The Deputy Mayor of Auckland, Penny Hulse, spoke today in response to the Salvation Army’s 2015 State of the Nation report, which found that a lack of safe, affordable housing in Auckland and Christchurch is badly impacting the health and well-being of children and their parents.
“Housing remains the most critical issue Auckland faces and the council has numerous initiatives underway to improve housing supply, affordability and quality,” said Penny Hulse. “The collaborative approach between Government and Local Government to increase housing supply through the Auckland Housing Accord is beginning to show results.
“But much more needs to be done and we’d like the Government to look at issues including amending the Residential Tenancies Act to provide greater security of tenure for renters and also the provision of emergency housing, and quality issues. The community housing sector, along with the council in its role as the second-largest social housing provider in Auckland, also has a critical role to play in providing solutions to these challenges.”
Penny Hulse says that the council has never accepted that land supply was the only, or even, the main factor underlying Auckland’s housing crisis, which was identified in the 2012 Auckland Plan.
Auckland Council’s response to the housing crisis has included:
- Collaborating with the Government, Minister of Housing Nick Smith and the development community to get housing up within Auckland’s 84 Special Housing Areas
- Strong advocacy for the early uptake of the new Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan provisions
- Developing a forward land and infrastructure delivery programme
- Offering a limited housing bond guarantee to allow community housing providers to access cheaper loans, so they can deliver a greater number of affordable homes
- Proposing to create an Auckland redevelopment agency, which will increase the council’s ability to take a more active role in urban development, particularly in enhancing housing affordability, choice and quality, and
- Postponed development contributions to be charged nearer to developers’ cashflow; 30 applications approved to date.
Auckland Council is also investigating options to improve the lot of renters in Auckland, looking at issues of rental security as well as minimum standards for rental properties. In addition, there are targeted programmes to improve the housing options for Māori and Pacific Island people living in the Auckland region.
Alongside increasing the levels of overall supply, the council also has a targeted affordable housing programme. All the Special Housing Area developments have a requirement to provide between 5 and 10 per cent affordable housing. This can be through providing houses for sale at less than 75 per cent of the Auckland median house sales price to buyers who meet certain criteria.
An alternative is for developers to partner with community housing providers which will purchase the houses and then provide a range of affordable housing options to those in housing need including shared equity, rent to buy and social rental.
Auckland Council media release 11 February 2015
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