12 Jun 2017

Auckland housing taskforce report released

5:20 pm on 12 June 2017

A mayoral taskforce is recommending a raft of changes to cover the $19 billion cost of getting Auckland's growing population into homes over the next three decades.

Building framing at a housing construction site in an East Auckland suburb.

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Mayor Phil Goff said the city's population was expected to increase by up to 1 million people over that time.

He set up the taskforce early this year, asking it to identify barriers to building new homes at a speed and scale needed to meet the demand caused by population growth.

Read the full Mayoral Housing Taskforce Report (PDF 1.1MB)

The report, released today, says that without greater continuity and certainty in building work, New Zealand will continue to build fewer houses than needed. It recommends a deliberate policy to continue building through economic dips.

"It also recommends ways to tackle skills shortages that create constraints and cost pressures," Mr Goff said.

The report calls for the government's $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to be beefed up.

It says there is a shortage of funding to develop infrastructure and it recommends broadening the council's revenue sources.

The report also wants land-bankers to pay their fair share towards infrastructure costs associated with housing developments.

One idea was targetted rates on land-owners in areas that benefit from new infrastructure.

Mr Goff said such people should be making a contribution.

"Well, I think central government would share with us a concern about people that sit on land waiting for it to appreciate in capital value when that land is zoned for housing but not being used for that purpose.

"So we need to look at what incentives and what sanctions that we can create that deals with the problem of land-banking."

Other measures in the report include giving councils some tax powers and allocating a share of GST on construction to them.

The report recommends a warranty and insurance scheme, calls for a consenting scheme being trialled by council to be fully implemented, and says the Building Code and other legislation needs updating.

Mr Goff said the report deserved the "close attention" of central and local government.

The taskforce included developers, builders, bankers, economists, architects and central and local government officials.

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