Is Key All Talk When it Comes to Greenfield Development? Council Sets Aside Land for 160,000 Homes #UnitaryPlan

Council already has 11,000 hectares of land for Greenfield release


There has been a lot of rhetoric from the Prime Minister on housing in Auckland even though the Government has been asleep of eight years (see: Government Asleep at the Wheel for 8 Years so #Budget2016 Misses Auckland Entirely).


The latest from the Prime Minister is that he will oversee the creation of a National Policy Statement to “force”Auckland Council to open up more land for Greenfield development (that is more sprawl).

From the NZ Herald:

Auckland Council loses final say on freeing up land for housing

There is “a fair bit” of land banking in Auckland, Prime Minister John Key says – and the council will soon lose the final say on freeing up land.

Mr Key said land supply issues had been largely solved in Christchurch using the power of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and commissioners.

The Government was not considering commissioners in Auckland, but Mr Key told Radio New Zealand the decision to free up land would no longer end with the council.

Key: Commissioners could run Auckland if Council doesn’t free up land

“[A decision on land] will be one held by conditions set by the national policy statement” Mr Key said. “That’s where the power of national policy statements come in.”

The statement will include specific thresholds for growth, which will trigger a requirement to allocate more land for residential development.

Finance Minister Bill English had previously suggested that councils could be forced to act if the median house reached 10 times the median income.

Asked if the national policy statement would contain a house price to income ratio, Mr Key said it would, but he would not reveal more detail.

“Fundamentally, yes, there is a link. You’ll have to see all those details, and there is a number of factors in there,” he told Radio New Zealand.

There was a “fair bit” of land banking around Auckland, the Prime Minister said, and the special housing areas were only a temporary response.

He felt the debate would soon turn to who would pay for infrastructure to allow developments to go ahead — one of the major obstacles to housing supply in Auckland.

The NPS will not require a law change.


Leader Andrew Little said the criticism levelled at Auckland Council in the past week from Mr Key and Mr English came after a Budget that delivered little in the way of solutions for the housing crisis.

“I think it is typical blame shifting and not taking responsibility for the problem that has appeared on their watch.

“They have clearly attempted to do things about the out-of-control housing market, but nothing has worked. They can’t, having failed in various attempts to do something, then say it’s all Auckland Council’s fault.”


Source and full article:


One small problem Prime Minister. Some 160,000 homes over 11,000 hectares through the Future Urban Zone as part of the Unitary Plan is already set for that extra housing outside of the existing urban area of Auckland. Another 240,000 homes are planned for the existing urban areas. So Council has set aside the land for that housing once the Unitary Plan goes live. What the problem actually becomes is providing the infrastructure which can take two years if not more to provide before any housing can be built. Of course there are land bankers as well and I see no Vacant Land Tax being proposed to knock that one on the head.


So Council has set aside land for 160,000 homes through the Unitary Plan. What is missing is Government stumping up its contributions to get the infrastructure fast tracked so the houses can be built quickly! And through contributions by the Government I mean 100,000 State houses as well as chipping in with things like water, waste water and public transport facilities.


Southern Rural Urban Boundary with Future urban zones in yellow
Southern Rural Urban Boundary with Future urban zones in yellow


So once the Unitary Plan goes live all that yellow Future Urban Zone, some 11,000ha of Greenfield land comes onstream for urban development. ONCE the infrastructure is provided accordingly. Something Key should be manning up and saying the Government will help provide rather than talk hot air on opening up land that was already being opened up.


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