$300 million to be spent on building 10,500 houses – all within Westgate catchment over the next 10 years.

Source: NZ Herald

Five of New Zealand’s fastest growing councils will have infrastructure projects funded through the Government’s $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund.

“The infrastructure projects announced today will speed up the delivery of 60,000 houses across our fastest growing population centres over the next 10 years,” Bill English said at the announcement in Hamilton.

“This is another major step forward in our plan to permanently lift the capacity of the construction sector to support a more confident, expanding New Zealand.”

The funding will be allocated across nine projects in five different council areas, Auckland, Hamilton, Waikato, Tauranga and Queenstown.

The successful proposals are in critical high growth areas including:

• Auckland Council – $300m – 10,500 houses
Greenfield development (North-west) at Whenuapai and Redhills.
• Hamilton City Council – $272m – 8100 houses
Greenfield development (Peacockes) on southern edge of Hamilton.
• Waikato District Council – $37m – 2600 houses
Te Kauwhata (new development on the shore of Lake Waikare).
• Tauranga City Council – $230m – 35,000 houses
Greenfield development at Te Tumu (eastern end of Papamoa) as well as a capacity upgrade to the Te Maunga Wastewater Treatment Plant and a new (Waiari) water treatment • Queenstown Lakes District Council – $50m – 3200 houses
Two new greenfield sites (Quail Rise South and Ladies Mile) on the Frankton Flats and an extension of the Kingston township.

Proposals were assessed by independent experts and an independent evaluation panel recommended the agreed package to ministers.

The funding would bring forward the ability to build these homes in some cases up to eight years earlier, said Housing Minister Nick Smith.

“The next step is for the councils to complete with the Government the detailed funding agreements which we expect to be concluded in the next few months.

“There is also a huge amount of work required on resource consenting and construction of the works.

“The first earthworks will be under way this coming summer, the first homes consented early in 2018 and homes completed by late 2018.”

But Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford has dismissed the specific housing numbers as wishful thinking.

“Bill English and Nick Smith are attempting to pull a fast one. They’re claiming specific numbers of houses will be built, but they’re not actually providing funding for a single house,” he said.

The Housing Infrastructure Fund was simply a line of credit for councils who were already up against debt limits, he said.

“This is loans for water infrastructure and bridges; National cannot point to a single plot of land and guarantee a house will be built there as a result. Even if Smith’s promises come true for once, they amount to less than 20,000 houses in five years, and just 2,200 in Auckland.”

Labour’s KiwiBuild policy would change the way infrastructure was financed, he said.

It would use international bond finance and package it for new developments, with the debt serviced through a targeted rate on the properties in a new development, he said.