Q&A: Jim Quinn, Auckland Council strategy chief

The Auckland Council strategy chief talks about the Demographia report and Auckland housing.
The Housing Accord has a target of consenting 39,000 new homes by the end of September 2016. Photo / Doug Sherring
The Housing Accord has a target of consenting 39,000 new homes by the end of September 2016. Photo / Doug Sherring

What is your reaction to the Demographia report showing worsening of Auckland's situation?

As an international city that is a strong economic force in New Zealand, Auckland is a thriving city and continues to be a popular place to live for both New Zealanders and migrants. Housing supply and affordability are ongoing challenges for many cities worldwide. The affordability of houses is influenced by many factors including a growing population, land supply, the cost of building materials and the allocation of infrastructure. There is no one quick fix and council is working hard in the areas we can influence.

Has the council done enough with the Housing Accord?

The Housing Accord has a target of consenting 39,000 new homes by the end of September 2016. The council exceeded the 2-year combined Housing Accord target of 22,000 new sections created and dwellings issued with building consents by 1806, and created 106 Special Housing Areas in the process where fast-track consenting can take place.

What success has there been with that accord?

In the last two years alone, through the Housing Accord and Special Housing Areas Act, the council has released around 1700ha that would not have been able to be built on for several years without SHAs. Developers are active in the SHAs and homes will be delivered faster because of them. It's also important that people understand council doesn't build houses. What it does do is enable them to be built. During this earthworks season, which began on October 1, Auckland Council expects to see around 1000ha in SHAs undergoing work in preparation for the building of new homes.

Obviously, that's not working fast enough, so what other solutions are there?

The council has a number of positive initiatives under way to help steer housing affordability in the right direction. The target aims to peg back the median house price to five times the median household income. Some of the areas identified that will help us reach 'Five by 2030' include:

• Refreshing the Auckland Plan to include 'Five by 2030' as a housing affordability target

• The Future Urban Land Supply Strategy, which makes ready 11,000ha of greenfield land available for residential development

• The establishment of Panuku Development Auckland to boost residential and commercial development of council-owned land.

We're also focusing on areas where we can reduce costs and risks to developers, improve building productivity, infrastructure and increase the supply of cheaper attached dwellings.

- NZ Herald

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