A Budget Surprise
It was not meant to be announced until today in Budget 2015 but it was let slip last night that the Government is looking at flipping some if not all of its 430 hectares of land that it owns (does not include land owned by NZTA nor Kiwi Rail I believe) for housing.
Budget to develop housing on Crown land
3 News can reveal a major part of tomorrow’s Budget will be a plan to develop housing on parcels of Crown land in Auckland.
A work tender mistakenly placed on a government website today details how the programme aims to deliver housing developments “at pace”.
Finance Minister Bill English and Prime Minister John Key are keeping quiet on tomorrow’s Budget.
The problem is one of the big secrets is out, bizarrely, with a tender advertised on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website for development of housing on Crown land, including residential land parcels and government land parcels.
It’s looking to: “Identify suitably qualified parties or consortia with the capability and capacity to deliver housing developments at pace in Auckland.”
After 3 News saw the advertisement, the Government gave over a document (see below) admitting more details. The Government will open up 430 hectares of public land in Auckland for affordable housing – that’s more than 50 rugby fields of land.
Housing Minister Nick Smith said he expected “thousands” of houses would be built on the land by private companies.
Dr Smith said money from the Budget would be provided for the Government to buy some of the land off universities.
Dr Smith said the private companies that built houses would not have to pay for the houses upfront, instead paying the Government once the houses were sold.
That is likely to be controversial, as it will be seen as the Government giving a leg up to private companies.
So the Government wants to start building houses and put them on public land, like that owned by the University of Auckland on its Tamaki campus.
“I’m having a pretty close and hard look at where there are land holdings that will help deal with the challenges over housing that we have in Auckland,” says Dr Smith.
Full article here: http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/budget-to-develop-housing-on-crown-land-2015052018
Transport Blog has the pictures and comparisons of how much land is up for development here: Building on Government Land
Looking at what limited information has come forward so far pre Budget I have no particular issues Government using its own land to help get more housing on stream inside Auckland. That said while I don’t mind ex-defence land like at the old Papakura Military Camp being flipped for development I am more wary of reserve or conservation land being used. If the Government does not want its reserves or conservation land then maybe gift it to Auckland Council so it can be part of our green lungs especially in a rapidly growing city such as Auckland.
The 3-News report did give mention to how a developer could develop on Crown land for free and then the proceeds from sale go back to Government. No comment on that from me yet until the full details are released later this afternoon in Budget 2015. But for now for the rest of this policy from Government? Certainly a fine start and definitely a start if our Minister of Finance does support actual intensification in Auckland via the Unitary Plan.