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Accord fast-tracks developments


Developers will be able to push through subdivisions in less than a quarter of the time under a housing accord signed between the Housing Minister and Auckland’s mayor.

Housing Minister Nick Smith said it would deliver thousands of new homes for Auckland by streamlining the planning and consent process.

“This balanced and pragmatic agreement addresses the economic risks to New Zealand’s economy of an over-heated and supply constrained Auckland housing market. It is good news for Auckland families wanting access to more affordable houses to buy and rent.”

Auckland’s housing stock is not keeping pace with population increases. It is estimated there are 20,000 to few homes in the city and only 3600 are being built a year.

The draft Auckland Unitary Plan is intended to counteract the problem with increased intensification, but will not take effect for three years.

The accord's legislation will be introduced as part of this year’s Budget and will create special areas of Auckland where it will be possible to override existing restrictions.

New greenfield developments of more than 50 dwellings will be able to be approved in six months as compared to the current average of three years and brownfield developments in three months as compared to the current average of one year.

The streamlined process will not be available for high-rise developments that will need to be considered under existing rules until the Unitary Plan has been finalised in 2016.

Smith said: “The accord sets a target of 9000 additional residential houses being consented for in  year one, 13,000 in year two, and 17,000 in year three. This is a huge boost on the average 3600 homes that have been consented each year over the past four years and the 7400 a year over the past 20 years.”

It will expire when the new Auckland Unitary Plan becomes fully operative, expected in 2016.

Employers and Manufacturers Association chief executive Kim Campbell praised the plan.

"The agreement between Minister Nick Smith and Mayor Len Brown makes infinite commonsense. It deals with concerns we had about the constraints on Auckland's growth, and 'so refreshing to see Auckland and central government finding common ground.... the accord unblocks log jams we were concerned about with the government's three-year phase in of the Unitary Plan.”

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Source: Landlords.co.nz