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Community Housing Peak Body applauds Auckland Accord

Community Housing Peak Body applauds Auckland Accord

The community housing sector faces a new era of opportunity and is ready to pick up the challenge presented by the Auckland Accord. Community Housing Trusts leverage resources not available to the private sector alone, and provide the ability to retain affordability for future generations. Community Housing Aotearoa welcomes the collaboration between central and local government and the ensuing benefits to the Council, to Government, to the private sector, and most importantly, to all Aucklanders.

Community Housing Aotearoa welcomes the strategic approach being adopted to tackle affordable housing issues through the accord agreed upon by Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown and announced on Friday by Prime Minister John Key and the Auckland Mayor. “The Accord will provide a solid basis for helping to resolve the burgeoning housing supply crisis that the city faces and concurrently address some of the affordability issues that challenge a growing proportion of Auckland residents. By avoiding the early adoption of the more controversial aspects of the Unitary Plan, the Accord cleverly enables progress to be made at pace using those provisions of the proposed plan around which there is much more universal support. The Accord represents a collaborative approach between local and central Governments and avoids the spectre of Central Government intervention being necessary to make progress,” says Co-Chair Lisa Woolley.

CHA is especially encouraged to see that there is agreement on strong targets for the number of houses to be built, a mechanism for speeding up the consenting processes and efforts to address affordability issues by building in requirements for developers to incorporate some lower cost houses within their proposed developments. CHA believes that there are a number of community housing providers who are well placed and keen to work with developers to help them meet these affordability requirements, whilst still building well-presented houses that will blend in with the overall development.

“The community housing sector faces a new era of opportunity and is ready to pick up that challenge,” says Co-Chair Warren Jack. Community Housing Trusts are able to leverage resources not available to the private sector alone, and provide the ability to retain affordability for future generations. These are benefits to the Council, to Government, to the private sector, and most importantly, to all Aucklanders.

CHA has some concerns that the concept of affordability may get lost in translation unless there is further confirmation that an affordability dividend component is retained and is capable of being recycled for the benefit of future generations as well, and not simply a one-time discount of house price that becomes a lotto-win for a lucky buyer.

CHA also has questions about the availability of sufficient skilled construction workers to meet the construction targets but believes this provides an excellent opportunity to encourage youth to enter building trade apprenticeships and help provide the skill base that will be needed to achieved the Auckland Plan’s targeted 400,000 new houses over the coming 30 years. The resultant reduction in youth unemployment would bring welcome relief to another of Auckland’s chronic social issues.

The Productivity Commission’s study into Housing Affordability highlighted the high cost of building materials relative to those in Australia in particular, but also to other developed countries and so the forthcoming enquiry into the building materials supply chain in NZ is also a welcome development.

Over the forthcoming months, CHA looks forward to taking action with the Council, Government and Developers with regard to the future workings of the Special Housing Areas and the achievement of improved housing affordability within the Auckland Housing Accord.

Community Housing Aotearoa is the Peak Body for New Zealand Community Housing Providers and has a membership of 62 organisations who are dedicated to providing quality, affordable and sustainable rental and ownership housing to their client groups.

ENDS

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