Auckland Council's housing plan 'deluded' - Labour


Labour says Auckland Council is deluded, after it said its metropolitan urban limit wasn't holding up development of new housing.

"I think [Auckland Council is] utterly out of touch," says Labour's Phil Twyford.

"If they think that the current status quo is working they are absolutely deluded."

A rare alliance between Labour and National saw the council backed into a corner, but today the council came out fighting.

"We feel there's quite a lot of misinformation out there," says Auckland Council's Penny Wright.

Much of the debate is around freeing up land for new housing.

The council rejects the idea it's kept a tight grip on the Metropolitan Urban Limit -- essentially a ring around Auckland dictating where housing is built.

Through Special Housing Areas, the Council says it's already granted approval which could create 23,000 new homes outside the metropolitan limit.

"I think people feel that by just removing a boundary and saying this land is available for urban development, that it can happen overnight," Ms Wright says.

"But all of our rural areas are not serviced for urban activities."

The council is currently considering Auckland's Unitary Plan, which aims to relieve housing pressure.

It could release 11,000 hectares of land to build 110,000 new homes over the next 30 years.

But even that may include a Rural Urban Boundary and Mr Twyford says a boundary's a boundary.

"As long as you got a boundary the land will be cheap on one side, expensive on the other, and it will be a magnet for landbankers and speculators."

So the Auckland Council fired a shot back at Labour and the Government today; a warning to "back off".

But real test will be in August when the council votes on the Unitary Plan, with both sides prepared for battle.