Councils and Government join forces on housing development

  • Nick Smith
Building and Construction

The Hamilton City Council is to gain access to fast-track powers to zone new areas for residential development under an Accord with the Government, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today during a visit with new Mayor Andrew King.

“Hamilton’s population has experienced growth of more than 7 per cent during the past three years, and this has increased the pressure on housing supply. The new Housing Accord enables the Government and Hamilton City Council to work together to encourage housing development and grow much needed supply,” Dr Smith says.

“I welcome Mr King’s energy in wanting to get greater pace in new residential development in Hamilton. The previous Mayor declined to take up this opportunity three years ago, with a view that the city did not have housing supply and affordability issues.

“This new agreement sets an ambitious target of 4200 homes and sections in the next three years, which would be the largest growth phase during a term of council in the city’s history. I look forward to working with the Mayor and Council on new fast-track Special Housing Areas and the Housing Infrastructure Fund to help achieve these ambitious targets.”

Dr Smith also announced extended Accords with the Tauranga, Auckland and Nelson councils.

“Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless and I have signed a new Accord to replace the existing one, which expires at the end of December. The home building sector in Tauranga has rapidly grown from about 1000 per year to 1500 during the past three years, and we have set a target of 5250 new homes over the next three years.”

Housing Accords in Auckland and Nelson are also being extended – in Auckland to 22 May 2017 and in Nelson to 3 August 2017 - to ensure continued access to streamlined consenting processes.

Dr Smith also released the three-year report on the Auckland Housing Accord, which showed 37,538 new consents and dwellings against a target of 39,000 – or 96 per cent.

“The Auckland Accord has played a key role in supporting new residential development in Auckland. We are building twice as many homes, or nearly 10,000 per year, as compared with the 5000 per year when the Accord was agreed. Special Housing Areas have contributed to this growth, providing 2956 new sections, 2626 new building consents and 1673 homes completed,” Dr Smith says.

“The 34 per cent growth in residential investment in Auckland during the past year to a record $4.8 billion confirms the progress being achieved in growing supply.

“There is no instant or single fix to New Zealand’s housing challenges. A crucial part of the solution is freeing up land supply, and that is being achieved with these Accords, Special Housing Areas, Auckland’s new Unitary Plan and the new National Policy Statement on Urban Development. Other components are the Government’s KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme to support first home buyers, the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, the Crown Land Programme and reforms to the Resource Management, Building, and Unit Titles Acts. The next step will be developing legislation to support major urban redevelopment projects, which I will be advancing in the New Year.

“Residential construction across New Zealand is booming to an all-time high of $12.5 billion, up 23 per cent on last year and about double that of five years ago. We’ve grown the house build rate from 13,000 to 30,000 a year. This is about as fast as you can grow a large, complex sector like residential housing without compromising quality.”