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Property Institute welcomes Mayoral Housing Report

Published: Mon 12 Jun 2017 03:43 PM
Property Institute welcomes Mayoral Housing Report
Property Institute of New Zealand Chief Executive Ashley Church has welcomed the release of todays Auckland Mayoral Housing Taskforce Report calling it ‘an important piece of the jigsaw’ and says that it makes a substantial contribution to the housing debate and outlines a number of practical and sensible proposals for dealing with the Auckland’s serious shortage of housing.
“Finally, we have one of the key players recognising that the shortage of housing in Auckland will only be resolved through substantial private sector involvement and coordinated public/private planning”.
However, Mr Church says that the proposals in the Report will not work without cooperation from other parties such as the Government and the Reserve Bank.
The report makes recommendations in three key areas:
• developing at scale in a way which will ensure that construction continues through economic downturns
• unlocking the availability of land with appropriate zoning and infrastructure
• enabling efficiency and innovation in consenting and risk management.
Mr Church says the reports focus on maintaining housing construction through a downturn is essential if the current shortage is going to be resolved but says that in order for this to happen current national monetary policy would need to change.
“The obstacles to obtaining sustainable funding is one of the major roadblocks to housing development at both small and large scale – and that’s primarily due to pressures on the Banks from the Reserve Bank and APRA. If you can’t borrow money – you can’t build houses”.
Mr Church says that the second tranche of measures, aimed at unlocking land, contains some worthy ideas and proposals but says that a more coordinated approach to funding mechanisms is needed.
“Council is going to need funds to pay for the land and infrastructure required for the construction of new homes – but the proposed mix of ‘value capture’ rates, land rates, congestion pricing and infrastructure pricing looks more opportunistic than coordinated and a smarter model is needed if this is going to get public buy-in”.
Mr Church says that the proposed changes to Councils own Planning mechanisms, designed to streamline the process of gaining consent and Building sign-off, are sensible and long over-due.
“While I don’t accept that consenting processes are the major obstacle to building new homes – removing them as a bottleneck will help to increase the speed at which they get built”.
However, Mr Church says that, as good as the report is, it still doesn’t address the issue of ‘market incentives’.
“There’s some great proposals in this document – but when push comes to shove you still need to give people reasons to buy new dwellings in preference to existing dwellings. That can be achieved through positive incentives such as tax or rate concessions – or punitive incentives such as higher LVRs on the purchase of existing homes or higher rates on undeveloped land. Some of these could be implemented by Council – some would require cooperation from other parties”.
Mr Church says that the Report should also now ‘put to bed’ any talk of the establishment of a Unitary Development Authority by the Government.
“The SuperCity was set up to act as a Unitary Authority for the Auckland Region and recent talk of a new, draconian, Authority to sit alongside the Auckland Council has been misguided and unhelpful. With this report, Phil Goff has demonstrated that he understands the issues and that he’s quite capable of taking steps to address them. He should be supported rather than threatened with a new, unnecessary, bureaucracy”.
ENDS

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