English says hopes final Unitary Plan will allow Auckland to meet its housing growth needs from both greenfields and densification on brownfields land

English says hopes final Unitary Plan will allow Auckland to meet its housing growth needs from both greenfields and densification on brownfields land

By Bernard Hickey

Finance and Housing NZ Minister Bill English has pointed to the Auckland Council's Unitary Plan as crucial in any attempts to bridge a housing demand-supply imbalance that the Productivity Commission has estimated could reach 60,000 by 2020.

English told reporters that Aucklanders opposed to densification of housing on brownfields land would have to take into account the national interest of increasing supply in Auckland. The Reserve Bank has warned of the risks to financial stability from Auckland's housing boom and English has previously said housing supply shortages in Auckland were factors worsening inequality and creating child poverty.

"The next step there is around the Auckland unitary plan," English said when asked if the Government was doing enough to deal with the projected shortage of 60,000 homes.

"Auckland city have done their own projections of demand and they are now trying to get the plan through that will enable the supply to meet that demand," he said.

"So roughly Auckland unitary plan allocates I think 30%or 40% of the growth to greenfields and 60% or 70% of the growth to brownfields, but that requires reasonably liberal rules about densification in the city and that's been controversial," he said.

"As that plan is finalised it's pretty important that it's a plan that will allow the supply of enough houses to meet that demand. If it doesn't that's an issue we will have to grapple with It's pretty important that they are able to show there will be supply to meet their own predictions of demand."

English did not comment on the 60,000 shortfall forecast, but earlier Housing and Building Minister Nick Smith said MBIE's own estimates were not as pessimistic as the Productivity Commission.

Asked about what he would say to Parnell residents who opposed densification, he said: "They are just part of the local discussion about it, but we have a national interest in a successful outcome of those discussions - that is, that Auckland City allows enough new housing to meet pretty strong demand."

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With the Auckland Council charging $100,000 to subdivide a section. $15,000 for a water connection from Watercare.
$25,000 for building approval fees
$10,000 or more for resource consent
Then 15% GST on all of the building materials and labour costs plus all of the council fees.
The cost just to get approval is out of control.

The unitary plan is getting established at a glacial pace, as its slowly revised, changed, watered down, reworked, sliced and diced. This process is providing no guarantee of the final outcome and no certainty for future planning.

The prices should reflect the costs involved. We need competition for this stuff.

That's all good but will John Key and the Parnell property association forget not to lobby, frustrate and prevent this great initiative ? I get this feeling National love the idea of gutting the RMA as it is true to their supply sider nature - but when push comes to shove they will ultimately resist because they are the ones who live in and own investment property in Parnell, Ponsonby, Epson, Remers, etc.


Yes, Aucklanders are thrilled to be forced out of their homes so they can make way for more people who can't speak English, and then milk our health, education and superannuation provisions.

Bill English needs to wake up and realise Auckland is full and shut the door. End of story.

Forced out of their homes? How?
Any evidence that new migrants can't speak English? Maybe importing skilled young people will help pay for all those baby boomers' super. I think we will really struggle to do that without immigration.
Auckland is millions of people from being full, we just need more houses to be built that's all (it shouldn't really be that hard and it should be great for our economy, all we need to do is stop rich NIMBYs telling their neighbour what to do with their land)

and they need to take away the restrictions so we can built high rise apartments anywhere especially along the coasts ie mission bay kohimarama st heliers. they would sell like hot cakes, not going to happen as those in power know where there political donations come from

As a landlord, I get tides of people who are unable to speak any English turning up at viewing times.

How about we make the boomers pay for their own super, heaven forbid?

Who is going to pay for these extra immigrants super when they get old? It's just kicking the can down the road and shafting the next generation even more (as if it isn't enough already).

Great. Build the houses first then. Horse comes before the cart.

Hey stupid, the boomers have been WORKING for years paying their TAX that the successive governments are supposed to set aside part of it to cover their retirement if they are one of the lucky ones to live long enough to collect it !

Actually not true. The tax take was mostly only for the present OAP payouts not future until the "Cullen" fund was only set up in 2001 to address the issue and then National knee capped it.

I suppose we could get rid of the NZ Super, and create a "civil list" system. (sarcasm).

and if they hadn't it would have been massive by now. when I heard the explantion about not borrowing money to invest I knew these guys have no idea about finance. if I could borrow for 2 to 3 % and get a 5 to 6 % return I would have invested as much as I could as it turned out the return was even better and then they forgot to mention the tax they are collecting from the Cullen fund.
smoke and mirrors we cant borrow to invest in our future but we can borrow for tax cuts ( which advantaged me)

Wake up and smell the coffee mate, Auckland IS FULL. You obviously don't have to get up in the morning and commute to work or you would know our motorway system is already gridlocked, hell I cannot even get to South Auckland from the North Shore on a SATURDAY without a massive pile up somewhere. Shut the doors NOW or we are all going to regret it.

Too late

News flash - there are cities in the world with more people than Auckland. we just need decent public transport. If the government want immigration to improve pur economy they should pay for it.
No where near full just lacking the required investment.

government doesn't have money.

Apart from Singapore and Hong Kong (and we know what they are like), what bigger cities are as a physically constrained as Auckland? Auckland has not got the infrastructure nor the room. Auckland is heading towards being a third world city not a world class one.

I don't see immigration in such black and white terms. Overall, I think immigration is good. But I do maintain that it is too high, and agree we need to be more selective.
Having said that, the high numbers are in large part kiwis returning to NZ are they not?
I agree with Sharetrader - we should have mid to high rises along the waterfront. There is a total mismatch - much of the waterfront housing looks like a 1990s NZ coastal backwater rather than NZ's biggest city!

Thomas says "the high numbers are in large part kiwis returning to NZ are they not"

You don't know that

Statistics NZ do not provide any category stats on PLT departures, they are simply classed as "kiwis". For all we know 90% of those departees could be people who arrived not so long ago, long enough to obtain residence, then citizenship, using nz as a back-door to australia, then off they go, decide it's too tough in australia, and back they come, dressed up as kiwis

The usual story - inadequate data - they have it - just don't release it

The last I look on Google Map, there is plenty of land in Auckland. Just open up more land for building houses. In addition, make land banking unattractive.

Auckland council is useless. Just read about councillors abstaining from voting on the budget although they do not think it is a good idea.

Its not about the land, its about the infrastructure to support it. Councils and investors are creaming it but the transport structure for one cannot handle it and has no room to expand without massive expense and disruption. The council has no vision, they built single level park and rides for the busses on the North Shore when they should have built a massive multilevel carparks with full undercover access to the busses.

Park and ride makes up such a small amount of public transport use it would be poor form for the council to pump more money into providing free car parks when there are so many better uses for that money in public transport in Auckland. Again plenty of other cities have done it it's hardly impossible with a bit of vision.

The whole busway was a cheap option it should be rail and it should go all the way to orewa, but as usual we do a half decent it will do for now job.
they need to complete all the rail circuits around Auckland with the buses running between the suburbs and the train stations on intergrated tickets so people don't need to use there cars to go to and from work, that's the key make it easy and take the need away and people will use it