Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A failed policy

In 2013, National rammed through the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013. The law established "special housing areas" in which gaining resource consent to build would be easier, in an effort to relieve Auckland's housing crisis. But it turns out that the policy has been a complete failure:

Affordability requirements in up to half of Auckland's special housing areas look set to lapse because developers have not even applied for consents ahead of the areas disappearing next month.

The revelations have sparked claims of land-banking, and at least one developer is seeking legal advice on whether the affordable housing rules will still stick after that date.

Auckland Council data supplied to the Herald under the Official Information Act shows developers had applied for building consents in only 57 of the 154 special housing areas (SHAs) by August 5.

The special areas, which gave fast-track consents in exchange for requiring that at least 10 per cent of new housing was "affordable", will be disestablished on September 16 after the city's new Unitary Plan comes into force.


The data shows 1268 homes were completed by May 31 in just 24 of the 154 SHAs. No homes were completed in the other 130 areas.

So, rather than encouraging home-building, the special housing areas encouraged land banking. Developers also seem to have used them to gain resource consent on a promise of providing affordable homes, and then refused to deliver.

There's a name for that: fraud. And the developers and land bankers who committed that fraud should be held to their agreement, or prosecuted.