The Economy Hub: Auckland housing as bad as Christchurch - Joyce

By Aimee Shaw

Auckland's housing situation is as bad as Christchurch, Minister of Economic Development and Associate Finance Minister Steven Joyce says.

"My thoughts on this is that it's actually remarkably similar to the Christchurch situation post-earthquake," he told Liam Dann in the Budget special of The Economy Hub.

"In Christchurch you had a shock in the market. There's a real shortage of housing, a real shortage of land, lots of challenges with people who are particularly on the margins of society, struggling to get in to housing - very similar to what we are seeing in Auckland today."

The solution to the shortage was to release a lot of land in a hurry, Joyce said.

"That means getting section prices to a level where people can afford to buy and build reasonably priced housing on them and developers don't get the incentive to land bank."

Joyce said Christchurch was able to recover "dramatically" in the housing space following the 2011 earthquakes thanks to Environment Canterbury commissioners at the time releasing land not only in Christchurch, but Selwyn and Rangiora too.

He said the same thing has to be done in Auckland.

"Auckland's housing problems are a regulatory issue, primarily, and [the result of] a long period of under investment in housing which was caused by a strangling of red tape."

Prior to the amalgamation of the Super City, local regional authorities were suing each other to a standstill, he said, causing a backlog of regulatory issues.

"Remember when we came in and put the Super City together, one of the key things was that the eight local regional authorities had been suing each other for years over the interpretation of the metropolitan urban limit," he said.

"So we're dealing with a backlog of regulatory issues, and we are still perhaps getting pretty frustrated with the Council, more generally, that actually that they have not yet got the bull by the horns in terms of supplying enough land."

Following the Budget announcement yesterday, Joyce said cities and metropolitan areas would be provided with adequate land and higher margins so there would be an incentive for developers to take land to the market.

"It's a pretty serious direction," he said.

- NZ Herald

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