Government will tip millions of dollars into a new fund to facilitate development of its available land in Auckland: hopes first deal done in six months

The Government’s tipping $52 milliion into a new “capital contigency fund” that will help it facilitate development of up to 500 hectares of state land in Auckland.

And the Government’s hoping to have its first development deal agreed within six months.

The move to make the land available was foreshadowed on the eve of the Budget.

Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says the Government “has had its foot on the accelerator” to address the housing supply and affordability “challenge”.

“We recognise the importance of maintaining this momentum to help more New Zealand families into home ownership.”

Smith said it was estimated that the Crown, through various agencies, owns approximately 500 hectares of land in Auckland with the potential for residential development.

“This latest initiative will enable the Government to select vacant parcels of land from the relevant agency and make it available for development by a private sector partner through a competitive process.

“We have demonstrated the success of this approach already in Christchurch with the developments that are currently under way at Awatea, and Welles and Colombo Streets. Fletcher Residential, the Government’s partner on these developments, put forward a proposal to deliver more than 400 homes, with a proportion priced at an affordable range.”

Smith said the Government would be looking to “achieve a similar result” in any development agreement that is reached with the new fund.

“We are boosting not just supply, but the supply of affordable homes.”

The further added benefit of the approach promoted by this fund was that it would enable development on land that has already been zoned as residential, but with no existing buildings or tenants to manage – meaning houses would be able to be brought to market faster.

“The next step will be to identify the specific parcels of land for possible purchase. Our aim is to have a signed development agreement for the first land parcel within six months.”

The contingency fund announced today is the latest initiative in the suite of measures the Government already has in place to improve housing supply and affordability in Auckland and across New Zealand. 

“We have signed Housing Accords with six local councils, including Auckland, which have seen more collaboration between central and local government.

“We are freeing up more land faster for residential development through our Special Housing Areas, increasing skills and productivity in the construction sector, reducing tariffs on building materials, and constraining development charges under the Local Government Act.

“Our KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme, which came into effect on 1 April 2015, provides financial assistance to 90,000 first-home buyers.

“The next key measure is our planned second phase of the Resource Management Act reforms to tackle the long-term issues affecting housing affordability and supply,” Smith said.