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Housing initiative unable to progress

Lack of response or commitment from the government and Auckland Council mean that an independent initiative aiming to solve Auckland’s housing crisis has been shelved.

Wednesday, December 7th 2016, 2:00PM

by Miriam Bell

Non-profit initiative thehomepage.nz was launched in October with the goal of uniting relevant public and private sector groups to work together to tackle Auckland’s housing crisis.

The goal of the initiative was to define the true nature and scope of the crisis and then develop a comprehensive solution, along with a detailed plan to achieve it.

Founder Leonie Freeman, who is a director of Goodman Property Trust, said that many groups and individuals had indicated their willingness to put their shoulders to the wheel alongside her.

But there was not a sufficient level of support – in particular from the government and Auckland Council - to progress the project further, she said.

Neither the government or Auckland Council have responded to Freeman’s proposal, but she understands Auckland mayor Phil Goff has decided not to support the initiative.

She has also been told indirectly that government believes there are already sufficient channels for participation and co-ordination of the housing crisis and their current focus is on land supply and infrastructure provision.

“I must assume that, at both levels, there is an unwillingness to support any proposal for tackling and fixing the housing crisis that doesn’t emanate from within its own policy-making apparatus.

“However, the progress we haven’t been making to date on Auckland’s housing crisis reinforces a conviction that the answer doesn’t lie within local or central government either.”

Freeman had planned to adopt a Collective Impact approach, which is one that has proven to be successful on a global scale, to address the problem.

This approach would have involved bringing all of the key players in the housing space together to set up a new, not-for-profit organisation, which would sit at the centre of the initiative and drive delivery of the plan.

A key milestone was to build 125,000 new homes by 2025 (420,000 by 2045). Of these, 50% would be affordable.

Other goals were to improve the quality of existing homes, boost Maori and Pasifika home ownership levels, build more social housing, introduce a better range of secure tenure options and eliminate homelessness.

The proposal recognised that while there is a dire and escalating problem in Auckland, what’s been missing so far is a visible, cohesive solution with clear targets, she said.

“We’ve reached a point where the need is so broad and deep that no single idea, organisation or person can possibly deal to it.”

However, without receiving the necessary level of support Freeman was unable to progress the initiative beyond the interest-seeking stage.

She said she was deeply disappointed by this and also very concerned, as an Aucklander, for Auckland.

“The lack of response from government and Auckland Council are particularly concerning. It seems that they are looking at each other to take responsibility and the ball is being dropped in the middle.

“But the problem is not just going to go away, it’s only going to get worse.”

Freeman said that although she isn’t in a position to take the initiative forward as she’d hoped, it was good to have added to the discussion and debate.

She urged people to step up and speak out on the issue to raise awareness – which is what she plans to continue doing herself.

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HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
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HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.25 4.29 5.09 5.35
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Median 5.45 4.55 5.25 5.52

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