Nobody is building affordable housing in Auckland, Mayor Goff says; Welcomes new Labour govt's KiwiBuild, says could save Special Housing Areas which didn't deliver; Ardern notes house price fall, but that average price is still above $1m

Nobody is building affordable housing in Auckland right now, and hopes are resting on Labour’s KiwiBuild policy to help tackle this, the city’s Mayor Phil Goff has said.

Speaking after meeting new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Wellington Thursday, Goff said the previous government’s Special Housing Areas had not delivered the cheaper houses required. He hoped government could team up with the Council’s Panuku housing development organisation to work on building plans.

Meanwhile, Ardern said that while the latest QV figures indicated prices were now falling in Auckland, the average value was still above $1 million. The market was simply not working in terms of supplying affordable housing, she said.

Special housing areas not delivering

The previous government’s much-lauded Special Housing Areas policy turned villain towards the end of its term, with revelations that many consents issued under the legislation had not been built. Asked whether the Council and government were looking at a workstream to kick off building work, Goff said: “Special Housing Areas didn’t deliver. They didn’t deliver the houses that we need.”

“Nobody is building affordable housing in Auckland at the moment, and that is creating a crisis for lower-income families. The families that work in our hotels, that work in our service industries, that drive the busses and the cabs, can’t afford to live in the city,” he said.

KiwiBuild would make a massive difference, Goff said – noting that half of the 10,000 houses per year would be earmarked for Auckland. “It means that our property development company Panuku and the government’s Housing Corporation of New Zealand, will need to work together for regeneration to get those houses built.”

“What Council can do without government is incredibly limited,” Goff said. “What we can do together I think is more than the sum of the different parts.” Ardern added that establishment of a Housing Commission would help the parties generate the ability to work in partnership with the Council.

There is tremendous need for housing construction in Auckland, she said. “Despite headlines today that house prices are beginning to slow, we still have an average house price in Auckland over $1 million. We are not building enough homes in the affordable space, in the range that people are demanding. We have a crisis and the market’s simply not meeting that demand.”

Goff said he was pleased to see that the objectives of the government were aligned with Auckland Council’s priorities for the city. “It’s dealing with our massive problem of traffic congestion – 800 extra cars a week on the road; it’s dealing with a housing shortage and affordability problem, and it’ll make a huge difference to have KiwiBuild; and it’s dealing with the problem…with water quality.”

The meeting between Goff and Ardern was also attended by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Housing & Transport Minister Phil Twyford. In the small-talk photo-op session ahead of the meeting, Goff began saying that there were “big jobs ahead for…” before Ardern cut in: “…all of us”. The Mayor and previous Labour Cabinet Minister continued: “And collectively,” .

Read comments from Goff on light rail and value uplift tax here.