Houses built on fewer than half of Auckland's Special Housing Areas

A newly released report shows fewer than half of Auckland's Special Housing Areas, designed to fast-track development, are having houses built on them after four years.

One-hundred and fifty-four Special Housing Areas (SHA) have been launched around Auckland since October 2013 to speed up zoning for the development of 66,000 houses.

But a report on Auckland housing released by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) yesterday shows that as of June, 40 of the SHAs have homes being built, 16 have earthworks underway and 73 have consents lodged or approved. 

A total of 3105 homes have been completed in 31 SHAs since 2013.

Twenty-five have been disestablished altogether, accounting for more than 2,000 sections or dwellings.

Minister for Building and Construction Nick Smith says the disestablished SHAs only make up 3 percent of the capacity, and some developers have found it too expensive to go through with geotechnical checks or additional infrastructure development required.

Smith also says some of the developers decided to go through the new zoning process under the Unitary Plan instead.

But Auckland Councillor Chris Darby says he's not aware of any activity on those 25 SHAs, at least one of which was established as far back as 2013.

Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says the SHAs have only succeeded in bringing forward a small number of developments "that were in the pipeline anyway".

"The policy has been a flop, when Auckland needed a mass building programme of affordable homes and a crackdown on speculators. National's failure on housing will be their legacy."

The report also shows the Government failed to meet its target for housing consents in Auckland last year.

Targets under an agreement between the government and Auckland Council saw 13,930 sections created or dwellings consented, 82 percent of the 17,000 goal. The number was exceeded in the first year of the agreement, but fell just short of its overall three-year target of 39,000 consents.

Dr Smith says there was rapid growth in the early years but constraints in the construction industry had slowed development in the third year.

"The faster you go, the harder it is to go faster."

He says more than 1000 sections or dwellings have been consented in SHAs than was predicted last year.

Until late last year, MBIE had posted quarterly reports about Auckland housing on its website. The three latest reports were uploaded yesterday following an Official Information Act request and Ombudsman complaint from Newshub's The Nation.