Councils will have to unlock more land for housing

The Herald reports:

The Government is set to confirm plans next month to force councils to unlock more land for housing.

Housing Minister Nick Smith told TVNZ’s Q+A this morning that he would be “upping the ante” on increasing housing supply, in particular in Auckland.

“Next month I will be producing a national policy directive under the [Resource Management Act] that will put far tougher requirements on growing councils to ensure they are freeing up long-term the land that is required so that we don’t get into the sort of juggernaut that has been at the core of the unaffordable housing problems in Auckland.”

The Government was “pulling every lever it had” to increase supply, he said, and progress had been made on plans to build houses on surplus Crown land in Auckland.

Several contracts with developers would be announced in the next few weeks, and he expected the first house to be built on this land before the end of the year.

Around $52 million in funding for the scheme had been exhausted, and further funding was expected to be confirmed in this month’s Budget.

Dr Smith also told Q+A that Auckland’s Unitary Plan was “hugely important” for ramping up housing supply in the city.

“If we’re going to solve the problem in Auckland, it can’t be the sort of binary choice – is it up or is it out? It’s actually both.”

Good to hear Nick say this. Just doing one of them won’t work.

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