Legislation to set up Kāinga Ora — Homes and Communities is before select committee, with the urban development agency scheduled to be up and running from October 1.
At the same time, work is continuing on drafting the second tranche of legislation which will be introduced to Parliament towards the end of the year and will set out Kāinga Ora's powers.
However work is already under way so the agency can get cracking on large scale urban developments as soon as possible.
It will give the agency a range of planning and consenting powers to fast track urban development for large-scale and complex projects, called "specified development projects". Our Government has already announced several of these including Unitec, Mount Roskill, Northcote, Porirua East and Māngere.
Kāinga Ora will be a one-stop shop with a job description to build modern homes and vibrant communities. Having the Government's comprehensive house building programmes run by one agency will prevent the duplication, splitting of key roles and fragmented decision-making caused by the current multi-department approach. It will lead to improved efficiencies and greater integration across the Government's build programme and will enable the capacity contracts Housing NZ is now using to also be used to build affordable KiwiBuild homes and transitional housing at pace and scale.
Partnerships are critical to the future success of Kāinga Ora, which will work alongside local government, iwi, infrastructure providers and property developers.
The New Zealand Transport Agency is working on a business case to look at rapid rail between Hamilton to the Auckland CBD. This exciting proposal could see Waikato commuters travelling the 125km journey to downtown Auckland in an hour.
It would use 160km/h bullet trains to unite our two largest labour markets.
While it is very early days, I hope rapid rail between Hamilton and Auckland is something that can be worked towards over the next few years.
Meanwhile, a regular commuter train service between the two cities is due to start in the middle of next year and is an important starting point in bringing Hamilton and Auckland closer together.
Unlike the previous government who invested 40 per cent of the transport budget into handpicked motorways that only carry four per cent of vehicle journeys, we're taking a balanced approach to transport. After years of neglect we're not only investing more in roads across the country than the previous government, but also in rail, public transport and walking and cycling.
We're giving certainty to the construction sector through creating a public national infrastructure pipeline.
It will help provide certainty and transparency to the industry to ensure it has the capacity and capability to deliver on the Government's infrastructure vision.
The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, NZTA, Defence Force, and Corrections have identified 174 projects, with an estimated value of over $6.1 billion as having funding certainty, or near certainty, in the pipeline over the next decade.
The pipeline will also be gradually expanded to include projects from all central government agencies, as well as local government and, eventually, major private sector projects.
Our aim is to put in place a new system of funding and financing the infrastructure for urban growth.
We have a proof of concept in Milldale, north of Auckland.
Through a partnership between Crown Infrastructure Partners and Auckland Council, an alternative financing model enabled the delivery of infrastructure to support the building of 9000 homes.
By doing this, the houses will be more affordable and be built much sooner.
We are looking to evolve the model further and I will have more announcements in the future.
• Phil Twyford is Minister of Urban Development and Minister of Transport.