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Critical independent report prepared for Treasury that the Government tried to keep from the public says Government 'lacks an overal plan' in terms of land development and housing in Auckland

Critical independent report prepared for Treasury that the Government tried to keep from the public says Government 'lacks an overal plan' in terms of land development and housing in Auckland

By David Hargreaves

An independent report prepared for Treasury that the Government tried to keep secret says the Government lacks "an overall plan" in terms of land development and housing in Auckland.

The report, by consultants Leonie Freeman and Michael Mills was completed in late 2015, specifically looking at the implementation of the Government's social housing reforms.

Among several concerns it noted about the reform programme, the report said that there were fragmented approaches to land development in Auckland.

"Currently Treasury, MSD, MBIE and HNZC are all involved in a variety of initiatives that aim to bring under-utilised land into residential development with the objectives of increasing overall housing supply, of which proportions will be earmarked for affordable and social housing," the report says.

"Lacking is an overall plan to coordinate and align strategies across agencies and to provide needed clarity and certainty to commercial and other stakeholders to enable them to effectively participate."

RNZ reported that last September, then-Minister of Social Housing Paula Bennett refused to release the report to RNZ.

She had said to do so would "prejudice the quality of information received" and "the wider public interest of effective government would not be served".

RNZ obtained the report only after an appeal to the Ombudsman under the Official Information Act and it is now on the MSD website.

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said of the Government: "You would expect better organisation at a school bake sale.

"This report shows gross incompetence from National is at the heart of the housing crisis. No leadership. No plan. No wonder they tried to hide it from the public.

“It’s there in black and white: no overall plan, no coordination, targets plucked out of thin air, no-one in charge."

Some of the many criticisms in the report in terms of the Government's programme included:

  • Weak programme-level leadership with no single person or agency with clear accountability,
  • inadequate programme governance,
  • insufficient though improving programme management practices,
  • a fragmented delivery model,
  • the need for enhanced programme-level relationship and management communications,
  • the programme is under-weight in some important areas of expertise,
  • some areas are under-resourced,
  • there are inadequate programme level frameworks,
  • real time monitoring and evaluation needs to be implemented.

Among many recommendations, the report said the Government needed to agree to develop a 10 year plan for Auckland land development for both Housing New Zealand and Crown land "with a focus on how to create momentum in housing supply, balancing core financial, risk and social outcomes as a matter of urgency".

The report also recommended a Crown development/divestment agency to lead future residential development and HNZC divestments, with this to be operational next year.

On the Ministry of Social Development's website, a letter from MSD's deputy chief executive of social housing Scott Gallacher accompanies the published report.

He says MSD has been "very appreciative" of the independent review.

Since the review was carried out "a significant amount of work" has been undertaken by all of the relevant agencies to address many of the recommendations, he says.

"MSD has acknowledged the reviews observations and recommendations and has significantly refocused it's activities to ensure that it and all relevant agencies are working to strengthen the outcomes for those who need safe, secure and stable housing in our communities today."

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And here's the rub , Labour dont appear to have a workable overall housing plan either , which is frankly disappointing , because the party that shows me a plan that works ( or could work ) gets my vote .

And if no party shows you this utterly perfect plan according to you, then it's a vote for... let me guess, the status quo?

May be no party has solution but one thing is clear that national not only has no solution but is a part of the problem for its policy SO many may not know at this stage whom to vote BUT are clear about one thing - whom not to vote........National.

Hopefully when election time is near many opposition will come out with their stand on most issues.

Let us be clear National did have a Auckland housing policy of do nothing but appearances by Nick Smith.
It was always in the interests of National to keep its property spruiking kindred spirits rich by leaving the status quo alone.
National remember allowed foreign buyers, allowed open gate migration, allowed banks to lend with no or low deposits and failed to address the cancer they placed Auckland residents under, their "Supercity" which ended up increasing expenditure to operate Auckland rather than reduce it..
John Key sat back and did 0 . He allowed a fool like Rodney Hide to have his dream of an Auckland Supercity which has demonstrably FAILED.

@jfree , Not necessarily , I will vote on issues rather than ideology .

I am not wedded to National although I was very supportive of them when all Labour had to offer in the last election was Capital Gains Tax .

Quite simply CGT is a resentment tax that never solved housing costs , if anything it made housing more expensive , look at Sydney, and it never stopped speculators , they simply factor the tax into their decision-making .

We already pay enough tax , and why should there be a CGT when the Government does not require the money ?

Don't forget Labour's 'Man Ban'...

Why not a foreign purchase stamp duty and limiting foreign buyers to new builds?

Not to mention removing the tax advantages for property investment.

And potentially tax targeting land banking and unoccupied dwellings.

Don't forget, NZ's historical Land Tax is a big reason behind why you have a house today and land is not all concentrated in a few hands. Don't resent it being used to target reasonable housing outcomes for others now.

I like how a report puts blame squarely on National, you still manage to say something bad about Labour. Do they pay you well?

The report is examining solely the government response to the housing issues of Auckland. It is not a report on any of the other actors involved (Len Brown, Phil Goff).

What do you think a workable housing plan would have in it? What sorts of things?

@ the jonses , its so very simple ,:-

Set out how many houses are required as state houses ( on which the returns will be close to zero )
How many are going to be affordable ( to young families) and the likely prices ( revised)
How the cost of land is to be overcome ( through State-owned leasehold sections on 99 year leases)
How we are going to get the costs of servicing down ( a water connection in Auckland is $15,000)
Are we going up or out ( urban spread)

And most importantly , how much is required to do this and where the funds are going to come from ?

No one has told us anything , Labour has stuff on its website and it looks like a wishlist , without any explanation as to how its expected to work , how much it will cost , where they intend to get the tradies from to do the building work .

Going by that wish list, it does seem like Labour is your best bet. They are the only party planning on the government building state houses in bulk that I can see. I imagine Labour will be challenged to explain the details of their policy running up to the election by the media, so we will get a lot of those answers by election time.

From what I have heard, National spends most of their time looking for ways to sell of the existing state houses for charities to control. Not very successfully yet either. I don't believe they have any intention of investing in a large state housing build.

And heres the rub, National came into power promising to sort out housing ( u know which JK speech I am referring to) so after 9 years of ignoring the issue completely its time to give the other team a go.

And the plan needs to be multi pronged dealing with demand and supply factors - taxation settings, immigration, greater social housing development, further planning/RMA changes, tighter regulation of foreign property investment

Good points , but trying to get Labour , Greens , Winston and Maori to all agree to each of the things you rightly point out is going to be like hearding cats.


It could be worse we could have a National, Act, UF and Maori party Govt, - remember them boatman ?
The A team that are still wreaking havoc on NZ society.
You sound like so many National voters I've spoken to - I'm all right 'Jacks' full of excuses and false justification to carry on supporting National - no matter what.

Interesting that this report was kept quiet by the government, particularly as the average person on the street could have highlighted all the above bullet points regardless of political persuasion.

I think Phil is just simply stating what everyone is thinking.

Ultimately, it will be an election result based on either those who aren't prepared to see their housing stock fall in value including the many owner-occupied homeowners or those folk that believe the inequity it has caused will result in decades of social/health spending to cover up the failings of providing adequate homes for all.

Interesting that not many National supporters on this forum have vented their anger towards the government pouring millions into emergency housing and relocation benefits whilst selling off state housing in the past 6 - 8 years.

It seems a little oxymoron to me.

That inequity has been caused by Len Brown and Phil Goff shutting off land supply to Auckland and sending prices through the roof.

Why should we trust Labour?

Did you copy and paste that from Bill's mouth or what? You realise when you're so blatantly a party fan boy like that you just lose all credibility...

No, it came out of Phil Twyford's mouth.

The only slight problem is that Auckland Council controls the rural urban boundary and we have elected Labour Party mayors in Auckland 3 times now. Labour promised a compact city with affordable house prices, but then cut off land supply to Auckland - we now have sprawl occurring from Pokeno to Warkworth and home prices off the scale.

So the only problem is the RUB? What if immigration hits 200,000 a year? Still the RUB's the problem? How about 2,000,000 a year? Still must be the RUB right? I get what you're saying but to put it in isolation as the only or major cause is just rubbish.


Sounds like you're saying the National government was powerless to do anything over the last three terms.

Notwithstanding that during those same terms they gave themselves all sorts of special powers to address the need to clean up and build in Christchurch.

The truth is, the most true thing National has said is "We don't want prices to come down".

They will NEVER do anything to make housing more affordable for Kiwis.

No, its not in their interests to do that. Intervene in Auckland like it was a disaster and direct house prices downwards are things the Nats will never do, because it would make them a very unpopular government.

But I don't trust Labour, because of what they have done as Mayor of Auckland. Which is make prices go higher.

LMFAO, hundreds of thousands of foreign speculators/launderers with hot money driving prices up in Auckland and you still think its a supply issue.

Yeah where would we ever find 20,000ha to house these specs/launders in a country of 26,800,000 ha. That's .09% if we give them 1,000m2 each. Oh the humanity.

Tell us something new lol.


If the report was prepared in late 2015 and blames national than can just imagine now it must be far worse.

My question to MSD, HNZ and Govt is why hasn't this structure always been in place as it's surely their respective jobs to achieve this whether there's a crisis or not?

[In refusing to release the report] She [Paula Bennett] had said to do so would "prejudice the quality of information received" and "the wider public interest of effective government would not be served".

Yes, definitely National Party Deputy PM material.

She's got the training manual, Alice in Wonderland, down pat:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone. "It means just what I choose it to mean - neither more or less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - that's all."

I cannot resist, it is Friday....after all.

"Gordon Bennet" Old saying almost as old as Alice in Wonderland....Dads gift to mankind...perhaps.

The dissemblance is an acquired art...Kate.

The first thing the New World Politicians learn to do is prevaricate,

They know nothing, so have to avoid the truth. At all costs...

(They might get the sack if any other Job and caught lying up big time and disseminating lies.).

(A job is where you do something, in case anyone in Parliament is watching, not lying down on the job )

to lie is not in their nature, so they are taught by elder statesmen ex-sperts. ..Who can lie like a trooper'

(A troop is a bunch of Baboons this case).

(An ex-spert Latin "for used to be a Drip" they are just Old Farts, full of hot air and a faint hint of something not quite right)

Very soon these Young Politicians acquire polish, want to become someone in Society, a Deputy Prime minister. for instance, or an also ran....quite soon.

That way they can polish the crap, they were infinitum. (It used to be called "polishing the turd".)

I do hope Kate does not think I was competing, I was just illustrating her point.

And my beliefs in particular.

Talk about stating the obvious. How much was wasted writing a report about something we have all known for several electoral cycles now. The resources would have been better directed to developing a plan.

I would say to others who considering setting up in business or in need of an urgent funding - for any reason @ 2% rate to contact JBF via address below;

Go for it. Don’t be deterred if you don’t have any luck with the banks there are funders - out there like JBF who will lend, even if you are not in the best position.