Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Assessment builds on housing shortfall concerns

Tauranga City Council has notified the Minister for the Environment that the city’s future housing supply will not comply with the capacity requirements of the Government’s National Policy Statement for Urban Development (NPS-UD).
 
The council’s recently-completed 2021 housing assessment forecasts that the demand for standalone and attached dwellings in the city will exceed supply by just over 400 in the short-term (0-3 years); and when a 20% ‘competitiveness margin’ specified for growth councils is factored-in, the predicted dwelling shortfall exceeds 1100. Including the margin, smaller shortfalls are also predicted for the medium- (4-10 years) and long-term (10-30 years) periods.
 
In a letter to the Minister, Commissioners said the council faced significant challenges in delivering the development capacity required to meet current and future population growth.

Commission Chair, Anne Tolley said the council had been signalling the city’s housing shortfall for some years, but following the completion of the housing assessment and adoption of the city’s 2021-31 long-term plan (LTP), it was timely to formally notify the Minister of the situation.
 
“Much work is underway to address our housing challenges, but as many of the issues we face are directly controlled by Government, it’s important that we build on our existing partnership and ensure that we deliver not just enough new homes for our community, but homes of the right type and in the right price range,” Ms Tolley said.
 
The letter detailed a number of actions which focus on growing the city in a different and more sustainable way, as jointly agreed with Government and regional partners through the subregion’s Urban Form and Transport Initiative. These include:

  • Growing up as well as out, by supporting the Te Papa spatial plan and wider housing choice opportunities across the city through proposed Plan Change 26 (to meet the NPS-UD’s intensification provisions);
  • Partnership with Kāinga Ora in the development of council-owned properties, with a significant focus on social and affordable housing outcomes;
  • Structure planning and rezoning of the Te Tumu and Tauriko West greenfield growth areas, followed by the Keenan Road and Ohauiti South areas;
  • Master planning for regeneration of the Gate Pa and Merivale suburbs, in partnership with Kāinga Ora and Accessible Properties Limited, again seeking social and affordable housing outcomes;
  • Refreshing the city centre masterplan, with a stronger focus on enabling residential development through increased building heights;
  • Supporting papakāinga development and wider development aspirations on Māori-owned land.

The commissioners noted that the recently adopted 2021-31 Long-term Plan (LTP) includes infrastructure investment across transport, three waters, reserves and community facilities to enable development in Te Papa, Tauriko West and Te Tumu.
 
“The total level of investment in this LTP has almost doubled to $4.6 billion, funded by significant increases in rates, development contributions and debt,” Ms Tolley said.

“Further work is underway to secure alternative financing and funding arrangements through the Housing Infrastructure Fund, Infrastructure Acceleration Fund, Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act special purpose levies, tolling and direct developer delivery of infrastructure.

“Accessing funding from these sources will allow development to proceed at a faster pace, without placing an inequitable burden on current ratepayers to meet the cost of growth-related investment,” she said.
 
The Commissioners also cautioned that there were significant risks to addressing development and funding constraints in a timely way. Taken in combination, these could increase the city’s housing capacity shortfalls by up to 5000 homes if there were further delays in releasing supply in Tauriko and Te Tumu, Ms Tolley said.
 
“The other area of concern is whether our housing supply will be at prices residents can afford.”

“Given the high cost structure for both intensification and greenfield development, and the lack of tools available to address that, the Crown, Council and developers will need to work in partnership to deliver more affordable new home builds,” she said.

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