Housing Minister Nick Smith says in talks about Housing Accords with Christchurch and Wellington Councils; Christchurch to outsource some consenting
Housing Minister Nick said the Government had started talks with the Christchurch and Wellington Councils about agreeing Housing Accords to increase housing supply.
Following on from the creation of the Auckland Housing Accord to consent 39,000 homes in the three years from September 30, 2013, Smith told Parliament he was now looking at similar accords with the Christchurch City Council and the Wellington City Council.
The Government passed the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas bill into law last month. It gave Councils the power to consent greenfields housing developments within 6 months and brownfields developments within 3 months, rather than the three years taken before the new law. Smith announced on October 9 the creation of 10 Special Housing Areas in Auckland under the new law that would open up 6,000 sections.
"The Government's immediate priority was Auckland where the housing supply issues were most acute, but I'm also giving consideration to scheduling both Christchurch and Wellington," Smith said.
Smith said he would be meeting new Labour Mayor Lianne Dalziel in Christchurch to discuss housing and discussions in Wellington were at a preliminary stage, "but I hope to be in a position to make further announcements there next month."
Earlier Smith talked about various steps taken in Auckland to boost housing supply, including announcements from Fletcher Building that it planned to more than triple its building of new homes to 1,000 per year, and news this week that Tony Gapes' Springpark development of 420 townhouses and apartments had been consented in four months. The homes in the development in Mt Wellington are being sold for between NZ$320,000 to NZ$550,000.
"This confirms that the market will respond to demand for lower cost housing if we create the right environment," he said.
Elsewhere, Local Government Minister Chris Tremain said the Government's appointee to the Christchurch Council's building consents division, Crown Manager Doug Martin, expected to have restructured thhe Council's consenting process by Christmas.
“Major challenges lie ahead, with a sharp rise in consents forecast from now until late 2015. However Mr Martin has made it a priority to manage this demand effectively and deliver better service to customers, including faster turnaround times," Tremain said.
“In addition 19 Building Consent Authorities have registered their interest in assisting the Council with its building consenting function. It is anticipated that 150-200 consents per week will be contracted out," he said.