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Mayor, Ministers And Industry Unite to Build More Houses

Thursday 8 March 2018

Mayor, Ministers And Industry Unite to Build More Houses in Auckland

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, Housing Minister Phil Twyford and Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa today committed to Government working with the Mayor’s Housing Taskforce to increase the pace and scale of house building in Auckland.

The commitment sees the Mayor’s Housing Taskforce, a multi-sector group comprising private sector housing supply organisations and public sector agencies, become a key forum for reviewing, developing and assisting with the implementation of housing policy to better address housing shortages and unaffordability in Auckland.

Work will commence on reviewing specific elements of the Building Act, the Building Code and the building product assurance system to produce quick wins that can deliver more homes in Auckland. The Taskforce will also assist with the delivery of the Government’s Kiwibuild program in Auckland.

Mayor Phil Goff said, “The recommendations from the Housing Taskforce closely align with the programmes outlined by the Ministers. Today’s agreement ensures the right people from across the housing supply chain, council and government are in the room working together to build more houses in Auckland.

“We all share the view that the current regulatory regime for building products is not fit for purpose and holding development back. The Housing Taskforce will work with Government to review existing building regulations to support innovation in construction and land use, most notably modular, offsite and pre-fab construction for medium density housing.

“A key focus of our work will be to develop new revenue sources such as targeted rates and infrastructure bonds for infrastructure investment in Auckland. There is a clear link between the development of transport infrastructure and intensive housing which could help deliver the Government’s Kiwibuild programme.

“We will review risk allocation across all organisations involved in the development process to reduce liability to local government. Council was left carrying the can during the leaky building issue and has naturally become risk averse. We want to encourage innovation and speed up consenting and delivery timeframes.

“Auckland is not the only city experiencing pressure in housing. We expect that some of our work will be able to be applied nationally so that developers can repeat work across New Zealand without facing unnecessary obstacles thrown up by variations in regional regulations and consenting processes.

Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore said, “Auckland Council has introduced a Consenting Made Easy programme which it is continuing to refine. New online, automated and better managed consenting processes will reduce timeframes and fast-track developments in Auckland, and other councils may benefit from using elements of our system.

Mayor Phil Goff said, “Bringing together Auckland Council, government and a cross-section of industry players and experts involved in housing supply to work collaboratively is the best way we can deliver robust and standardised solutions that work practically for the market, and put more houses on the ground in Auckland.”

The announcement comes as the Mayor’s Housing Taskforce reviewed progress against the 33 recommendations set out in the Taskforce’s report from June 2017.

The Report made recommendations in three key areas:

• developing at scale which includes building through the dips;
• unlocking the availability of land with appropriate zoning and infrastructure; and
• enabling efficiency and innovation in consenting and risk management.

Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore said, “Unlocking land for development opportunities is a priority if we are to build houses at the pace and scale Auckland requires. I am pleased with progress so far and we are committed to work with Government to deliver for Auckland.

“Council is in direct conversations with Treasury and MBIE on alternative funding tools and our 10-year Budget has proposed new targeted rates and a fuel tax as alternatives to simply relying on and increasing rates for revenue,” said Mr Cashmore.

Mayor Phil Goff said, “Council group will work with Government to help deliver its Kiwibuild programme designed to increase the supply of housing and make it more affordable.

“This week we have supported plans to rejuvenate the Panmure town centre and enable the building of 1,000 extra homes in close vicinity to excellent new transport infrastructure at the Panmure rail and bus station.

“We and the Government see opportunities to link new transport infrastructure with intensified housing to address Auckland’s challenges of congestion and housing shortages,” said Mr Goff.

A formal report on progress against the Housing Taskforce recommendations will be presented to Council’s Governing Body later this year.


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