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Govt gets tough with councils over housing

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/02/2017

The government is challenging councils to come up with housing development projects which need infrastructure funding.

It put up $1 billion for infrastructure such as roads, drains and water in July last year after councils said lack of funds was holding up projects.

But they haven't taken it up, and the government wants to know why.

"Right now there's a pretty gritty discussion going on with councils because they've talked for quite some time about how infrastructure financing is a constraint, and now we want to see them produce the projects where it is a constraint," he said on Monday.

"The real challenge is whether the councils actually do have projects waiting for infrastructure funding - the initial indications are they they don't."

He says the government has been clear with the councils.

"It's not just a subsidiary financing mechanism for their general plans, it is specifically for bringing forward housing supply by overcoming the constraints they said they had."

Councils eligible to be given money from the fund are those with rapidly growing populations which are short of houses, including Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton and Queenstown.

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