Fletcher Building who said they wanted to more than triple the number of houses they built annually in the city.

Because of skills shortages they told him they would be transferring significant numbers of staff from Australia.

The plan to combat Auckland's housing crisis is on track with 3600 new sections created in its first four months.

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