Nick Smith and Len Brown pat each other's backs over the Auckland Housing Accord while Phil Twyford snipes from the sidelines

Nick Smith and Len Brown pat each other's backs over the Auckland Housing Accord while Phil Twyford snipes from the sidelines

Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown are claiming the Auckland Housing Accord has made "good progress" in its first year, although Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford has labelled it "a hopeless failure."

"Total new dwelling numbers for the first year of the Accord were 7,366, up 30 per cent on the 5,647 in the previous year," Smith said in a statement jointly released by himself and Brown.

"We have moved quickly to establish the Special Housing Areas, where construction is now underway at full steam. We have got diggers on the ground at sites across Auckland and there is huge potential in the pipeline," Brown said in the same statement.

 But Twyford maintained that the latest monitoring report on the Accord had failed to dent Auckland's housing crisis.

"The report says consents for only 354 dwellings were approved in the Special Housing Areas during the first year of the Accord, showing it had little impact on consent rates," he said.

"This is National's centrepiece housing policy. It is a hopeless failure."

Here's Smith and Brown's statement

Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown have today welcomed the release of the first year report of the Auckland Housing Accord.

“It is good progress that 11,060 new sections and dwellings have been achieved in the first year – more than 20 per cent above the target of 9000. We will need to maintain this momentum and growth to meet the targets of 13,000 in year two and 17,000 in year three,” Dr Smith says.

The Auckland Housing Accord was agreed by the Government and Auckland Council in October 2013 in response to concerns over limited sections being available for new housing and the time taken to approve new housing developments. It resulted in the creation of the Auckland Council Housing Project Office (HPO) and the passage of the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013.

“The Accord has facilitated an unprecedented level of engagement and collaboration between not just Auckland Council and the Government, but also the development sector to boost the delivery of housing across the city at a rapid pace,” Mr Brown says.

“We have moved quickly to establish the Special Housing Areas, where construction is now underway at full steam. We have got diggers on the ground at sites across Auckland and there is huge potential in the pipeline,” Mr Brown says.

“Total new dwelling numbers for the first year of the Accord was 7366, up 30 per cent on the 5647 in the previous year. The number of new apartments for the year was 1974, up 150 per cent on the 780 in the previous year. Building activity is at the highest level since 2006 and $20 billion of residential building work is projected over the next three years,” Dr Smith says.

“It is also encouraging that house price inflation in Auckland has slowed from 14.8 per cent to 7.9 per cent over the past year. Our goal is to rapidly increase supply and to contain ongoing house price increases across the city,” Dr Smith says.

“As well as making the most of the fast-tracked consenting processes available in the Special Housing Areas under the Accord, we are also seeing developers applying to have swathes of urban land rezoned for residential development,” Mr Brown says.

“The consenting and master-planning activity now taking place within Special Housing Areas sets up a solid platform to meet the Accord targets for the next two years. Developments have already been approved for 477 sections or dwellings, and master-planning and consenting on track for over 19,500 sections and dwellings,” Mr Brown says.

“The second and third year targets remain ambitious, but they were designed to stretch us. They reinforce the need for the Government and Auckland Council to keep our foot on the accelerator,” Dr Smith says.

“The Government will be adding momentum to the work of the Auckland Housing Accord in 2015 with the HomeStart scheme coming into effect on 1 April, and with an important second phase of Resource Management Act reforms,” Dr Smith concluded.

More information on the Auckland Housing Accord is available at:

http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/ratesbuildingproperty/housingsupply/Pages/aucklandhousingaccord.aspx

And here's Twyford's statement

The Fourth Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report shows the Accord has failed to make a dent in the city's housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

"The report says consents for only 354 dwellings were approved in the special housing areas during the first year of the accord, showing it had little impact on Auckland consent rates. As Auckland Council has confirmed in the media this has only resulted in 5 houses actually being built and only 18 expected by the end of the year.

"This is National's centrepiece housing policy. It is a hopeless failure. Nick Smith should admit defeat, and hand in his ministerial warrant.

"Instead he is declaring victory over the housing crisis, for building a little over half the number of houses Auckland says it needs each year just to stand still, after six years in Government.

"The 7,366 dwellings consented in the first year is nearly 5,000 houses short of the nearly 13,000 dwellings a year Labour was consenting, especially with migration running at record levels.

"Nick Smith says the Accord's main aim was to free up land supply but the average number of sections consented has only increased by 32 per month compared to the year before the Accord, and as the report itself notes, ‘many of these sections were consented prior to the Accord and indicate a general upturn in activity’.

"While National's housing accord has failed spectacularly to produce new houses, Auckland house prices continue to soar."

 

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8 Comments

Red Len and Blue Nick.
Must be a purple patch.

There are houses going up flat out in Takanini, on what used to be the training track, all what I would have thought would fit somewhere in that affordable category. I have an understanding that the biggest bulk of them has sold to investors.
Something has to change otherwise that is where most of these houses under this "accord" will end up as well.

What if there were no SHA's?
 
Twyford rightly points out that virtually no activity has actually occurred within the SHA's indicating that almost all of the subdivision and building activity would have occurred anyway. So, I guess its possible that all that has happened is that the industry has emerged from the second worst financial crisis the modern world has ever known and activity is picking up again.
 
This programme was always going to be a bit of a sham. Re-reading the original accord document I noticed that the famous targets never were about dwellings built or about the SHA's. The targets are total sections consented or building consents issued anywhere in Auckland (SHA or not). Technically the Accord could reach its targets without a single thing happening inside the SHA's.
 
Many of the building consents issued within SHA's are likely to be for the Weymouth development. Plans for this development were already well advanced before the Accord; Smith and Brown quickly slapped an SHA designation on it so they could get some quick wins. Minus Weymouth what has actually been achieved so far?
 
Finally the Accord states that one of the key purposes of the Accord is increased affordability. Smith's tame ambition of "containing ongoing house price increases" hardly counts as increasing affordability when price rises are still running at an eye-watering 7.9%.

Small mystery solved.
 
I read many times last year that the Auckland Accord targets were for 39,000 constructed dwellings - which was ludicrous. I have been very quick to criticize Smith & Brown for watering the targets down.
 
Turns out they contradicted each other at the start with Brown being accurate and Smith - predictably - being a bit excitable.
 
In the statements published here Brown accurately refers to consents issued while Smith on the same day refers to the "build rate" So September 10 2013 Dr Smith was the one who promised all the construction not Brown.

Mike Greer plus SpanBild's new factory (shortly promised to be cloned to Awkland) is gonna do a lot more for housing affordability than a coupla pollies having a presser....

About time! :)

I have the mental picture of Statler and Waldorf in the muppets show..

...without being funny