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Proposed plan houses confusion

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Mark Thomas

Auckland, August 28, 2016

Labour MP Phil Goff’s Auckland housing plan is confused and mistaken, and he will have no power as Mayor to implement the majority of it.

Goff’s first mistake is to confuse land-banking and development delays. The two are often not related as land-bankers typically don’t apply for consents.

His second mistake is wanting to introduce consenting time-limits. They already exist for both building and resource consents, up to two years and five years respectively.

He wants the council to support more affordable housing schemes like Waimahia, but this was a Government-backed programme with $29 million of crown investment. If he wants the council to invest more to create social housing like this, that is expensive and he mentions no additional funding or from where this will come.

In the four other areas of his plan where the mayor of Auckland has control, all the work Goff supports is already in place. This includes wanting rules on building height increases, wanting council to play a coordinating role on homelessness and a review of consents

Goff brings no insight or expertise to his proposed review of consent times.

By contrast, I have a specific action plan I prepared as part of the Government’s Rules Reduction Taskforce which will introduce a new account management approach and increase staff discretion to approve sensible developments.

Goff’s plan to deal with homelessness makes no mention of his earlier comment this week about using the Government owned Mt Eden prison. Instead, it seeks to continue the ineffective coordination role Len Brown has played in this area, which has seen inner city homeless numbers grow 300% from 70 in 2013 to 230 today.

I will make vacant council buildings available as a short-term, temporary solution.

I have Goff’s 13-point housing plan analysed and it reveals 7 actions for which the Government is responsible. Of the remainder that the Mayor of Auckland can lead, four are already in place and Goff is mistaken about the remaining two.

Goff doesn’t mention how he will boost infrastructure funding, which is a key problem holding Auckland’s house-building back. He also ignores the key council development “Metro” centers such as Onehunga, Henderson and Manukau where big affordability housing gains are possible.

This may be a hopeful plan for a future Minister of Housing, it is not an effective plan for the next Mayor of Auckland.

Mark Thomas is a candidate for Auckland Mayorality.

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