Special Housing Areas

Auckland scoffs at Key’s plan to sort out their housing problems

NS0415coverstoryAuckland_isthmus_and_Waitemata_Harbour

Prime Minister John Key today revealed more about the government’s new tool to tackle what it considers the biggest single factor in Auckland’s housing shortage – a lack of land.

Mr Key said the government would soon reveal a “national policy statement” that would override Auckland’s development blueprint, the Unitary Plan.

He said the “national policy statement” would drive the supply of land, with the Resource Management Act having factors that tie into it.

“If the Unitary Plan doesn’t meet the needs of Auckland, the national policy statement – because of the way it works – will drive it, mark my words.”

Auckland scoffs at the mere suggestion that government can achieve anything that way. Read more »

People want more houses, but don’t want government to use any land to deliver them

NIMBYism is alive and well in South Auckland….and rank hypocrisy from labour MPs.

It seems that no one actually wants poor houses (affordable houses) near them, lowering their house values.

A bid to stop a high-density housing development in South Auckland is “ill-informed” and will not be considered, Housing Minister Nick Smith says.

A 4000-signature petition was presented to Labour MP Su’a William Sio on Parliament’s steps this afternoon by two members of Save our Unique Land (SOUL).

The group opposed plans for a Special Housing Area (SHA) in Oruarangi Road, Mangere.

There are plans to build 480 houses on the 33-hectare block of farmland, which is next to the Otuataua Stonefields.

Mr Sio said the Government had no right to use the housing crisis as an excuse to destroy a site which had heritage value to mana whenua.

He said the group wanted a housing solution that was affordable and protected the sacred grounds on the neighbouring land.

But Dr Smith said the petitioners’ concerns had already been considered and dismissed in an Environment Court decision.

“There are no grounds of which that Special Housing Area status could lawfully be undone and that is why the petition is ill-informed,” he said.

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SHA’s are failing dramatically

SHA’s are failing dramatically to achieve the intended purpose of increasing supply. And surprise surprise – the reason is Auckland Council.

A recently released schedule from the Special Housing Area office has revealed that the full build out of SHA’s will not be delivered for 25 years – in 2040.

You can be sure that the reason for this is the rollout of infrastructure.

Council can thwart all greenfield land rollout by refusing to produce the necessary connecting infrastructure and despite that the developers will pay for it.

So what is Nick Smith going to do about it?

Increasing supply was the key plank in his strategy to dealing with Auckland Council and the issue of affordable housing. The results of which are now – two years later – failing.   Read more »

Auckland Council try to blackmail Government over special housing

Auckland Council is threatening to put a halt to some new special housing areas unless the Government pumps in more money to help with infrastructure.

But Housing Minister Nick Smith has shot back at that, saying the Government has the power to steamroll the council and set up special housing areas themselves if it needs to.

The Government has trumpeted special housing areas as a big part of the solution to Auckland’s housing crisis. Eighty-four special housing areas have already been created in Auckland, which has allowed fast-tracked homes to be built.

But the council wants all future special housing areas to be in urban locations. It says the rural ones are too costly because of the expense of infrastructure, such as roads.

The council has put a halt to three special housing areas and says another 42 will be determined partly on the results of discussions with the Government about infrastructure. Read more »

War with Auckland Council

Nick Smith and Penny Hulse have traded blows in the last 24 hours over the affordable housing.

A few weeks back I revealed that the Auckland Council had suspended processing Special Housing Area Consents – the consents that will deliver more homes and affordable homes under the Government’s HARSHA legislation.

At first they wouldn’t admit it, then yesterday Penny Hulse admitted that they had suspended consents, were looking at 40 odd other sites to suspend and don’t want any greenfield subdivisions. They want brownfield intensification. Council thinks it costs too much to build the connecting infrastructure. Boo hoo but also not true according to their own reports.

Nick has jumped in on Auckland Council and told them to process the consents or the Government will do it for them. About bloody time. He also told them to stop reducing their infrastructure budgets to stiff the Housing Accord.

Housing Minister Nick Smith is reminding Auckland Council of Government’s power to override local government if it does not co-operate on speeding up the supply of affordable housing.

[…]    Read more »

Auckland Council appears to have broken the law. Again.

Auckland Council looks increasingly to have breached the law under the HARSHA legislation.

Lately property developers have been log jammed by Auckland Council on Special Housing Area consents. They simply aren’t getting them.

Auckland Council cannot provide the infrastructure links to enable the SHA subdivisions to be built.

Council will say that it cannot provide the infrastructure, because it has not the money and must plan their expenditure and the connections over time.

But that would mean that Auckland Council breached the law and it ignored it’s duties. A requirement of the Special Housing Area legislation – HARSHA – was a requirement that Council identify and tranche only the land that can be connected to infrastructure.

So which one is it? That it could be connected but now Council doesn’t want it to be? Or it couldn’t and they have realised that they stuffed up?

Here is where it gets tricky. To fulfil the obligations of the HARSHA legislation – Auckland Council was required to consent around 39,000 new dwellings within a three year period. To provide the consents all the subdivisions and projects concerned must have resolved their infrastructure issues. Thus, the consents can only be given IF Auckland Council provides the infrastructure.    Read more »

Please sit down: Len Brown delivers on special housing

Mayor Len Brown

Mayor Len Brown

Auckland mayor Len Brown told TV One’s Q+A programme that 170 houses have been built in Special Housing Areas as a result of the Housing Accord between Auckland City and the government.

“…so under the Special Housing Areas we know that of the sections created and the building consents given, which is around 1200, there have been 170 houses built as a consequence. And the reason why we know that is because we are actually holding much, much closer focus on those Special Housing Areas.”

At the mid-way point, the Housing Accord has so far approved more than 16-thousand building consents.

170.

And somehow this is a source of pride… why?   Read more »

National all rhetoric on housing, but little is delivered

How the government got through the election without this particular policy failure biting them in the bum is beyond me.

It’s been revealed the Government’s flagship housing policy has delivered just five homes in its first year.

And in a week where Auckland’s house prices reached a record high, the Government’s strategy has been labelled an utter failure by the Opposition.

The Government last year promised to get on top of Auckland’s housing crisis by building new subdivisions. Tens of thousands of homes would be built in fast-tracked zones called special housing areas.

“We know this has been a problem that’s been around for 30 to 40 years, it’s not going to develop overnight and it’s not going to be fixed overnight,” says Prime Minister John Key.

Granted, Len Brown and his band of merry troughers have a large part to play.  But five houses?  The private sector could have put up 5 houses.  It is a terrible result, and one that needs turning around.

Read more »

Len and Auckland Council telling porkies about SHA consents and housing

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Len Brown was on Radio Live with Duncan Garner last night spouting on about how many consents that Auckland Council has consented in the year to date and patting himself and his Council on their own backs for ‘delivering’ outcomes.

But its all a numbers game using smoke machines and mirrors. The master of slipperiness – Len Brown – didn’t want to answer how many dwelling consents have been approved for developments on SHA (Special Housing Areas) land. And nor could he say how many consents have resulted in construction starts or houses built.

And the reason why he slipped and slid around the questions is because the answer is that not much of anything is consented under SHA’s and not much is being built.

Auckland Council is merely going through the motions. Being seen to be doing things. Because running about town designating land into SHA’s is as easy as farting.

But consenting them and delivering infrastructure – that’s a different kettle of fish.

Developers and land owners are starting to find that the idea of the SHA is noble and can work but its a crap idea if its in the hands of Auckland Council.   Read more »