Cracks have emerged between the Government and Auckland Council over an agreement to build thousands of affordable homes in Auckland.
The council told Government yesterday it would not allow three fast-tracked housing projects in northwest Auckland to go ahead until central government committed to upgrading the region's roading.
Finance Minister Bill English shot back, questioning why the council appeared to have cut its transport and water budgets at a time that the city was under huge pressure to grow.
"Things need to move faster than they have," Mr English said. "I hope that their budget isn't going to be sand in the wheels of that process."
Deputy mayor Penny Hulse said three special housing areas in Huapai had been deferred because residents in Huapai "did not want a whole lot more people living in an area with terrible roading and no way of getting down the north-western motorway on public transport".
An Auckland Council spokesman said its spending on infrastructure would be revealed later this week.
Estimates about how many houses were affected by council's decision ranged between 200 and 3000 but Housing and Building Minister later said it was about 230 houses.
Ms Hulse said 84 special housing areas had already been approved in Auckland and council now wanted any further developments to take place in "brownfields", or areas which already had established infrastructure.
Dr Smith said councils could already charge levies on developers, and would get millions in rates from the new housing developments. He warned yesterday that if the council "overplayed its cards" Government could override its powers and approve the housing areas itself -- though he later said this was unlikely.
Kumeu-Huapai Ratepayers' Association chair Peter Sinton said his community's roads and schools were already under huge pressure.
He said the line of traffic at rush hour stretched for 4km between Kumeu and Huapai, badly affecting local businesses, and schools in the area were "bursting".
The proposed developments are in Prime Minister John Key's electorate, and Mr Key said constituents had raised "fair points" about infrastructure and urban crawl. He promised that special housing areas would not be established in the area without upgrades.
Opposition parties said Auckland Council was caught between a rock and a hard place.
It was trying to stop borrowing and keep rates reasonable, but at the same time it was being forced to pay for the cost of increased development projects.
Labour MP Phil Twyford said that although developers were responsible for laying roads, power and water pipes inside their new developments, big new projects on the city fringes still imposed a heavy cost on local government because they needed to connect these utilities.