Politik: Urban Development Statement No Circuit Breaker

The Government’s draft Urban Development National Policy Statement will help further focus Auckland Council on land supply, BUT: we at council are still holding back houses being built. I have a plan which I refered to in my statement on the NPS, which Richard Harman’s Politik blog also picked up.

The Government’s draft Urban Development National Policy Statement isn’t the circuit breaker Auckland needs says Auckland mayoral candidate Mark Thomas.

“That needs to come from Auckland Council.”

“Infrastructure funding and consent processing issues still remain to be fixed. Current council frustrations with how National Policy Statements work also need to be sorted out.”

“Auckland has made provision for 110,000 new houses in greenfields areas around Auckland, however these can’t be brought forward because of funding constraints.”

Thomas says some of is caused by poor council spending such as the $20million spent on a white water rafting park, but another key issue is council’s reduced ability for developers to pay more.

“The statement implies council should be charging developers more for the cost of new developments, yet recent government development contribution policy changes have gone in the other direction. Council can no longer charge developers for libraries and swimming pools.

“A further issue is that the NPS’ comments on council advancing infrastructure bonds seems to ignore the debt constraints council currently has.”

“Council is also still far too slow processing consents. Despite claims the statutory time-frame is met 97% of the time, last year’s Government Rules Reduction Taskforce highlighted that this is misleading. The Taskforce also found the NPS process unclear and confusing for councils.”

“I meet developers every week who are prevented from building houses in Auckland by council’s slow processes. Auckland Council needs to sort this out.”

Thomas said there were some positive aspects to the draft NPS. The requirement in the statement to recognise the national significance of Auckland land supply decisions was sensible.

“The statement helps had further pressure to Auckland Council to resolve land supply problems, and that is also a very good thing. But it needs more effort by Auckland Council to be the genuine circuit breaker Aucklanders need.”

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