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English targets Auckland Council

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/05/2016

The government has sent a clear signal to Auckland Council that it expects it expects it to deliver more houses - and sooner rather than later.

Finance Minister Bill English used a pre-budget speech on Thursday to get the message across.

"When we talk about housing affordability, let's be clear about what makes it difficult to build a house," he said in his speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

"Consenting requirements can add up to $110,000 to the cost of an apartment in Auckland.

"The price of land inside Auckland's urban boundary is 10 times higher than just outside it.

"Land prices have increased five-fold in Auckland since 1996."

Mr English said those issues were a result of council plans that restricted development.

"We need on average around 13,000 houses each year in Auckland for the next 30 years," he said.

"The government's very clear expectation of Auckland Council is that it will approve a plan in August to deliver this - we will be scrutinising the Auckland Unitary Plan in a few months."

Mr English said the government was doing its part by helping to free up land for development and it was working on strengthening the national direction on housing which could be used to force councils to release more land.

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