Thursday, December 9

More than RMA issues holding back construction, Auckland councilor says

Skills shortages, limited infrastructure and rampant material costs are preventing home construction and an incoming law change will not fix that, according to Auckland Councilor Chris Darby.

Chris Darby at a Board meeting on the Unitary Plan.  August 10, 2016.

Auckland Councilor Chris Darby.
Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Darby, chairman of the council’s planning committee, said the government’s new stepping-up policy does not address immediate problems.

With National’s support, the government will get city councils to embrace city escalation and allow them to rezone more brand new land.

Darby said zoning regulations are not what prevents Auckland from building more.

“The significant limitation at the moment in Auckland is in the area of ​​infrastructure financing … the second area is the increased shortage of skills and manpower, to support actual construction. And the third area is the skyrocketing price of the materials, “he said. .

Darby said these are the immediate problems in Auckland. And all of them, he said, would improve with solid government intervention.

Research published today by The Royal Society Te Apārangi states that the housing situation in New Zealand is at a critical level.

One of the authors, distinguished public health professor Philippa Howden-Chapman, said it is time for more political bipartisanship on housing, which should be a central focus.

“The government must participate in the construction of affordable housing, and that it does not become political football and say ‘the market can do better’. We know that the market does not build affordable housing.”

The report described how rental homes are often wetter, colder and overcrowded, contributing to tens of thousands of children being hospitalized each year for illnesses such as rheumatic fever.

And the psychological effects of an expensive or unsafe home have much broader effects than just the home.

a professor of social psychology at the University of Auckland, Shiloh Groot, said there are pervasive and damaging human effects of a failing property market.

“So there are parents who commit suicide because they cannot cover the costs of living; they have to make decisions between feeding their children or paying the rent.

“More and more home ownership is not a reality for so many New Zealanders, so people work harder and harder, which means family life suffers, romantic life suffers, social life suffers, personal life suffers. suffers “.

The government published a model estimating that at least 28,000 additional houses could be built in Auckland by 2030 under the new medium-density rules.

Darby, however, described the escalation policy as “prescriptive.”

He said it could lead to more houses over time, but not necessarily good ones.

“There is very little here outside of performance and quantity that gives me the confidence that the results will be of the quality and long-lasting that Auckland locals look forward to seeing on their streets.”

The broader housing regulations under the National Policy Statement for Urban Development will also be brought forward one year to August 2023.

The changes are supported by the Opposition, which according to the government gives city councils, developers and homeowners confidence that the policy will not be suddenly reversed.

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