Tuesday, July 04, 2017

National doesn't care about affordable housing

Four years ago, the government signed a "housing accord" with the Auckland Council. One of the terms of that accord was that 10% of new homes in special housing areas had to be "affordable". But it turns out that neither the government nor the council is bothering to check if that's true:

​Under the accord, which was approved in September 2013, 10 per cent of new homes in special housing areas had to be affordable housing that could be purchased by a first home buyer on a modest income.

Yet the council admitted to RNZ it had no mechanism for checking whether that was actually the case.

Developers have to make a statutory declaration when they sell a house that meets the criteria, but it's incumbent on the developers to supply those declarations, rather than the council signing them off.

Auckland Council told RNZ its responsibility was to issue building consents rather than monitor affordable housing.

Given current levels of construction, the Housing Accord should have seen up to 5000 affordable homes built in Auckland, but neither council nor Government was able to confirm that figure.

These houses are a condition of consent, so the council should be tracking them. And the government should be tracking that the council is living up to its end of the accord. Instead, both seem to have washed their hands of the whole idea: the council because its apparently just too hard to check if developers are doing what they say they'll do, and the government because they never really cared anyway. But it does show just how much of National's housing policy is purely a PR exercise with no followthrough - and therefore how little attention we should pay to their announcements in this area.