Politicking bad for supply shortage

Aucklanders will suffer as a result of councillors’ actions on the Unitary Plan, the Property Council says.

Tuesday, February 16th 2016, 12:00PM

by Miriam Bell

The Property Council has slammed the Supercity councillors who have withdrawn their support for rezoning parts of Auckland to allow greater intensification.

It described the move as politicising of Auckland’s Unitary Plan.

Auckland branch president Phil Eaton said the city’s soaring house prices are creating systemic social injustice, inequity and major economic risk

Baby Boomer councillors have locked an entire generation of young people out of homes, leaving “Generation Rent” as their legacy, he said.

“The councillors who have withdrawn their support to rezone and upzone suburbs to allow for more houses have done so at the expense of Aucklanders, because they want to come back after the local elections.”

It is common knowledge that Auckland is struggling with a significant supply shortage.

Currently, Auckland has a shortage of between 20,000-30,000 houses and it is estimated that it is necessary for 13,000 new dwellings to be built every year to keep up with population growth.

Eaton said the Auckland Plan sets out a 400,000 new dwelling target over the next 30 years, yet the current version of the Unitary Plan only allows for about 95,000 of the required 400,000.

Recent detailed analysis by independent experts demonstrated the current Unitary Plan would fall short of providing adequate supply of new dwellings and was likely to yield less than 30%, he said.

“This is a stark shortfall that will leave us with continued house price escalation.”

Further, there is a desperate need to open up supply and provide more housing options, he said.

“We need a wider range of housing choices to suit the changing demographic profile of Auckland over the next 15-20 years, including smaller homes in existing areas for both older and younger people. “

While the Property Council supports the Auckland Plan, it is concerned that the current Unitary Plan won’t meet its housing target – and that now councillors don’t support it.

Eaton said a city the size of Wellington needs to be fitted into Auckland over the next 15 years.

“The recent process of up-zoning within the Unitary Plan might be flawed, but its intent is right.”

In December, the Council revealed plans to rezone parts of the eastern and central Auckland suburbs, as well as parts of South Auckland, for more townhouses and apartments.

More than 75% of the city will continue to be limited to two storeys, in the large lot, single house and mixed housing suburban zones.

However, the rezoning proposals are meeting with increasingly heated opposition as the March hearings draw closer.

Eaton said scaremongering by local politicians has residents believing their suburbs will be covered in high-rise apartments.

“But, realistically, less than 6% of suburbs will have apartments with more than three storeys – which is up just 1% from the previous version of the Unitary Plan.

“Local politicians must ditch their ‘Not in My Election Year’ mentality and do what is right by all Aucklanders, not just some.”


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