National announces plan to build, demolish Auckland houses

By Leo Horgan

The government has today announced its plan to build 34,000 new homes in Auckland over the next ten years, while demolishing more than 8,000 ‘old and tired’ homes to support the project.    

The combined Crown Building Project will incorporate Tāmaki, Hobsonville, the Crown Land Programme, MSD Social Housing Reform Programme and Housing New Zealand’s Auckland Housing Programme. 

13,500 of the houses have been earmarked as social homes for vulnerable Aucklanders.  Another 20,600 affordable and market houses will also be built to ‘ensure a pathway for tenants to move into independent, affordable housing’.

The government is also planning to demolish 8,275 houses to make way for the proposed new homes. 

”With a lot of our housing stock old and cold, expensive to maintain and not fitting the right makeup of tenants, they are in need of upgrading and replacement,” says a National Party representative, “So our focus is on newer, warmer, smaller and safer homes for those that need help.”

Labour Leader Andrew Little rubbished the announcement in a press release this afternoon.

“Auckland currently has a shortfall of 40,000 houses and growing,” says Little, “This plan won’t address the shortfall, let alone build the extra houses needed to keep up with demand.”

“[Minister for Social Housing] Amy Adams has fudged the figures. How many of these houses will actually be affordable? What does ‘affordable’ mean?  How will that give hope to first home buyers when speculators can buy these houses too?”

“This cynical announcement by National should be seen for what it is – an election year fudge to paper over the cracks of its failure in housing. It’s time for Labour’s plan,” says Little.

Total gross capital investment over the four year programme is estimated at $2.2 billion.  

According to the government, Housing New Zealand will borrow $1.1 billion over four years from the private market through a domestic wholesale bond programme which will fund the first stage of the Auckland Housing Programme.

The second stage will be funded through the sales of houses and land, and rental returns. Housing New Zealand will also retain dividends and proceeds from selling properties surplus to its requirements to help fund the building programme.

The Green Party characterised National’s announcement as ‘too little, too late’ today.

“National has missed an opportunity to really prioritise getting every Aucklander into a warm, dry home of their own,” says Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw .

“It’s good National has realised that the Government can actually build houses. Now they need to realise that knocking down 8,300 homes and replacing them with 34,000 homes isn’t actually enough.

“The Greens in Government will build tens of thousands more homes than National, and we’ll make many of them available for low income families to purchase over time with a rent-to-buy programme.

“The homes we build will actually be affordable, not National’s definition of affordable which actually isn’t for most people,” says Shaw.

Of the $2.3 billion the government spends on housing support each year, approximately half, over $1 billion, is spent in Auckland.