Auckland Unitary Plan recommendations miss opportunity on affordable housing
Community housing groups say the just-released recommendations on the Auckland Unitary Plan will not solve the Auckland’s home affordability problems.
Community Housing Aotearoa Chief Executive Scott Figenshow says the sector is pleased to see increased density of housing in the plan but is concerned that homes will still be out of the reach for many people.
“The density provided by the plan is great but it doesn’t guarantee affordability. We need inclusionary zoning and retained affordable housing provisions to ensure that a portion of the homes meet the needs of our low and moderate income families. Inclusionary zoning ensures that all new larger developments must include affordable housing options. Increasing density does not guarantee that by itself,” he says.
“We are pleased to see the increased density provided for in the Mixed Housing Urban and Mixed Housing Suburban zones which will enable community housing providers to do high-quality, infill development and deliver a mixed income, mixed tenure neighborhood. It also offers greater housing choice and options for families of all types, sizes, and income levels.”
But Scott Figenshow says the sector is very concerned that without a mandatory requirement for inclusionary and retained affordable housing that the additional supply will be out of reach of working poor and even middle-income households.
“International evidence shows that an inclusionary zoning approach consistently delivers affordability as part of new development. Without this tool the price tag for government just gets higher and higher – and that’s not realistic either.”
He says there is still time for Auckland Council to put the affordable provisions back in which would be a complete picture with the otherwise sensible decisions set out in the panel’s recommendations for the proposed Unitary Plan.
Scott Figenshow says adequate transportation and infrastructure funding, along with social and affordable housing funding is also a necessity.
“We need the increased density to be accompanied by affordable public transport options. And all of the funding and planning needs to be coordinated so Auckland works for everybody.”