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Nats’ power grabs no solution to Auckland housing

13 March 2013

Nats’ power grabs no solution to Auckland housing

Minister Nick Smith needs to stop threatening Aucklanders with another National power grab and drop his fixation on increasing urban sprawl, in light of a official report that his approach won’t solve Auckland’s housing woes, Green Party housing spokesperson Holly Walker said today.

Housing Minister Nick Smith is threatening to seize zoning powers from the Auckland Council to re-zone more land for urban sprawl. A report from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to Minister Smith states that there is plenty of fringe land available and that the problem is actually lack of affordable home building in existing suburbs.

“Nick Smith hasn’t taken long to revert to his old habits of fudging the numbers and fabricating crises to suit his agenda,” said Ms Walker.

“While Minister Smith is trying to scare Aucklanders into accepting further central government control over local decisions and more urban sprawl, the official advice he has been receiving shows that isn’t necessary,” said Ms Walker.

Officials told Minister Smith that “it is not clear that increasing urban fringe zoned land by itself would increase new homes volumes.”

“The problem is not a lack of developers building expensive houses in sprawling suburbs. The problem is a lack of affordable family homes with good access to public transport and close to the places where families live and work,” said Ms Walker.

“The report makes clear that the building of affordable homes in existing suburbs has plummeted in recent years. There is a severe shortage of developers involved in building this kind of home.

“More sprawl won’t fix the lack of affordable, accessible housing. What we need is government leadership in building affordable houses and a pathway for young families to own them. That’s what the Greens’ Progressive Ownership package provides.

“We don’t need more sprawl. We don’t need more power grabs from National ministers. What we need is policy that will give young families a fair go at owning their own homes. We’re not getting that from this failed National Government,” said Ms Walker.

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