Briefing to the Housing Minister: Housing Is Not In a Good State

And I am being polite


Last week the Briefings to the Incoming Ministers were released to the public and media. I will be covering housing, transport, urbanism and infrastructure over the course of the week. The Minister for Transport, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) is Phil Twyford while Shane Jones is the Minister of Infrastructure.


For a very brief introduction in housing and the urban environment see my Briefing to Transport, Housing and Urban Development Minister Laying Out The Built and Urban Environment post or the slides below:

BIM Built and Urban System 1



In essence the cities is where the action is at with Auckland making up about half of all growth in New Zealand alone. However, cities are all facing acute pressures from sustained high population and economic growth and this growth creates pressures on infrastructure, the environments (human and physical) and most of all HOUSING.


We know housing and public housing (State Housing) is in a mess and has been a mess over the nine years National was in power. The catch is we do not know HOW BIG the mess was until the Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Housing came out last week.


Below is the BIM:

Housing and Urban Development


The part that is the most troublesome:

Housing shortfall via BIM


While we did have the Finance Crisis early in the National regime of 2008-2017 it is and was not an excuse for the housing deficit to hit -44,738.

Sure (and to National’s credit) we had the Unitary Plan being worked through from 2013-2016 with the Plan going operative in November 2016 but that was not an excuse for National to sit on their backside doing not a lot in intervening in the housing market. And by intervening I mean upgrading existing Housing New Zealand stock and building new Housing New Zealand stock at a grand scale. Yes we had the Special Housing Areas that allowed developers to utilise draft Unitary Plan rules (at the time) to speed up housing builds but half the SHA’s never went anywhere and Housing New Zealand wouldn’t utilise them in any significant means.

Simply put the market is not in a position to fix the housing mess and the lack of State intervention in the interim period during the three-year Unitary Plan plan debate has landed us in this pickle. A pickle that is going to take a long time to get right as any State Housing program like Kiwi Build not only both clear that 44,000 existing housing deficit for the existing population but also build for the incoming population as well.


Now thankfully the Unitary Plan is operative and through the zones it allows capacity for 422,000 new dwelling – some 22,000 more than the Auckland Plan had originally visioned.

Unitary Plan New Dwellings
Source: Auckland Council


That is enough dwelling space for around an extra 1,266,000 new residents.

However, remember that we have the deficit of 44,000 to clear out first so the 422,000 new dwelling capacity will not all be there for future growth. None the less we have to bear in mind that the 44,738 housing deficit means (using a 3:1 average) that we are short for 134,214 existing residents already? The consequences:

  • Overcrowding
  • Sleeping in cars
  • Lower productivity
  • Health issues
  • Crime
  • Education issues
  • Poverty


While the Unitary Plan has outlined where new housing can go and at what density levels again the market is not going to clear the deficit currently in place. Cue one Kiwi Build State Housing program to build 100,000 homes with 50,000 of those in Auckland.

Unitary Plan Mixed Housing Urban Zone update

Kiwi Build will  provide enough housing for 300,000 people including if we take in the 44,000 dwelling deficit currently out there. Nominally Kiwi Build’s total program will have some 44% of said program dedicated to clearing out the housing deficit for existing residents before it starts getting into builds for new residents in the future. Again the Unitary Plan (at least for Auckland) is in place so Minister Twyford will have an idea where to do large-scale builds. By large-scale I am hoping that each development is around 5,000 new dwellings whether it be a single Greenfield site or a cluster of Brownfield redevelopments in close proximity to each other.

As a Greenfield example the Southern Future Urban Zone has capacity for 55,000 new homes (165,000 new residents) while a Brownfield example would be Transform Manukau and capacity (if we are hitting maximum density) for 20,000 residents (up from 6,000) (although I think Panuku is being conservative).


I will cover the Briefing on how Kiwi Build could be achieved tomorrow.


In the meantime here is the BIM on housing at State/Social level. In short it does not make for pretty reading owing to the large housing deficit:


Housing and Urban Development – State & Social Housing_1


Latest suburb to San Solarian City. White is the cycle boulevards, the light grey are the shared paths. Both default to 20km/h and can allow local traffic access.



2 thoughts on “Briefing to the Housing Minister: Housing Is Not In a Good State

    1. Build, we mass build.

      Unitary Plan is in place so we know where we can build. Now time to build.


      Factories and automation producing modular housing that can be adapted and flatpacked before being shipped out and put together.

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