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Lethargy continues to daunt Auckland Council

Mark Thomas

National’s nor Labour’s responses to Auckland’s housing crisis will be enough, and eight months since his launch Labour’s Mayoral candidate Phil Goff still has no housing policy.

The Council itself is the biggest impediment holding back new housing.

Even if Auckland secured all of National’s $1 billion infrastructure fund, that would scarcely make a dent in the estimated $19 billion backlog Auckland is sitting on.

Labour’s plans to build 5000 new affordable houses more per year in Auckland are hard to believe without more detail. They represent an astonishing 50% increase on current record levels.”

Strongest period

Total Property recently reported that over the last three years Auckland has had the ‘longest and strongest’ period of building growth in our history. Clearing boosting this by 50% again would be quite a feat.

Additionally, the recent Workforce Skills Roadmap report says that an extra 32,000 workers will be needed by 2018 just to meet current demand. Neither Labour nor National currently have convincing plans to address this.

At the heart of the problem which neither party can fix is Auckland’s council’s slow speed at releasing land, its own lack of investment in growth and slow consenting.

Today’s priority

It has taken the Council five years to identify up to 110,000 new housing sites in what is currently rural Auckland, but Council’s plans mean it will take 25 years until 2041 to get these built.

The urgent priorities are to fund more transport, water and other infrastructure to get this new housing built more quickly. National is on the right track here, as Len Brown is not prepared to tackle the Auckland Council budget to do this.

Rewriting the Plan

However, as Mayor, I will propose an emergency budget upon taking office on November 1, 2016 and re-write the Council’s Long Term Plan to move funding from low value administration, cultural and economic areas into house-building infrastructure. Council currently spends $817 million per year in this area.

I will also implement the recommendations from both the Auditor General’s review of Auckland Council consenting, and the Government’s Rules Reduction Taskforce of which I was a member.

The Auditor General found that 70% of building consent applications went on hold, and the RRT report said a new form of customer-consent management can improve this. I will act on this.

I acknowledge the efforts of both major political parties to help build more, affordable housing in Auckland.

This is in marked contrast to Mr Goff who, having launched his mayoral campaign on November 22 last year, has only one policy on his website and that is to move the port.

It is telling that Mr Goff has nothing substantive to say on one of Auckland’s most urgent issues.

Mark Thomas is a candidate for Auckland’s Mayorality this year.

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