Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Fast-track plan for 18,000 Auckland homes + maps

Auckland gets third lot of special housing areas designed to skirt consultation and other development delays.

Jessica and Tristan Lomberg have bought in Mt Wellington. Photo / Greg Bowker
Jessica and Tristan Lomberg have bought in Mt Wellington. Photo / Greg Bowker

The announcement of 41 new "special housing areas" across Auckland will allow 18,000 new homes to be fast-tracked.

As part of the plans, parts of Great North Rd, Otahuhu, Flat Bush, New Lynn, Northcote, Albany East and Takanini have been earmarked as strategic areas for large-scale development.

Yesterday's announcement by Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Housing Minister Nick Smith detailed the third, and biggest, tranche of new housing areas identified under last year's Auckland Housing Accord.

The accord provides for the creation of areas where consents will be streamlined and fast-tracked. But the plans are raising concern in areas from Takapuna to Newmarket, as residents realise their streets will change dramatically.

Dr Smith and Mr Brown made their announcement at 11 Akepiro St, Mt Eden, a site to be developed into 18 units by Ockham Residential, whose developments include The Isaac and Turing apartment buildings in Grey Lynn.

Dr Smith predicted the first places would be ready by the end of this year.

"Not all of the SHAs [Special Housing Areas] will deliver all of the housing within the three-year term of the accord - some projects may take up to 10 years to complete. That is why the council and Government will continue to work on many more SHAs, with the next tranche planned for August," Dr Smith said.

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Mr Brown said the latest batch of SHAs included seven strategic areas identified as having good transport links and access to other infrastructure.

"These are larger areas where we don't yet have developers with proposals, but where we are signalling to the market that we want to encourage growth. "In addition, many of the SHAs announced today are significantly larger than those in the first two tranches, and include 34 direct requests from private landowners or developers as well as extensions to three existing SHAs," he said.

Twenty-two areas, with the capacity for 15,500 homes, have already been announced.
See a regional map of the new areas here:

The new areas are still subject to Cabinet approval and a recommendation to the Governor-General.

The latest announcement has upset some North Shore politicians who say the areas will suffer from intensification.

Jan O'Connor of the Devonport Takapuna Local Board and Grant Gillon, Lorene Pigg and John Gillon of the neighbouring Kaipatiki Local Board said they were appalled by the plans. "The Northcote Special Housing Area is of particular concern, as there are known to be severe stormwater and flooding issues which make this area unsuitable for intensification in this way," the leaders said.

A council Housing Project Office spokeswoman said a stormwater project to resolve the flooding through Northcote town centre would be brought forward and having the area designated an SHA would accelerate completion.

The local politicians said all of Northcote Central, some of Beach Haven, the Smales Quarry land bordering Lake Pupuke, and other North Shore land had been designated for fast-track housing development which would bar public consultation.

Aucklander Tristan Lomberg believes the new areas are good for the city. He and wife Jessica looked extensively before making a deposit on a townhouse in Springbark, Mt Wellington, which is yet to be built.

"The New Zealand psyche is that people have always wanted their own standalone house with a picket fence. We have entered the point where it must change. The Government has got to find a good balance because it has taken too long to get new houses built."

$860 saving for families

Auckland families would be $860 a year better off if Auckland Council relaxed its tight urban boundary restrictions, according to a discussion paper out today.

The report, Big City Life? Challenges and trade-offs for Auckland city , is written by Dr Kirdan Lees of the NZ Institute of Economic Research and funded by the Reserve Bank, Treasury, Ministry of Transport and NZIER.

It criticises the cost of housing but says big improvements could be made if more fringe land was rezoned to boost Auckland's greater metropolitan area from 578sq km to 708sq km - a 22 per cent extension.

The $860 a year improvement would apply to each family and come from lower goods, housing and commuting costs.

"Land availability is crucial to making Auckland one of the world's most liveable cities," the paper says.


Read the report here:

High house prices and traffic congestion work against Auckland attracting productive capital and people, yet the city needs to plan for another 500,000 new residents in the next 20 years.

But Auckland has less well-located land than Australia peers Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, the paper says.

See individual maps of the new special housing areas here:

Flat Bush

New Lynn

Takanini

Great North Road

Otahuhu

Albany East



Northcote

- NZ Herald

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