Auckland Council report recommends 'systemic change' to housing

Auckland Council has released a housing plan to deal with a population set to grow by one million people over the next three decades.

The Auckland Mayoral Housing Taskforce was launched in February and was made up of people from the public and private sector to look into barriers and constraints holding back the scale of homebuilding the city needs.

It was also tasked with coming up with solutions to meet growing demand.

The report was released on Monday and says the way Auckland builds its homes needs "systemic change".

It lays out three key recommendations:

  • remove barriers to the construction sector developing at scale
  • make more land available through zoning and infrastructure
  • more efficient and certain planning, consenting and risk management.

Some of the recommendations require Auckland Council working with central government, including coming up with a plan to scale up joint venture building programmes on publicly owned land.

It is also calls for the Government to look at the point system for work visas to give preference to skilled construction workers when demand can't be met through local training.

"Unless we address these problems, housing shortage and unaffordability in Auckland will not only continue to cause serious social pressures, but will also hold back Auckland's and New Zealand's economic growth," Mayor Phil Goff says.

The report also looked at the lack of investment in infrastructure over the decades which has held back housing development.

"The Auckland Unitary Plan has freed up land by zoning it for development. However, for development to take place roading, water and community facilities need to be provided in order for the build to occur."

It says the Housing Infrastructure Fund will be important to remedy that and also recommends more ways the Council can get more money including through congestion pricing and targeted rates for those "realising windfall profits" from rezoning and new infrastructure.

Prefabricated homes have also been floated as an idea to improve the speed and quality of building while also lowering costs.

Mr Goff says the report's recommendations are "a way forward" in addressing the chronic housing shortage and affordability problem.

Read the full report here.