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Councillors Asked To Approve Draft Strategy And Planning Policy On Housing Measures

Elected members will be asked to approve the draft Queenstown Lakes Homes Strategy and Action Plan, and inclusionary zoning policy options for the District Plan at the Full Council Meeting on Thursday 29 July 2021.

The intent of the draft Queenstown Lakes Homes Strategy is to improve the housing system for residents in the district, by identifying challenges and setting outcomes, goals and actions to address housing affordability.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said that the Queenstown Lakes was world-renowned as a place to visit and enjoy, and that many people moved to the district to attain an unrivalled work life balance.

"However, this attractiveness comes with a price tag and housing in our district is among the most expensive in the country. The root causes of housing affordability are complex and addressing this has been something I have been personally passionate about since coming to office in 2016. Key challenges in the Queenstown Lakes centre on housing supply, choice, availability and quality," said Mr Boult.

"Housing is a fundamental aspect of individual, household and community well-being, and by describing the challenge our district faces and setting a direction to address this, the draft Queenstown Lakes Homes Strategy and Action Plan could provide a specific scope for housing work, and set out Queenstown Lakes District Council's (QLDC) role in influencing change in the housing system through advocacy, partnership and local action. I am very keen to hear what our community thinks about this proposal.”

One policy solution being considered to help address the housing needs of low to moderate income households is inclusionary zoning.

Chair of the QLDC Planning & Strategy Committee Councillor Penny Clark added that while a number of Council and government initiatives to address housing affordability were underway, the need for housing for those on or around the median wage could be seen through the approximately 750 households on the waiting list for the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust (QLCHT).

"Despite positive steps to address supply both locally and nationally, the reality for many locals in our district is that housing, when built or on the market, is just too expensive. This has been a massive challenge for decades and remains a real and ongoing concern for many residents in the district,” Ms Clark said.

"Population growth is projected to continue despite the ongoing fallout from COVID-19, and we’ve got to take action to ensure more of the housing created in our district remains affordable for those that need it - the hard-working locals we all rely on."

Inclusionary zoning is a planning method which requires or incentivises developments which meet set criteria to provide a portion of the development for affordable housing.

QLDC General Manager Planning & Development, Tony Avery pointed out that planning methods like inclusionary zoning were used internationally in places like London and San Francisco where the housing markets were expensive, but it wasn’t widely used in New Zealand or Australia.

"These policies are always specific to the local context, as there is no 'one size fits all' approach," Mr Avery added.

If approved, the community will be asked to share feedback on inclusionary zoning and a range of options, from QLDC reducing and removing controls through to implementing a mandatory contribution for developers to include some retained affordable housing across most of the district.

"It's important to note that QLDC has used the concept of inclusionary zoning to a certain degree in two different ways since the early 2000s, with Stakeholder Deeds and the Housing Accord and Special Housing Areas Act 2013 (HASHAA) both combining to provide $24M of affordable housing in the district, delivered through the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust," Mr Avery said.

Feedback on the draft Queenstown Lakes Homes Strategy and inclusionary zoning options for the District Plan will open at 9.00am on Monday 16 August 2021, if approved by elected members.

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