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Labour's housing plan: A possible game-changer?

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Property Council welcomes the release of Labour’s Comprehensive Housing Plan and sees it as a possible game-change in alleviating the housing affordability crisis.

"In Auckland, we have a housing affordability crisis and this is because we are not building enough houses to accommodate a rapidly growing population. We have an acute housing deficit, which is only getting worse by the day", said Alex Voutratzis, Director of Policy and Advocacy.

"We are seeing the results of the housing deficit across Auckland, with people living in sub-standard houses, garages and cars. These living conditions are having a range of negative flow-on effects across health, education and social services. We need a bold and dynamic approach to housing affordability in order to address these effects and to create healthy, positive and sustainable communities.

"There is a lot in Labour’s announcement that excites Property Council. We have long advocated for the removal of artificial barriers that prevent Auckland growing out and up. It is pleasing to see Labour endorse our positioning. Planning rules, such as height restrictions and urban growth boundaries restrict land supply and development opportunities, which in turn drives up the price of land and adds substantial, unnecessary costs to building homes".

Property Council believes that focusing on growing the building and construction workforce is crucial for the property development sector. Mr Voutratzis believes that "in order for quality housing to be built, job training must be of the highest standards. We cannot have a situation develop whereby poor training leads to a raft of housing issues in the future".

Property Council also urges Labour to consider counter-cyclical procurement during slower economic times in order to retain skilled employees. "When the economy slows, that is when we should be seeing sustained investment in the provision of housing and infrastructure. This approach will keep more people in employment, and will in turn ensure that vital skillsets in the building and construction industry are maintained.

"We are also pleased to see a proposal to establish an Affordable Housing Authority. This new Authority must work closely and positively with the development sector in order to build the required housing on the scale Auckland requires. There needs to be a balanced approach that leverages off the positive attributes that the Government and a market-orientated approach can bring". Mr Voutratzis stresses "the focus of this Authority must be on building communities and not simply building houses. What’s needed is a holistic approach that takes into account everything that makes a community successful. This includes housing, amenities, access to jobs, quality transport, to the provision of retail and so forth".

Property Council urges Labour to publically release details of how much surplus Crown land is available in Auckland for housing. "We would also like to see how they developed their estimated costings for KiwiBuild housing in Auckland at between $500,000 and $600,000. Our data shows the price of land contributes over half the total cost of a new home. For existing suburbs, section prices can be well in excess of $500,000".

Property Council believes that providing the figures that sit behind the estimated costings will show the development sector that Labour has developed their policies using objective and robust analysis and data.

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