17 Jul 2016

Auckland Council put on notice over housing

6:23 pm on 17 July 2016

The government could be forced to legislate to force the Auckland Council to free up more land for housing, says Finance Minister Bill English.

Bill English 24 May 2016

Bill English Photo: RNZ/Elliott Childs

The council is due to decide on the Auckland Unitary Plan, which could rezone more land for housing, over the next month.

The independent semi-judicial panel drafting the plan, meanwhile, has said it will not be swayed by political comments.

One of the plan's key components is expected to be the intensity and location of higher density housing in the rapidly-growing city.

Mr English said if the council did not do enough to free up land, the government would be forced to act.

Speaking on TVNZ, he ruled out replacing the government with commissioners, but said the government could force the council's hand through legislation.

"It may be that the council was presented with the plan by the independent panel, if they turn it down then we would certainly be having discussions with them about the need to take up the plan."

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett earlier said the government was waiting for the council to finalise the plan, so it could work towards building modular social housing in South Auckland.