30 May 2015

Auckland Council backs housing land plan

6:18 pm on 30 May 2015

The Auckland Council is applauding the Government's moves to free up Crown land for developers.

Nick Smith at a housing development in Three Kings in Auckland.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith Nick Smith at a housing development during yesterday's bus tour of Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The Government has released details of the first tranche of surplus land in the region, which it said could provide 600 new homes.

The Auckland Council has identified surplus land of its own, where it estimated 2800 homes could be built in the next decade.

The chief executive of the Property Council, Connal Townsend, said interest from developers was high, as a shortage of land had been a problem for almost ten years.

He said the move was a clear sign the Government was taking the Auckland housing issue seriously.

Auckland's deputy mayor, Penny Hulse, said the Government and the Council were focused on providing land for affordable housing.

"It's definitely a contribution and it certainly shows the willingness of the Government to get stuck in and partner with Auckland to make this work."

Ms Hulse said both the Council and the Government wanted to build communities with well-designed houses, rather than jamming as many homes on land as possible.

But Labour's housing spokesperson, Phil Twyford, has ridiculed the proposal.

He said, after promising 500 hectares of land less than two weeks ago, the Government has identified just 30 hectares as under consideration for development.

Mr Twyford said Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith was playing games with the media that reeked of desperation.

"This is a minister who is desperate to try to convey the impression that he's doing something about the Auckland housing crisis but nothing could be further from the truth," he said.

"30 extra hectares of land won't make a blind bit of difference."

Mr Twyford said Dr Smith would struggle to find a further 470 hectares of surplus government land in Auckland.

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