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Christchurch Housing Accord a Joke

Christchurch Housing Accord a Joke

Hugh Pavletich
Performance Urban Planning
New Zealand

16 April 2014

The Housing Accord entered in to today between the Government and the Christchurch City Council, can only be described as a joke.

Christchurch is internationally rated a “severely unaffordable” city ( refer Demographia Survey), with housing near 6.0 times annual household incomes.

Normal markets do not exceed 3.0 times annual household incomes, requiring sensible mortgage loads of about 2.5 times.

Not surprisingly, on a population basis, much of the new residential development is taking place in the better-run adjoining Local Authority areas of Selwyn, Waimakariri and Hurunui.

These smaller Councils welcome development.

In contrast, the Christchurch Council is hostile to new housing and business.

The Accord bears no relationship to the express directives of the Government with its major housing announcement October 2012 ( access Performance Urban Planning) by Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, where the focus is on …

• Land supply
• Infrastructure financing
• Process
• Construction costs

This major Government announcement followed the release of the Productivity Commission report earlier 2012 (access report) .

Well prior to this, back in 2007 / 08 there had been a Parliamentary Commerce Committee Inquiry chaired by Gerry Brownlee (access report).

Late last year Prime Minister John Key made the Governments direction on affordable housing crystal clear … Action on affordable housing - Rt Hon John Key (video) ..

Land supply is the major issue.

All this earlier work led to the enactment 2013 of the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act.

The Christchurch Accord trivializes this serious issue, with its rinky-dink 180 unit development distraction.

Clearly, The Government and the Christchurch City Council have no intention of allowing affordable housing to be built.

They have failed … miserably.


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