Phil Goff launches campaign, outlines housing plan

Auckland mayoral candidate Phil Goff (Simon Wong, file)
Auckland mayoral candidate Phil Goff (Simon Wong, file)

Auckland mayoral candidate Phil Goff has launched his official campaign for office with a pledge to fix the city's housing woes.

The Labour MP and former Opposition leader released his housing policy today at his campaign launch at Corban Estate.

Mr Goff says homelessness and housing affordability are among the city's biggest concerns.

"Auckland is a wonderful place to live but it is becoming increasingly unaffordable for many residents. This needs to change if we are to be city where talented and enterprising people want to live and can thrive."

The average price of an Auckland home is forecast to hit $1 million next month, and figures from the council's new Unitary Plan say 13,000 new homes will be needed every year.

Mr Goff says the Auckland Council can speed up building by making consents both faster and cheaper, and he's set his sights on land-banking developers, who make a profit off the rising cost of land.

His policy calls for new "use it or lose it" clauses to be attached to building and resource consents. They would set a time limit on those consents by which developers would have to start building or face the prospect of starting again from scratch.

Mr Goff also pledged his support for the recently passed Unitary Plan. It calls for the city to grow up and out to supply 422,000 new homes over 30 years.

"The current council has done its bit by passing the Unitary Plan. It is now up to the incoming council to ensure Auckland grows while protecting our green spaces and heritage."

But the Labour MP of 35 years is also asking for help from the National Government to make law changes to limit demand.

Mr Goff wants foreign buyers to be forced to build new homes instead of buying existing ones, and is calling for the brakes to be put on record immigration levels - 825 new migrants arrive in Auckland each week.

The bright-line test is another target - a tax on the sale of residential property that applies if land is sold within two years of purchase. Mr Goff wants that extended to five years.

But all of those moves would need the help of a Government he's spent three and a half decades opposing as an MP.

"Auckland is in the grip of a housing crisis," says Mr Goff. "There is no easy solution and council alone certainly cannot fix the problem.

"As Mayor I will work in partnership with central Government, the private sector and other stakeholders to tackle the crisis.

"To make a difference we need all of these parties working together."