Great piece by Bernard Orsman in The Herald:
Large affordable housing project in Manukau hits snag
A $140 million housing project on council land in Manukau has hit a snag on the eve of Auckland Mayor Phil Goff releasing a major report to tackle the city’s housing crisis.
The council’s development arm is being blamed by New Zealand Housing Foundation chief executive Paul Gilberd for wanting too much for the land, where hundreds of homes, including more than 100 affordable homes, are planned.
Just in passing, why aren’t all the planned houses in this project “affordable”? The New Zealand Housing Foundation’s site is here: “We are a not-for-profit, charitable trust delivering affordable housing for low income households, and supporting many other community providers also to provide affordable housing in neighbourhoods that work for low income and disadvantaged households”.
“The whole process has collapsed and is off the table as of Wednesday last week,” Gilberd told RNZ.
He said the foundation offered $13m for the land but Panuku Development Auckland wanted $24m, making affordable homes too expensive.
The project highlights the difficulty balancing the cash-strapped council’s desire to maximise the value of selling surplus land and using its landholdings to deliver affordable housing.
“The other important factor is that the sale of the site needs to make a reasonable financial return for Auckland ratepayers,” the statement [Panuku Development] said. …
From the council / ratepayer point of view why shouldn’t they want the best price possible for the land? But that drives up the prices of supposedly “affordable” housing still further. We are going to see versions of this dilemma played out everywhere.
In my opinion the needs of affordable housing should come first. Existing ratepayers need to make way for those who need a home too. The land should be cheap, “cash-strapped” councils can put up the rates.
This needs leadership from central government. I won’t hold my breath.