Archive | Government programmes

National promise of 34,000 houses/decade for Auckland may add 2000/year

The headline is what matters in an election campaign, and the headline is that National is promising that, as the government, it will build 34,000 new houses on Crown land in Auckland over the next 10 years.

New Zealand has a record of not electing governments beyond 3 terms and National is ending its third term as the majority in a coalition, which jeopardises the chances of it being in a position to carry out the promise.

Social Housing Minister Amy Adams.

Amy Adams, Social Housing Minister and Minister Responsible for Housing NZ, revealed the figure in a speech at the Property Institute in Auckland yesterday. And then she proceeded to whittle it down.

The 34,000 is made up of 13,500 new social houses & 20,600 affordable & market homes.

Under the Crown Building Project, the Government will take down 8300 old, rundown houses.

Ms Adams said Housing NZ alone had over 50 housing developments under way in Auckland. The forward programme includes other housing projects already announced & underway:

  • Northcote, where 300 state houses will be replaced by 1200 new homes
  • Hobsonville Point, where the Government-owned Hobsonville Land Co Ltd (now HLC (2017) Ltd) is about to deliver the 1000th house in a programme to deliver 4500 homes
  • Tamaki, where the government-council regeneration project has a programme to develop 7500 new homes over the next 15 years, replacing the houses on 2800 Housing NZ properties
  • Other existing projects include 2700 new homes already announced under the Crown land programme, 580 houses under the Ministry of Social Development’s social housing reform programmes, and new homes for emergency & transitional housing.

By Ms Adams’ calculation, the Government would add 24,000 new – not previously announced – houses over a decade, though on the figures above the actual total might be less, perhaps down at 20,000, or an average 2000/year.

Comparing promises

Andrew Little.

That compares with Labour leader Andrew Little’s proposal last year for 100,000 new affordable houses nationally over 10 years, half of them in Auckland, which would include partnerships with private developers.

So, on top of existing projects, Labour has promised 5000 and National 2400 extra houses/year for Auckland.

Labour also promoted a dole for apprenticeships policy which would subsidise employers to take on around 4000 young people for on-the-job training in fields including building & construction.

Phase one of National’s Auckland housing programme, which covers the next 4 years, would cost $2.23 billion and be funded through Housing NZ’s balance sheet and $1.1 billion of new borrowing that the Government has approved as part of the business case.

Phase 2 in the latter years would be funded through the market housing development part of the programme & rental returns.

Ms Adams said ministers had also agreed that Housing NZ would retain dividends & proceeds from state house transfers, to help fund the building programme.

A glance at reality

The promises come after a period of extremely high immigration – a net inflow of 228,000 nationally over the last 4 years, 108,000 of those in Auckland, requiring 40,000 homes at an average 2.7 persons/household.

Building consents in Auckland over those 4 years started low, 6500 for the March 2014 year as the country was still gradually easing out of the global financial crisis, and totalled 34,200 for the 4 years.

Assuming 100% construction of consented homes (which is not normal, but I don’t have the exact figure), Auckland fell short of housing the net migrant inflow by almost 6000 homes over those 4 years. That housing requirement ignores, completely, the net flow of people within the country.

The National proposal might fill the gap if immigration eases, but on the slim information from the minister it would encourage pricing to stay high. On my calculation in February, consents for new homes nationally (excluding land) have risen 34% in value over the last 5 years – after a slow shift from the bottom of the market, between 6-7.7%/year for the last 4 years.

The land price equation in Auckland can be partly met by intensification throughout suburbia, land prices falling because of the freer availability of sites under the new unitary plan, and section sizes being reduced.

That doesn’t require tampering with rural:urban boundaries, which Labour has said it will eliminate. Those boundaries have a role in protecting non-urban land and in directing development into more efficient parcels.

Auckland also needs more infrastructure for housing development, but it needs to be in well devised communities with a supply of jobs nearby, not on the basis of rural carpetlaying. The local job requirement is fundamental but has been ignored as Auckland has spilled out along motorway corridors.

To catch up, New Zealand needs more builders with a longer future in the trade than the typical construction cycle allows. To do that, either the Government or some other industry supporter needs to ensure trade skills are being taught to enough people before a boom gets underway, and it makes sense to reduce booms, and therefore busts, with some smoothing of economic cycles (but not the total smoothing the US tragically & farcically tried in its attempt to avoid what became the global financial crisis).

As a cyclical high recedes, the building force needs attractive alternatives other than leaving for Australia. Some of that can come through infrastructure projects, which ideally should be separated in time from highs in house & commercial construction, thus reducing cost pressures as well.

Full Adams speech, 16 May 2017: Launch of Crown Building Project

Earlier stories:
16 May 2017: Little calls for end to negative gearing, and Property Institute calls it “cynical ploy”
6 March 2017: Auckland above 10,000 home consents/year again
10 February 2017: Smith exultant about figures that are plainly inflated
19 January 2017: Building consent highs still don’t match migrant demand
11 July 2016: Little sets out 8 planks to remedy housing issues
19 November 2012: Shearer proposes Government scheme to build 100,000 “entry-level” houses over 10 years

Attribution: Ministerial speechnotes & release, Statistics NZ tables, Labour releases, own articles.

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Little calls for end to negative gearing, and Property Institute calls it “cynical ploy”

Labour Party leader Andrew Little renewed the party’s call to eliminate negative gearing on residential property investments yesterday, and was promptly accused by Property Institute chief executive Ashley Church of making “a cynical electoral ploy [that] risks making the country’s housing crisis significantly worse”.

The party campaigned to end negative gearing in 2011. This time, Mr Little proposed reducing negative gearing by 20%/year over 5 years and spending the estimated $150 million saved on $2000 grants to 600,000 homeowners to insulate their homes.

Mr Little’s call was to “crack down on speculators”, which included banning foreign speculators from buying existing homes: “This will remove from the market foreign speculators who are pushing prices out of reach of first-homebuyers.”

He said Labour would tax property speculators who flick houses within 5 years, and end their ability to use tax losses on their rental properties to offset their tax on other income, “which gives them an unfair advantage over people looking to buy their first home”.

Expanding his point, Mr Little said: “Homebuyers are being locked out of the market by speculators. Losses from rental property investments will be ring-fenced. Speculators will no longer be able to use tax losses on their rental properties to offset their tax on other income, a practice called negative gearing. This move has been recommended by the IMF & the Reserve Bank.

“The biggest users of this loophole are largescale speculators who own multiple rentals and use losses on new acquisitions to continually reduce their tax. The speculators’ tax loophole helps them outbid homebuyers for properties because the taxpayer effectively subsidises part of their cost of servicing mortgages.

“Ending this loophole will not affect most people who have bought a single rental as a long-term investment because most of them are not using it. Those [small investors] that do use this loophole generally only do so for a few years after purchase.”

Church calls it envy politics

Mr Church said the suite of housing proposals Labour announced last year was smart, but on this one he accused the party of “resorting to a form of envy politics designed to set one section of New Zealand society off against another. The policy is a direct attack on mums & dads who are trying to provide for themselves in retirement and be less of a burden on the state.

“Mr Little’s use of the word ‘speculators’ to describe property investors is mischievous. Speculators are people who buy & sell property very quickly in the hope of making a quick buck – whereas investors are people who buy for the long haul – providing housing to thousands of New Zealanders in the process.”

Mr Church said the policy, if implemented, would have a dramatic & rapid effect on the supply of private rental accommodation, creating a problem which would ultimately fall back on the Government: “Your typical property investors are average mums & dads – not wealthy cigar-smoking fat cats – and their ability to purchase an investment property is usually leveraged against the equity in their home & their ability to claim losses in the early years, like any other business does. This move would certainly stop them investing – but in the process it would quickly lead to a shortage in rental housing which would fall back on the Government – so it would end up costing the taxpayer a lot more in the long run”.

Mr Church noted that negative gearing is only a factor in the early years of a property investment: “Over time, rents rise and properties become ‘positively geared’ – at which point the additional income becomes taxable. Is Labour suggesting that they will forgo this tax income – or that they’ll make property investors pay tax on profits while removing the ability to claim losses?”

Need is “to harness family investment”, not to discourage it

He said his biggest concern was that Labour was proposing a policy to reduce private investment in property at a time when private investment in new houses “is probably more important than at any other time in the nation’s history – the Government, and parties who want to be in government, should be proposing policies that increase private investment in the construction of new dwellings as quickly as possible – exactly the opposite of what Labour is proposing.

Instead, Mr Church said there was “a need for smart & innovative solutions that harness the power of mum & dad investment to get those houses built quickly. That might include giving preferential tax treatment to investors who build, or buy, new homes – not punishing them for doing so”.

And he questioned Mr Little’s level playing field: “That’s absolute nonsense. Homebuyers & families aren’t being closed out of the market by investors – they’re being closed out by loan:value restrictions that require them to have a 20% deposit at a time when house prices are at historically high levels. The best way to fix that is to remove those restrictions on first-homebuyers – not blame those who are providing rental accommodation to those who choose not to own.”

Labour plan includes big build, training programme & elimination of Auckland urban boundaries

Labour does have a development plan, announced last year, to get 100,000 houses built quickly under its KiwiBuild programme, which would include partnerships with private developers.

Mr Little said Labour would establish an affordable housing authority to work with the private sector to cut through red tape and get new homes built fast. “It will partner with private developers, councils & iwi to undertake major greenfields & revitalisation projects, building affordable homes with KiwiBuild & the private market [but the company names Kiwibuild Ltd & Ltd have already been registered by private company owners]. These homes will be part of great communities built around parks, shopping centres & transport links.

“Labour’s KiwiBuild programme will build 100,000 high quality, affordable homes over 10 years, with 50% of them in Auckland. Standalone houses in Auckland will cost $5-600,000, with apartments & townhouses under $500,000. Outside Auckland, houses will range from $3-500,000.

“Increased house-building will require a larger workforce. Labour’s dole for apprenticeships policy will subsidise employers to take on around 4000 young people for on-the-job training in fields including building & construction. Labour’s policy of 3 years’ free post-school education will see tens of thousands more people study in all fields, including building & construction. KiwiBuild is projected to create 5000 new jobs at its peak.

“Labour will remove the Auckland urban growth boundary and free up density controls. This will give Auckland more options to grow, as well as stopping landbankers profiteering & holding up development. New developments, both in Auckland & the rest of New Zealand, will be funded through innovative infrastructure bonds.”

Link: Labour policy, Levelling the playing field for first-homebuyers

Attribution: Party & institute releases.

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Hobsonville Land becomes HLC

Housing NZ Corp subsidiary Hobsonville Land Co Ltd changed its name to HLC (2017) Ltd on Tuesday, and has changed its trading name to HLC, representing “Homes Land Community”.

Chief executive Chris Aiken the change came as the company widened its focus to additional largescale developments around Auckland.

The company was formed to develop Hobsonville Point, the former NZ Defence Force site on the Upper Waitemata Harbour, and celebrated 10 years of residential development last year.

1000 homes have been built at Hobsonville Point and it’s now home to 2310 residents. About 500 more new homes/year are being built. On completion, the 167ha masterplanned development will have 4500 houses & over 10,000 residents.

Mr Aiken said the company had learned a great deal about building quickly at scale, and in a quality way that would foster strong communities and produce affordable homes.

Attribution: Company release.

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Housing infrastructure fund enters final submission round

High-growth councils have submitted $1.79 billion of proposals to the Government for support from its $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, but ministers said on Wednesday they weren’t happy with what they’d seen.

The councils have until 31 March to submit final proposals for a share of the fund, and Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce and Building & Construction Minister Nick Smith said they wanted councils to be more ambitious in their final proposals.

Mr Joyce said: “Only a small number of the 17 proposals received through the expressions of interest phase would result in projects being advanced earlier than previously planned by the councils. We want to see more ambitious projects that will have a greater positive impact on housing supply over the next 5 years.”

Dr Smith said the Government had set up the fund last year because council constraints in financing the necessary infrastructure – the water supply, stormwater, wastewater & roading – could slow the opening up of new housing areas. He said the fund could support construction of 50,000 new homes, depending on which final proposals were supported.

The 2-stage process had enabled councils to ‘test drive’ & refine their ideas before the final proposal stage: “The final proposals will be assessed by an independent panel, with priority given to those initiatives that enable the most new housing. We expect to announce the final allocations later this year.

“The Housing Infrastructure Fund is part of the Government’s comprehensive plan to grow additional housing supply alongside special housing areas, the new Auckland unitary plan, the national policy statement on urban development, reforms to the Resource Management Act, the Crown land programme & the HomeStart scheme. We have been successful in more than doubling the house build rate from 15,000 to more than 30,000/year.”

When the Government set up the fund, it highlighted the growth areas it was looking at:

Auckland: Helensville, Waiuku, Pukekohe, Pokeno (Waikato) & Clevedon
Tauranga: Tauriko (in the Kaimai foothills)
Hamilton: Taupiri & Cambridge
Christchurch: Kaiapoi, Rolleston & Lincoln
Queenstown: Arthurs Point, Lower Shotover-Lake Hayes-Arrowtown & Jacks Point.

Housing Infrastructure Fund

Earlier stories:
8 January 2017: Housing infrastructure fund call for final proposals imminent, and panellists required
3 July 2016: PM talks $1 billion infrastructure fund, English talks payback frame, Smith talks grabbing more power

Attribution: Ministerial release.

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500-home Bellfield subdivision approved

Housing accord territorial authority commissioners have approved the Bellfield special housing area & qualifying development application by Motleon Ltd (Sir Noel Robinson) for an eventual 500 houses at Opaheke, between Papakura & Drury in South Auckland.

The proposal went before commissioners Barry Kaye (chair), David Hill & Murray Kay in November and they signed off their approval on 15 December.

Motleon sought approval for a subdivision containing 91 residential lots, including 27 vacant lots which will provide the bulk of the housing, and a commercial lot. Work on the subdivision will include stream diversions & reclamation and redevelopment of Opaheke Park, including park infrastructure.

The proposal was accepted in tranche 4 of Auckland Council’s series of special housing areas in 2014 and rezones 27ha from future urban to a combination of mixed housing urban, mixed housing suburban, neighbourhood centre & open space:conservation, and establishes the Opaheke 1 precinct.

The commissioners have approved development up to 6 storeys (27m) on the site, at No 29 & un-numbered land on Bellfield Rd, 15 Hazeldene Place, 117 & 121Z Opaheke Rd, and Opaheke Park at 165 Opaheke Rd.

The former Papakura District Council limited the use of part of the land to a public golfcourse when it was previously sold to Papakura Golf Course Ltd, but that encumbrance was discharged in 2014. The Papakura Pony Club had informal use of some of the site, but the Papakura Local Board set a 31 December deadline for the club to vacate the land.

The low-lying site is in the Opaheke catchment and has farm drains, intermittent & permanent streams running through it. The area drains into Slippery Creek and ultimately Pahurehure Inlet, in the upper reaches of the Manukau Harbour. A single stream runs through Opaheke Park.

Bellfield special housing area decision

Attribution: Decision.

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Fletcher Residential completes Oruarangi purchase

Fletcher Residential Ltd has completed the purchase of 33.8ha for its residential development in Oruarangi Rd, Mangere.

Image above: Map of the development showing the buffer zones & other protected areas.

General manager Ken Lotu-I’iga said yesterday the purchase last week followed Auckland Council consent approvals granted in May.

He said Fletcher Residential, a subsidiary of Fletcher Building Ltd, was pleased with the continued progress: “It is well known that Auckland needs more houses, and we believe this will be a wonderful new neighbourhood, sensitive to the surrounding area. It will also include affordable housing which so many Aucklanders so desperately need.”

The deal has been hotly contested by local residents, particularly members of SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape), who argued that the rezoning at 545-561 Oruarangi Rd from future urban to a combination of mixed housing suburban, public open space:conservation, and green infrastructure corridor would provide housing at a far lower density than most others in the same tranche of special housing areas approved in 2014.

Fletcher Residential intends to build up to 480 homes in a mix of standalones & terrace housing, and including about 48 affordable homes.

In a list of 18 other development proposals under the housing accord, SOUL found only 4 with densities below 40 dwellings/ha, 8 with densities over 200 dwellings/ha: “The only special housing area approved by Auckland Council & the NZ Government as a low density development is special housing area 62, Oruarangi Rd, Mangere: 480 dwellings on 32ha, density 15 = low.”

The Wallace family farmed this land for over 150 years and it was zoned for future residential development in 2011. Mr Lotu-I’iga said a small part of the residential development land bordered the Stonefields Reserve, and the stonefields were an important part of the history of Aotearoa: “We applaud the Auckland Council for acquiring the stonefields and making them a reserve for all to enjoy. In keeping with this history of protection, we have set aside more than 25% of the development land to provide a buffer zone for the reserve.

“Comprehensive preparations & planning have already been undertaken to protect the culturally significant geological features of the area, including the adjacent Stonefields Reserve. Fletcher Residential has commissioned reports from archaeologists, Heritage NZ, lizard experts, engineers & others, and incorporated these recommendations into the development plans.

“The company has been working with Maori leaders who have the mandate to represent their iwi. We have walked the site with mandated representatives and used ground-penetrating radar to confirm the exact location of caves & midden. We are not building on any of these areas. We are also protecting the old farmhouse & some significant trees. We have comprehensive protocols in place for the discovery & protection of anything of significance found on site, including having an archaeologist on site.

“We believe Auckland can have both history & houses. We are committed to creating a new neighbourhood that reflects these values. While we understand there is some local opposition from people who don’t want any development at all, we believe that the redevelopment of this site has been carefully considered and provides a good outcome for Aucklanders. We will continue to discuss our plans with mandated stakeholders.”

Earlier stories:
25 May 2016: Fletcher wins approval for subdivision next to Mangere stonefields
29 January 2016: Opponents say Ihumatao alone as low-density special housing area proposal

Attribution: Company release.

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Bill to enable housing on Pt England Reserve passes first reading

The bill to enable housing development on part of the Pt England Reserve beside the Tamaki Estuary passed its first reading last week and has been referred to the Local Government & Environment Select Committee for consideration.

Public submissions close on Tuesday 31 January and the committee is expected to report back to Parliament in April.

The Government unveiled a 300-home development by the Tamaki Redevelopment Co Ltd & Ngati Paoa on 11.7ha of the 45.4ha reserve on 6 December, and was met by a chorus of the mayor, local councillor & local board calling for the proceeds to be invested in new open spaces.

Dr Nick Smith – Building & Housing Minister when he announced the proposal, now Building & Construction Minister after yesterday’s Cabinet reshuffle – said 2ha would be used for a marae, and said 18ha had been used for grazing cows. Mayor Phil Goff said the reserve was vested in Auckland Council, with an underlying Crown title. The council also administer an adjacent 2.9ha council-owned beach reserve/

The development land adjoins housing owned by the Tamaki Redevelopment Co that is due for redevelopment as part of the regeneration of the Tamaki area.

Dr Smith said after the bill passed its first reading: “This plan is about replacing the cows with homes and enhancing the balance of the reserve with improved recreational & cultural facilities. This initiative will give more families a warm, dry, affordable home, improve amenities in the area and help to resolve Ngati Paoa’s treaty settlement.

“Ngati Paoa will have the right to develop this land for housing and will pay fair market value. A further 2ha is being provided for the development of a marae as part of the cultural redress of the treaty settlement.”

He said the aim was to achieve a minimum of 20% social houses & 20% affordable houses, but the details still had to be negotiated with Ngati Paoa.

Point England Development Enabling Bill

Earlier story:
7 December 2016: Ngati Paoa to build 300 homes on Pt England Reserve, talks continue on reserve upgrade

Attribution: Parliament, bill, ministerial & council releases.

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3 consortiums on Tamaki redevelopment shortlist

The Government-Auckland Council joint venture company Tamaki Regeneration Ltd has cut to a shortlist of 3 consortiums vying for its programme to redevelop 1000 state houses in the northern Tamaki area of Auckland’s eastern suburbs to produce 2500 new homes classified as social, affordable or for the private market.

Tamaki Regeneration is owned 41% by the council and 59% by the Government’s Tamaki Redevelopment Ltd. It sought expressions of interest for the first phase of this project in August and released the shortlisted parties on Friday:

  • Ngati Paoa-led consortium with support from local & international constructors & financier
  • The Tuhono Tamaki Consortium – Fletcher Residential Ltd, Fletcher Building Ltd, Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Rawa Ltd, Programmed Facility Management NZ Ltd, Macquarie Capital (NZ) Ltd & Public Infrastructure Partners II LP
  • The Exemplar Communities Consortium – AV Jennings, Capella Capital, AMP Capital, Spotless, Universal Homes & Classic Builders.

Tamaki Regeneration chief executive John Holyoake said the company would issue a request for proposals to the shortlisted parties this month, with a closing date for responses of May 2017. The preferred respondent will be announced in September 2017 and construction is expected to get underway in late 2017.

Tamaki Regeneration took over the ownership & management of 2800 Housing NZ properties on 170ha in the Tamaki suburbs of Glen Innes, Panmure & Pt England on 1 April with the intention of transforming the properties into more than 7500 new quality homes over the next 15 years.

Attribution: Company release.

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Ngati Paoa to build 300 homes on Pt England Reserve, talks continue on reserve upgrade

The Government unveiled a 300-home development by the Tamaki Redevelopment Co Ltd & Ngati Paoa on 12ha of the Pt England Reserve yesterday, and the mayor, local councillor & local board promptly called for the proceeds to be invested in new open spaces.

Agreeing the size of the reserve on the shore of the Tamaki estuary would be a helpful start, while the Government should win the huffing & puffing battle. Building & Housing Minister Nick Smith talked about 48ha, 11.7ha going into housing, 2ha for a marae, and said 18ha was used for grazing cows. Mayor Phil Goff said almost 46ha was vested in Auckland Council, with an underlying Crown title.

The minister said proceeds would go to better recreational facilities and improving the reserve’s amenities. The argument is therefore over the quantity of amenities.

Pt England Reserve is the largest tract of public open space on the Tamaki River foreshore and provides both sportsfields & rural open space. Dr Smith said the Government intended to introduce legislation to lift the reserve status over 11.7ha and sell it to Ngati Paoa for the housing development.

Dr Smith said: “The greatest constraint to resolving Auckland’s housing challenges is finding suitable land, particularly in close proximity to the central city. The Pt England Reserve has been poorly used for decades, with 18ha of it used for grazing cows.

“This plan is about replacing the cows with homes and enhancing the balance of the reserve with improved recreational & cultural facilities. This initiative will give more families a warm, dry, affordable home, improve amenities in the area and help to resolve Ngati Paoa’s treaty settlement.

“The Pt England Development Enabling Bill that facilitates the use of the 11.7ha of the 48ha reserve for housing will be introduced to Parliament tomorrow [today]. Ngati Paoa will have the right to develop this land for housing and will pay fair market value. A further 2ha is being provided for the development of a marae as part of the cultural redress of the treaty settlement.

“The Government is committed to 100% of the proceeds of the land for housing development being reinvested in the Tamaki community. We are in discussions with the Auckland Council on the redevelopment of the reserve and a significant portion of the funds will be required for enhanced recreational facilities & improvements in the reserve’s amenities. Any balance will be reinvested in the adjacent Tamaki redevelopment.

“This Pt England development is complementary to the adjacent Tamaki regeneration project. The redevelopment of existing housing has the additional challenge of providing replacement homes in the interim, and in this way the Pt England development will help accelerate Tamaki.

“The project is very similar to that at Riccarton racecourse, where part of an under-utilised reserve is being used for housing and being enabled through special legislation. Our expectations are to achieve a minimum of 20% social houses & 20% affordable houses, but the details of the housing development are yet to be negotiated with Ngati Paoa.

“This is the ninth Crown land housing site to be announced and the sixth in Auckland. The programme is about the Government using its landholdings to help increase housing supply, and nationally we now have 1500 additional homes in the pipeline.”

Mr Goff, the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board & Cllr Denise Lee called on the Government to reinvest the full proceeds of its sale in new & improved public open spaces for the local community.

Mr Goff said: “The Point England land was set aside decades ago for Aucklanders to enjoy for sport & recreation. Our strong & shared view is that all money from the sale of this land should go back into enhancing public open spaces in the area.

“Given the local population is expected to surge in the Tamaki area by 20,000 in the next 2 decades, and housing will need to intensify, it’s vital that residents still have access to outdoor spaces they can enjoy with their families.”

Mr Goff said the council & government had discussed what would be done with the proceeds of the sale, but an agreement was yet to be reached.

The council and the Tamaki Redevelopment Co are working on an open space network plan which involves redeveloping existing parks, including Pt England Reserve.

Attribution: Ministerial & mayoral releases.

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Changda launches 2 projects to build 1700 Auckland homes

A provincial Chinese construction company, Changda, formally launched 2 Auckland projects in the last days which should result in about 1700 homes being built over the next 5-8 years on sites designated as special housing areas.

Image above: The Sunny Heights project design screened at today’s launch ceremony, with a view over Orewa to the ocean, and the Whangaparaoa Peninsula to the south.

Changda is based in Weifang City, in Shandong Province between Beijing & Shanghai, but provincial doesn’t mean small. The ultimate parent company, Weifang Changda Construct Group, was founded in 1949 and is rated as one of the top 100 competitive construction enterprises in China. Group turnover last year was $2.1 billion, primarily in the construction sector.

Its projects include residential, commercial, industrial & developing infrastructure and it promotes itself as a leader in developing construction technology. It has 30 national patents and has won numerous national & Shandong science & technology awards. Internationally, the group has contracts to build in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Guinea-Bissau, Thailand, Guyana & Hong Kong.

In Auckland, it has 2 companies – Changda International Development Ltd for its 1100-home development beside the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau and Changda International NZ Ltd for the Sunny Heights project above Orewa.

Both project launches involved ceremonies beginning with local Maori input, and local input to the projects was emphasised in numerous ways.

I’ll have more detail on these 2 projects over the weekend.

Attribution: Company releases, launch events.

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