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Systemic change call for Auckland housing

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/06/2017

© Getty Images Adopting a deliberate policy to build through economic dips is among the recommendations of a mayoral taskforce that looked at ways to address Auckland's housing shortage.

The taskforce says New Zealand has a fractured and dispersed building industry that is vulnerable to losing skilled workers in a downturn and struggles to build enough high-quality houses in an upturn.

"A new and larger-scale way of planning, funding and building different types of developments, including through cyclical peaks and dips, would make home building more efficient and housing more affordable," the report said.

Over the next 30 years, Auckland's population is expected to increase by up to 1 million people.

Mayor Phil Goff set up the taskforce to identify barriers to building new homes at a speed and scale to meet demand.

In its report, the taskforce says systemic change is required and it makes recommendations in three key areas:

* develop at scale, including building through the dips;

* unlock more land with appropriate zoning and infrastructure;

* deliver efficient and certain planning, consenting and risk management.

The report says there is a shortage of funding for infrastructure and recommends broadening the council's revenue sources.

Mr Goff says it's important for central and local government, and the industry, to analyse the taskforce's recommendations.

"First, the report says that, unless we can provide greater continuity and certainty in building work, the industry will not scale up sufficiently and we will continue to build fewer houses than needed," he said.

"In a small country like New Zealand, central government has in the past played a key role in this and today still needs to."

Prime Minister Bill English said the report addressed "all the right kinds of issues".

"We're happy to work along them," he said. "There's already a lot of stuff in the pipeline."

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