Housing initiatives to help out

Column Articles
Sunday, July 10, 2016

Everyone seems to be talking housing lately, particularly testing whether the central and local government response is where it needs to be.  I believe we are managing the issue and here’s why.

We have announced a $1B fund for high growth councils like Tauranga to support their infrastructure investments to develop land for housing. We also have signalled our desire to establish urban growth by looking to set up Urban Development Authorities. These authorities would help further speed up the supply of new housing, allowing them to override barriers to large-scale development.

We have established special housing areas to free up land for an estimated 70,000 new homes around the country. Here in the Tauranga - Western Bay region we have 11 special housing areas that have a combined potential to yield over 2,000 houses including our Omokoroa area that is due to reach 255 homes. We’re on track to build 85,000 new houses across New Zealand in this term of Parliament! In the Bay of Plenty Region our dwelling approvals are up 39.5% annually and house sales were up 32.7%.

The Crown land Development Programme will proceed at pace and the intention is that 20 per cent of homes developed will be new social housing. The construction industry is the biggest it’s ever been, we have 40,000 more construction workers than two years ago and there are 42,000 apprentices being trained around NZ.

For those who are struggling we have announced a further $41.1 million for emergency housing places. For us here, in the Bay of Plenty this will mean 60 places for individuals or families at any one time, for a maximum stay of 3 months. Over a year the emergency housing will provide 240 places for individuals and families in need in the Bay.

The investment and initiatives that are currently in place will make significant headway into addressing the need for housing. We have a comprehensive programme of work underway to help build more houses and build them faster.  There’s no silver bullet, there never is, just a number of related initiatives that make a difference.