Archive | Government programmes

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.

Link:
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.

Link:
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.

Link:
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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Greens unveil expanded housing purchase plan & finance models

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei refreshed the party’s home for life policy at the weekend with a progressive ownership plan and new financing models for community housing groups.

She told the Habitat for Humanity conference in Rotorua on Saturday: “For much of Aotearoa New Zealand’s history, governments used their low cost of borrowing to finance affordable homes for New Zealanders. It is time for government to pick up its tools again.”

The home-for-life policy is a rent-to-buy type of scheme, but Mrs Turei said the constantly rising average house price – now over $1 million in Auckland – made housing unaffordable for most people.

As a part of a government-build programme, the Green Party would make 10,000 new homes available over 10 years to people who can’t afford a deposit or a normal commercial mortgage, through progressive ownership rent-to-buy arrangements.

“Progressive home owners will pay a weekly payment of no more than 30% of their income. Part of each payment will be rent to cover the Crown’s costs. The rest will purchase equity shares in the home. Over time, with each regular payment, ownership of the home will transfer from the Government to the people who live in it.

“Our plan will save people more than $100/week compared to a commercial mortgage. This programme will work alongside any Government plan to build more affordable homes. It will provide access to affordable, stable housing and get people out of expensive rentals and into their own homes.”

Mrs Turei said community housing providers would be able to buy an additional 5000 newly built, energy-efficient homes from the Government through the progressive ownership programme: “Community housing providers may choose to use these as emergency housing, rent them out as social housing, or sell them to tenants over time using their own rent-to-buy programmes.

“Community housing providers will provide a deposit or use private sector finance to pay for part of the initial cost of building new, highly energy-efficient homes. The Government will fund the remaining stake through Housing NZ. Community housing providers will make regular payments to buy out the Government’s stake.”

She said the Greens proposed that the Government issue low-interest loans to community housing providers, funded by supplying long-term partially guaranteed housing bonds to investors who want to see their money put to use to solve the housing crisis.

Link:
Green Party, home for life policy

Attribution: Party release.

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Government lines up $300 million more for emergency housing over 5 years

The Government has set a new figure of $303.6 million to support emergency housing over 5 years.

$100 million of it is a loan to Housing NZ and $102 million for providers to support, stabilise & help tenants into longer-term housing.

$71 million is earmarked for rental subsidies.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett announced the outlays on Monday as the next step in the Government’s “comprehensive housing plan”.

What she didn’t make clear was how much of this money is already accounted for in programmes previously announced. She mentioned that extra emergency housing places would be delivered in a number of ways, including using vacant Crown land, and cited the example of Housing NZ building over 40 homes in Otahuhu on land it has leased from the Ministry of Education.

That development – 51 transitional houses on a site earmarked for a school – was one she highlighted in a speech on 30 September.

Mrs Bennett said the $300 million would be enough for an extra 1400 emergency places at any one time – 600 in Auckland, 800 in other areas of high demand.

She said that was an ambitious goal, but the Government had set up a cross-agency team to secure suitable properties around the country and, in Auckland, build new ones if necessary.

The $303.6 million package is made up of:

  • $120 million in capital funding to build, buy or lease properties suitable for emergency housing, $100 million of it as a loan to Housing NZ
  • $71 million in rental subsidies
  • $102 million for providers to support, stabilise & help tenants into longer-term housing, and
  • $10.4 million for more dedicated frontline Ministry of Social Development staff to work with people who need emergency housing or are on the social housing register.

Mrs Bennett said these new places would be in addition to the 3000 places/year & special needs grants for accommodation, for which $41.6 million was provided in this year’s Budget.

“In total, we’re aiming for more than 8600 places/year, as well as continuing to provide access to alternative accommodation when contracted emergency places are not available.

“Especially in Auckland, the strong market has made it hard to find new places, but with this funding we have made sure it’s not money that’s holding us back. The Government wanted to make sure that we could seize every opportunity and be as flexible as possible to support the great work emergency housing providers are already doing in this space.

“This procurement work is already well underway. In addition to developing housing on Crown land in Otahuhu, work is progressing on modular housing at 3 sites across Auckland and Housing NZ has bought a motel in Takanini.”

Link:
Emergency housing funding 7.11.16 (2).pdf

Earlier story:
2 October 2016: Future Otahuhu school site marked temporarily for transitional housing

Attribution: Ministerial release.

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National policy statement on urban development capacity takes effect in December

The Government has signed off its national policy statement on urban development capacity, aimed at ensuring councils in rapidly growing urban areas provide enough land for new housing & business development.

Environment, Building & Housing Minister Nick Smith said on Monday: “The national policy statement requires councils to allow for a greater supply of houses, so prices rise more slowly and houses are more affordable. The long-term root cause of New Zealand’s housing affordability problems is insufficient land supply, especially in Auckland, where median section prices increased 350% from 1990 to now. Building costs increased only 78% during the same time.

“The policy statement will require councils to base their decisions on better information, including house prices in their areas. It is also a powerful lever for those seeking additional residential zoning from councils in that they can appeal council decisions to the Environment Court on the basis the council is not meeting supply requirements.”

The policy statement takes effect on 1 December. Dr Smith said biggest councils experiencing high growth would be most affected, including Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga & Hamilton. Smaller, fast-growing places such as Nelson & Queenstown would also be affected.

“It also requires local authorities & infrastructure providers to better co-ordinate the provision of services needed to support housing & business growth.”

Dr Smith said it had taken under 9 months to deliver this policy statement, compared to the standard 3 years: “This reflects the importance of action on housing and the increased emphasis on the use of national Resource Management Act tools. It sits alongside the new unitary plan [in Auckland] & the Government’s Resource Management Act reforms to address the core issue of increasing land supply.

The building consent picture

“Today we’ve also seen building consents figures which show we’re in the midst of the longest & strongest building boom on record, with the total value of building work for the year to September hitting $18.7 billion.

“Nationally 29,935 residential building consents were issued for the year to September – an increase of 122% compared with 5 years ago. In Auckland, 9960 consents were issued, up 186% on 5 years ago.

“It is particularly encouraging that construction work in Auckland has grown 36% in the past year, to $7.2 billion.

“Just last week we announced a heads of agreement on a 104-dwelling development at New North Rd in Mt Albert and turned the first sod at a 196-dwelling development in Massey East, both of which are part of our Crown land housing programme. I also turned the first sod at a 1350-dwelling development in a special housing area at Drury.

“This government is step by step, development by development, getting on and addressing Auckland’s housing challenges.”

Earlier stories:
1 November 2016: Auckland share of new home consents drops, intensive ratio holds
27 June 2016: Lawyers take issue with minister’s urban land target
14 March 2016: Council says Government approach wrong on resource management reform
10 August 2015: Council has forthright message for Government on land for housing
27 July 2015: Another contortion on development capacity
19 July 2015: Unitary plan panel sets programme for April 2016 hearings conclusion
17 July 2015: Council wants feedback on greenfield rezoning sequence
19 June 2015: Key points from land for housing report
Commission looks behind high land prices

Attribution: Ministerial release.

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