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Queenstown being considered for Housing Accord

Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister of Housing

9 May 2014

Queenstown being considered for Housing Accord

Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith met with Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden to discuss the district being scheduled under the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013.

“The median house price in Queenstown is $664,000 and the district is one of the five least affordable housing areas in New Zealand. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how the Government and Council can work together to improve supply and affordability,” Dr Smith says.

The Government has already concluded Housing Accords with Auckland and Christchurch and has discussions underway with Wellington and Bay of Plenty. A formal Housing Accord is only possible if a district is added to the schedule of the Act.

“My officials advise that Queenstown meets the thresholds of the Act and has significant affordability issues. I want to discuss with the Council whether they concur with that assessment and how we can improve housing in the district,” Dr Smith says.

“Queenstown has quite unique characteristics to its housing challenges. The topography is quite difficult in that there is little easily developable land close to the town centre. The district also has high demand for people who work in the tourism and hospitality industries, whose incomes are not high. The area is also quite different to others like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in having a high number of homes owned for holiday purposes. The Housing Accords legislation is quite flexible and provides for different approaches in different communities.

“I am very supportive of the Council’s initiative in establishing the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust in 2007 and am keen to see the Trust grow. It is just part of the solution and other initiatives are also required.”

Dr Smith said he would make a decision on whether Queenstown would be added to the schedule of the Act after considering the views of the Council and consultation with Cabinet.

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