28 Apr 2022

Govt's $1.4b housing funding: 'This is what Tamaki Makaurau desperately needs'

7:35 pm on 28 April 2022

Five Auckland suburbs will get an infrastructure boost, funded by the government, to become 'build ready' for 16,000 homes.

A new housing development underway near Westgate in Auckland.

A new housing development underway near Westgate in Auckland (file image). Photo: Sharon Brettkelly

There will be $1.4 billion pumped into sites in Mt Roskill, Māngere, Tāmaki, Oranga and Northcote, for 400 urban renewal projects.

The money comes from the $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund, and is something Auckland Council has been eager for.

It comes after the government announced plans to tweak zoning rules last year, and mayor Phil Goff responded saying infrastructure was the real problem they really needed to tackle, along with supply chain challenges and a skilled worker shortage.

Today was a "fantastic occasion" to celebrate, he said.

"We are now making up for the absence of investment in infrastructure over decades, and this is what Tamaki Makaurau desperately needs."

The funding is intended to prepare the sites for higher density housing, via stormwater and transport upgrades and decontamination work.

Just over a third of the 16,000 homes will be social housing, with 4000 old Kāinga Ora homes will be bowled and rebuilt, along with another 2000 new ones.

They'll be joined by 10,000 affordable and market priced homes.

CoreLogic chief property economist Kelvin Davidson said any investment that enabled housing in the future was a good thing.

But the hurdles of worker and supply shortages were "another question", he said.

"There's got to be some doubts about that. We know that the construction industry is pretty much running at capacity. We've had 50,000 dwelling consents in total across the country - maybe the industry can only handle about 30 or 35 thousand houses on the ground."

Auckland property developer and investor David Whitburn said he was keeping his expectations realistic in terms of how long it will take for both the infrastructure and the eventual homes to arrive.

The government has put a five- to 16-year timeframe on the plan and he thought that was fair.

"It's going to take a long time to get the infrastructure in and probably cost a fair bit more which is one of the reasons that will be frustrating this. I'm not expecting these houses to be built any time soon."

Minister of Housing Megan Woods said there were enough workers, and that was proven in the completion of other building projects, like houses constructed though the Piritahi alliance.

Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood, Auckland mayor Phil Goff and Housing Minister Megan Woods announce $1.4bn in funding to boost Auckland housing.

Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood, Auckland mayor Phil Goff and Housing Minister Megan Woods announce $1.4b in funding to boost Auckland housing. Photo: RNZ / Katie Todd

"In terms of the supply chain shortages we know there are some constraints on the market at the moment. But that is not a reason to stop doing the preparatory work we need to do to continue to build houses. New Zealand simply does not have enough houses," she said.

Whitburn praised the government for building up, not out - enabling so-called "brownfields" development on existing land, rather than expanding onto new land on the city fringe.

It would keep the long term infrastructure costs down, and considering Auckland's large urban footprint, it was a win for the environment, he said.

"It's just about doing the right thing and thinking about the future generations. Te taiao, our natural environment, is absolutely crucial and I think we have to try and be mindful, as a city, how we grow."

It is hoped the infrastructure work will eventually enable another 11,000 new homes to be built on surrounding privately owned land.

Woods said decades of under-investment in infrastructure like pipes and roads had prevented new housing from being built and getting the land ready was a key way to fix the current crisis.

"Revitalising these suburbs through this investment has so many benefits; creating capacity for new homes, employment opportunities, improved water assets and a lot of potential for emissions reduction with the suburbs already being well served by public transport options."

The government had worked with Auckland Council to identify places where housing growth was most needed and the council would contribute to the cost of the works, Woods said.

Goff said he was celebrating "not simply 1.4 billion dollars of new money" but the communities it would create.

The specific projects include:

  • Mt Roskill - site preparation work includes land decontamination and an upgrade of water infrastructure and addressing flooding issues on 62.8 hectares to enable approximately 5400 homes
  • Tāmaki - decontamination work, transport, and water and stormwater upgrades across 90ha ready for around 4400 homes
  • Māngere - works and water and storm water upgrades across 68ha for around 3800 homes.
  • Northcote - upgrades across 8.2ha will create build-ready land for around 1200 homes.
  • Oranga - infrastructure work across 15.6ha includes transport upgrades, including walking and cycling to create build-ready land for around 1000 homes.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs