Zoning rules not the main constraint on housing says Mayor Goff

Publish Date : 19 Oct 2021
City Towards Harbour

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the council backs the government’s objective of building more homes more quickly and the need for intensive development as the city grows.

“We are very aware of the longstanding crises of housing shortages and unaffordability which need to be addressed. However, we also want the housing we build and the neighbourhoods we create to be attractive and good places to live.

Aucklanders also wish to retain the best of Auckland’s character and heritage. This needs to be balanced with the need for more housing,” the mayor says.

“In our submission on the government’s bill, we will be addressing our concerns in these areas.

“With respect to intensification, in Auckland it is happening now and faster than ever before. Building consents issued, around 20,000 in the last year, are the highest in the city’s history. In August this year, 70 per cent of dwelling consents issued were for multi-unit dwellings, such as apartments and terrace housing.

“Since the passing of Auckland’s Unitary Plan in 2016, Auckland has addressed most of the criticisms the government is making of restrictive district plans. What is currently holding us back is not planning controls but access to funding to build the infrastructure required to enable the current huge growth in housing,” Phil Goff says.

“We welcome the significant efforts made by this government, including investing $3.8 billion through its Housing Acceleration Fund across New Zealand and co-funding transport infrastructure through the $31.8 billion in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project over the coming decade.

“Even with this assistance, however, there is a major shortfall in infrastructure investment, compounded by shortages of material and skilled labour, high construction industry inflation, and international supply chain constraints.

“These are the critical issues which government, councils and the industry need to address,” the mayor said.

Chair of the Planning Committee, Councillor Chris Darby, says that unlike some other councils around New Zealand, planning constraints are not a significant barrier to house building in Auckland.

“For Auckland, the changes announced today will make only a small dent in the provision of housing consents,” he says.

“The real impediment to building is insufficient investment in supporting infrastructure, ongoing supply chain challenges, and a shortage of skilled workers.

“It is also concerning that while the announced changes focus heavily on quantity, they do not adequately address the need to guarantee the quality of built outcomes. Aucklanders are generally accepting of the need for density but are increasingly concerned about the potential for poor design outcomes.

“The council will be providing feedback to the government over the next three weeks and advocating strongly for improvements to its proposal.”

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