Housing Minister Nick Smith says in talks about Housing Accords with Christchurch and Wellington Councils

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.

Outsourcing consents

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.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment or click on the "Register" link below a comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current Comment policy is here.

21 Comments

After their last big housing bubble, didn't the UK pass a law that councils must ensure that there was always a stock of residential sections available that was tied to the annual rate of house construction? If we required the councils to ensure that there was always say 1 years worth of sections for sale on the market, we would always have a free market for residential land instead of the dishonest jacked up mess that we now have.

Chris-M - if they did pass the legislation that you mentioned one would have to question whether it achieved its purpose. Plenty of information coming from the UK that it hasn't achieved the desired goal. Judging by the large number of UK people who now grace our Local Government buildings, it appears NZ has been importing the UK model for quite sometime.
 
There is not one NZ Politician that wants to sort out this dishonest jacked-up mess.....simply because they are all worried about other consequences that could occur if they tackled the real problems. Nick the Nanny from Nelson has made a few changes but they don't even start to get to the real problem. So I can only assume that the Government is highly concerned about other economic/financial implications that could/would occur if prices were to change to reflect the real value of housing.
Local body Politicians are rarely targeted for their input into this housing price fiasco and yet it is this group who have had the most significant impact upon increasing prices.  Does the NZ voter actually understand where the issues are.....I don't think they do....we only have to look at the very poor voter turn-out in the local body elections. Or maybe NZ'er are just an apathetic bunch who whinge considerably.
The fact that a Government has to have an Accord with Councils tells me the Government knows exactly who is to blame and I think most NZ'ers would actually appreciate a Government who cracked the whip and sorted the Councils out. The voters need to get off their proverbial rear ends and stop expecting everyone else including Government to sort out what is really a voter problem.
Councils are too big and have too much control - they are not serving the populace.
 
There are other issues of which I cannot discuss here due to the fact that I will get an email warning me on my content even though my content would be accurate.

Notaneconomist – well said and yes it makes your blood boil – councils are what are called unconscious incompetents’ – ie they are incompetent but are so bad they don’t even know it, and worse still they are that bad they think they are good. Some of them are conscious incompetents ie they are incompetent but at least they know it.

The first group is beyond understanding, and the second group doesn’t want to understand. Either way both groups don’t want to change as the status quo is fine with them.

I agree, the Govt. need to be more proactive, but is so busy balancing votes that all they will achieve is the appearance of change, but no real change in housing affordability.

Incompetent?  A convenient excuse, but I doubt that they are as incompetent as they appear.  I suspect that they know what they are doing and that is the really scarey thing about it all because I get the sense that some force is sitting behing central and local government pulling the strings.  It could just be the hidden hands of the influence greedy wealthy. 

As an ex-cardy-wearer I'm sure I would remember sitting down to a cup of brimstone with the Illuminati. You can almost always explain council (staff and elected members) performance by remembering they are deeply incentivised to take no risks and maintain control over their own future. That's why developers spook them so much.

When did "build 39,000 homes" turn into "consent 39,000 homes"?

Yes Kumbel , I was wondering when they would start with the weasel words, as you know it will go something like this, 39,000 built, 39,000 consented, 39,000 applications received by, land for 39,000 identified, etc.

OK Bernard did report it on 20 May as 39,000 issued building consents.Even that is physically impossible as it does imply ready-to-build sections. The masses tend to forget that someone has to design, fund and build roads, streets, footpaths, gutters, water supply, sewerage, storm water before the first nail on a house is driven.
 
I had forgotten but I pointed out at the time that if, by some extraordinary miracle, Auckland acheived all this it could lead automatically to rate rises for the rest of the country.And if development speeds up in Wellington and Christchurch (and Tauranga, Hugh) this would only be worse. Still thats the price you pay for sitting on your hands for so long.

Hugh
About 4 or 5 months ago I was criticising the Govt's lack of progress, then you criticised me for criticising them...have you come around to my view that they are way behind where they should be ??? Do you still have faith in them? 

yes,good article but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that high housing costs impact on spending power and hence the economy.There's real ugliness brewing in auckland I believe

... spurned by Gazza huh , Hugh ... think you hit a nerve ... Cool !!!
 
You're not losing much , being ostracized by a guy who can't even decide whether his favourite colour is gray ... or beige ...

Garry Moore says on national radio that others have "bowels twisted and talking crap", and then criticises you for debating the issue in public also.

This is typical of those that have no evidence to back up what they say, there big rebuttal is "bowels twisted and talking crap" and then when they don't like your reply, they withdrawal from the debate.

NZ deserves better from its local govt. representatives than this, no wonder local govt. finances are in the mess they are, and CHCH in particular.

Here they come
It was just a matter of time
 
The Australian Government is cracking down hard on the Asylum Seeker problem because the costs of acommodation and welfare are running at $3 billion a year and growing
 
The people smugglers are now offering a new product - New Zealand
 
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/grave-twist-in-asylum-bids-201310...
 
If you thought New Zealand had a housing and accommodation problem now, whats it going to be like when 50,000 a year start arriving, needing public housing, rent assistance, health care, education?
 
People smugglers in Indonesia are offering to lock asylum seekers in shipping containers and send them to industrial ports in Australia to try to get around Australia's tough deterrents for boat arrivals.
Secret audio recordings heard by Fairfax Media also reveal smugglers are telling customers that New Zealand is now a better option and can be reached either in shipping containers or by air.
Until now, New Zealand has never had a mass arrival of asylum seekers.

I predict NZ never will have a mass arrival of asylum seekers by air.

My limited understanding was, if you arrive you simply get sent back on the plane....so I dont see how this works.
regards

... ummm .. you mean like Ahmed Zahoui was ...
 
...  they arrive , flush passport down the lav .... cost the taxpayer millions in court costs and fees to sycophantic lawyers and supporters ... bring dozens of their indolent relatives in ... claim rights for a mosque ... and open a kebab caravan in Palmerston North ?
 
Queue Tui Advert : Yeah , right !

Law's been changed since then (a couple of times actually).

TFFT !

Well yes and no.  If it was me in the case of an economic migrant it would be really simple, if he or she arrived on Air Indonesia flight Ajxxx from jakata, he or she gets put back on the next plane to jakata passport or not. Airlines problem.
Most of these though are the equiv of boat people, they wont even have a passport, so just how this would work would be interesting to know.
AZ however was a bit different...
regards

I once heard the story that nigerian embassy staff were sent back in a container if in disgrace, took 3 to 4 weeks to get back.....they uh were a bit ripe shall we say when the container was finally opened.
regards