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Debating the future of Auckland’s housing

Debating the future of Auckland’s housing

With only weeks until the General Election, Auckland’s mounting housing crisis will be put under the spotlight in an Election Debate hosted by the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland.
The debate’s topic “Market forces or bold policy? Achieving affordable quality housing in Auckland” will allow voters to hear representatives from five of the main political parties outline their plans to address the Supercity’s on-going housing issues.

At the start of the debate each political candidate will be asked to respond to the following statement and questions: According to the Auckland Council, the city faces a housing crisis because of under-supply, lack of choice, poor quality stock, declining affordability and home ownership. How does your party intend to address this crisis should it become the next Government? Is it a national issue?

The candidates will then be asked to answer a further five questions, from a list of eight, selected by the debate’s MC, well-known journalist and political commentator Rod Oram. The audience will then have an opportunity to ask their own questions.

Participants include the current Minister of Housing, the Honourable Dr Nick Smith (National) as well as four other contenders for the role – Phil Twyford (Labour), Julie Anne Genter (Green Party), Susan Cullen (Maori Party) and Denis O’Rourke (NZ First).

The Election Debate, which is expected to be informative and lively, will allow the voting public to hear first-hand the main political parties’ diverse policies for the future of Auckland’s housing. The debate is free and open to everyone.

The Election Debate
Tuesday 2 September 2014
Fisher and Paykel Appliances Auditorium
Level 0,
Owen G Glenn Building
12 Grafton Road

Chaired by Rod Oram

Featuring political candidates:
The Honourable Dr Nick Smith (National)
Phil Twyford (Labour)
Julie Anne Genter (Green Party)
Susan Cullen (Maori Party)
Denis O’Rourke (NZ First)

Each candidate will be asked to answer five questions from the following list of eight. One minute will be allowed for each answer:

1) Over the last 20 years, house prices in Auckland have increased at a greater rate than household incomes. A recent report suggested that an average house in Auckland will cost eight times more than the average household income. How might this be addressed?

2) Housing expectations in terms of size, quality and location have increased faster than household incomes. Are our current housing aspirations too high and beyond what we can afford?

3) It is not all about land supply. The Productivity Commission highlighted a range of factors effecting housing affordability, including construction costs and financing requirements. How would you address these factors to improve housing affordability?

4) Environmental performance and good design are key elements in housing quality. In your view, does quality come at the expense of affordability? Can we achieve both?

5) The demographic and household profile of Auckland is changing quickly. It is critical that housing caters for different life stages, cultures and families/whānau of different sizes and types. How can we ensure that our housing stock is sufficiently diverse to meet these needs?

6) The rate of home ownership is continuing to decline in Auckland (around 61% in the latest census). NZ does not have the large-scale providers of rental housing that exist in other countries. What measures would you undertake to ensure security of tenure for the rapidly growing rental sector?

7) According the Children’s Commissioner, poor quality, insufficient supply and cost of housing are critically related to unacceptable rates of child poverty in New Zealand. What actions would you take to address this issue?

8) The top priority in the Auckland Council’s Auckland Plan is the creation of “Quality, compact, urban environments” through “urban intensification and carefully managed peripheral growth”. Do you support this goal and what impact will it have on achieving greater housing affordability?


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