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:
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."