A third of 200 homes to be built in West Auckland will be earmarked for social housing, Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith says.

The Government today signed a contract with Fletcher Residential to build the homes at Moire Rd in Massey East.

It is the first site to be developed as part of the Government's $52 million programme to free up surplus Crown land in Auckland for housing, announced in May last year.

Another $100 million was invested in the programme in this year's Budget.

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Dr Smith said today that 196 detached, terraced and duplex homes would be built on the 9.2ha site, of which 59 homes would be made available for social housing.

The first homes will be completed in August next year.

The land was originally offered to the Iwi Limited Partnership, who had first rights of refusal, but the partnership declined the offer.

The Crown land building programme is one of the National-led Government's main policies for addressing housing supply in the overheated Auckland market.

Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford said the development was "a start", but that the Government needed to "think bigger".

Two hundred houses was "just a drop in the bucket" for a city that had a shortfall of up to 40,000 homes, he said.

NZH