Members of the Queenstown Lakes Mayoral Housing Affordability Taskforce presenting their recommendations: chairman John MacDonald, Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust executive officer Julie Scott, Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult, Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust trustee Stephen Brent.
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult formed the Taskforce earlier this year to investigate ways of addressing housing availability and affordability across the district, with an emphasis on the needs of key workers, families and long term residents.
The taskforce report presents six recommendations, all aimed at addressing the supply and affordability of housing, while offering families and workers security of tenure and the ability to buy into New Zealand’s least affordable housing market. “The Taskforce has done a magnificent job in a relatively short amount of time. I am delighted to see such a range of aspirational but practical solutions to our district’s housing issues and I will be urging the Council to accept the report,” said Mayor Boult.
Queenstown Lakes District Councillor and Taskforce Chair, John MacDonald is excited about the report and hopes his fellow councillors will vote to adopt its recommendations in full.
“While we’re all lucky to be able to call this place home, buying into the market is almost impossible for many residents. We’ve taken a fresh approach to the idea of home ownership and have some really forward-focused recommendations that will help people to find quality long term rentals or get into their own home, while creating a community housing asset that will exist for many years to come.”
“Sitting by and hoping the housing market will develop a solution of its own simply hasn’t worked and we need to take action to ensure we continue to have a balanced community to call our own. People have already been forced out of our district by the lack of secure, quality, affordable housing and we want to do whatever we can to ensure this doesn’t continue.”
The taskforce recommendations include building a portfolio of secure long-term rental options, changes to visitor accommodation such as Airbnb, changes to zoning and intensification regulations, addressing household income support with central Government and building a long-term housing strategy for the district with a stronger, scaled up Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust (QLCHT).
Further, in what could be a national first, the taskforce is recommending a Secure Homes scheme that sees home and land separated so people on lower incomes can afford to buy a home whilst renting the land it sits on in perpetuity. While the land would be owned by the QLCHT, the home would be owned by the home owner and any market-value increase of the home would be capped, allowing others in a similar financial position the ability to buy the house if it was sold in the future.
Mr. MacDonald explains that this approach would be used across the district with the aim of having 1,000 affordable homes available for use by 2028. “We want to create an asset owned by the community designed solely for the purpose of ensuring there continues to be a vibrant local presence in the district. If house prices continue to move the way they have been there simply is no way the people we need to run our district will be able to afford to live here, and that will have huge implications for the sense of community that is so crucial to making this a great place to work, live and visit.”
“One thing the Taskforce is at pains to avoid is any impact on existing land owners’ property values. We’re exploring new models of home ownership and secure accommodation, without affecting the current market and those who have already invested in it.”
QLCHT trustee and Taskforce member Stephen Brent believes there is real potential to strengthen the Trust’s relationship with QLDC and progress the proposals listed in the Taskforce’s report.
Mr Brent said, “The Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust has been involved right from the start of the Taskforce’s creation and counts two of our members as part of the Taskforce itself. We’re really positive about the options being put forward.”