Paula Bennett’s Housing portfolio legacy is beyond shameful

New figures show 98 free-market affordable homes have been built under the government’s Auckland Housing Accord.

The Special Housing Area at Mt Roskill, established under the Auckland Housing Accord.A Special Housing Area in Mt Roskill, established under the Auckland Housing Accord. Photo: Supplied / Auckland Council
The chair of Auckland Council planning committee, councillor Chris Darby, has called the Accord a “dismal failure” in addressing affordability.

The Housing Accord ran for three years from October 2013, but was then extended by seven months.

It offered fast-track planning to accelerate home construction and improve affordability, and at one point, there was a total of 154 Special Housing Areas (SHA) under the accord.

98 homes classed as “affordable” after more than three years of working on the problem is just not good enough.  This is why she was “promoted” to Deputy PM.  If they had kept her around as the poster child of National Party effectiveness, it would have  been an easy hit during an election year.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff convened his own housing taskforce early this year, but has focused on how to improve supply.

The detailed figures show a big pipeline of construction still ahead, in some cases over coming decades.

There are 16,132 individual sections or dwellings already approved, of which 2006 belong to Housing New Zealand. A further 3116 approvals are in the pipeline.

Apart from the 3157 homes completed at the end of June, another 2504 are under construction.

Affordable homes are also being sold outside Special Housing Areas.

Auckland needs to build an estimated 14,000 homes a year to reel-in a shortage of 40,000 and keep up with growth. Latest council figures show completions in the past year running at 7000.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that absolutely zero progress has been made.  We’re still going backwards, even after the government and local government have made “extra effort” to address the problem for close to two terms.

Nobody expects houses to appear overnight.  But once you’ve had four or more years, and you’re still not ramped up to the point where you are merely standing still, let alone getting ahead of the backlog, all we are doing is causing a bigger problem down the road.

Line that up against the construction sector wanting to import another 20,000 workers including their families, ostensibly to build more houses, but these also need to live somewhere in the meantime.

A housing shortage that is getting worse in spite of all attempts to address it while continuing to allow more people to come live here is like a slow-motion train-wreck.  At some point, there is going to be a price to pay.  And the rate- and taxpayers will be picking up the bill for serious political mismanagement.

 

– RNZ

 


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