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Housing Accords work for Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister of Housing

11 December 2013 Media Statement
Housing Accords work expanded to Christchurch, Wellington and Tauranga

The Government’s work with councils to improve housing affordability has been expanded beyond Auckland with Christchurch City, Wellington City, Hutt City, Upper Hutt City, Porirua, Kapiti, Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty being added to the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act.

“New Zealand’s housing supply and affordability challenges extend beyond Auckland. The Auckland Housing Accord is proving to be a successful tool and we are keen to explore how we can assist other councils to get more houses built more efficiently,” Dr Smith says.

“Housing costs in Wellington are most acute in the city, but the wider region of Hutt City, Upper Hutt, Porirua and Kapiti all meet the legal criteria as having supply and affordability issues. Our preliminary discussions with the mayors and councils suggest the best way forward with an accord is to take a Wellington-wide approach.

“The housing issues in Christchurch are particularly challenging with the damage of tens of thousands of houses to earthquake damage, the demand for temporary housing while homes are fixed, and the accommodation required for a burgeoning reconstruction workforce. The work on a Housing Accord with the Christchurch City Council needs to be well coordinated with the new Land Use Recovery Plan and the work of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

“The major housing challenge in Tauranga and the Western Bays is managing projected population growth of 64,000 people over the next 20 years. This will require an additional 1300 homes per year but only 800 per year have been built over the past five years, contributing to high house price inflation. The Government and councils favour a coordinated approach across both districts to address supply and affordability.”

The eight districts were added to Schedule 1 of the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act at a meeting of the executive council today and will be gazetted Thursday 19 December.

“This is a first step. The issues in each city are different and will not automatically mean replicating the Auckland Accord’s focus on fast-tracking housing developments. We want to get officials from Government and council working on identifying the barriers to supply and affordability of housing and then putting in place whatever steps are needed to make improvements,” Dr Smith says.

“I am encouraged by the initial response from mayors and councils. There is broad agreement that homes have got too costly in these areas and that the Government and councils need to work more closely together to get house price inflation down.”

ENDS

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