21 Sep 2017

Wellington council passes affordable housing plan

3:39 pm on 21 September 2017

Wellington City Council has voted unanimously to give the green light to a revamp of the city's housing policy.

Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester in his office at Wellington City Council.

Wellington mayor Justin Lester Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The council's city strategy committee voted this morning to adopt the recommendations of the Mayor's Taskforce on Housing.

The committee said the policy would allow 40,000 new homes to be built over the next 26 years.

The recommendations included increasing building height limits, simplifying consents and incentivising affordable housing developments.

The housing plan would:

  • Release council land for development
  • Refurbish central city buildings into affordable apartments
  • Review the council's procurement policy to promote home building
  • Simplify consenting by introducing a one-stop shop approach
  • Develop pre-approved designs to speed up consenting
  • Create a new partnership with central government to boost social housing numbers
  • Notify District Plan changes to encourage greater housing density and raise height limits
  • Deliver Te Whare Oki Oki - a supported living facility for homeless Wellingtonians
  • Create more tenancy support to get rough sleepers into long-term accommodation
  • Deliver direct investment in new social and affordable homes
  • Work with Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency to increase the number of skilled construction workers available to meet demand
  • Create a development pipeline of greenfield land for new homes
  • Develop a Wellington-specific Housing Standard for rental properties
  • Help homeowners to bring houses up to the standard through a new grant

Mayor Justin Lester said the council was not going to sit on the sideline and leave it to the market.

"We're going to be more involved by directly building new homes, setting better standards and looking at changes to rating, procurement and development policies to incentivise more development.

"We've spent months working with experts from the construction industry, NGOs, academics and social housing providers on [the] comprehensive plan.

"This plan leaves no stone unturned."

He said both central and local government had a role to play.

Deputy mayor Paul Eagle, who headed the taskforce, said Wellington was not in an Auckland-style housing crisis yet but it was staring down the barrel of one if the council did nothing.

He said the next step was to incorporate the plan into the first draft of the Long Term Plan.

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