For all details on this decision see page 38 of the consultation document, Securing our future.
Key decision 1: Should we take a bigger role in housing
We know how concerned people are about housing pressures in the district. We have increased our activity already, but we want to know if you think we should get more actively involved.
What are the options?
We recommend: Council should take a bigger role in housing
- increase our role in social housing, and
- increase our role in influencing the supply of affordable housing.
Access to housing and affordability of housing have been identified as matters of serious concern in our district and it is timely for Council’s role to be strengthened.
Council should not take a bigger role in housing
There are significant and growing housing access and affordability issues in the district, as well as rising rents. As our population continues to grow, there will be more pressure on existing housing. This is already being felt and some of our families are having to move out of the district, and increasingly people in our community are seeking Government support to access housing. The numbers of people on the public housing waiting list were 169 as at October 2020.
New Government requirements are likely to increase intensification, including higher buildings in and around our town centres and transport hubs. This may help provide more and different kinds of homes for the diverse population in our district in the longer/medium term, but there is also a more pressing need in the shorter term. The Government has set some recent direction, such as the removal of residential parking requirements for new dwellings that will expand the scope for affordable housing. There may be other ways we can amend our district plan and our development contributions policy to encourage development of affordable homes. This would require specific consultation.
In the past, Council has not had a significant role in housing other than our current provision of older persons’ housing, and our regulatory roles with our district plan and issuing consents for building.
We have increased our focus, and over the past year developed a housing work programme that includes a range of initiatives, such as:
- assessing the residential land we hold to see if there’s potential for redevelopment
- engaging with our iwi partners to explore development on Māori-owned and other land
- looking into opportunities with the public housing sector to get more social housing built
- seeing if there’s suitable land that could be used for temporary relocatable housing.
While there are many factors affecting the supply of housing and it’s an issue facing the entire country, if Council took an even more active role, and increased spending, it could help address the pressures being experienced now in our district.
Taking a bigger role in housing
Increasing our role in social housing – we could:
- expand our role in older persons’ housing and look at providing wider social housing. We propose reviewing our older persons’ units to see if we could expand these for additional older persons’ housing or other social housing ($158,000 budgeted for this review)
- look at providing social housing through a partnership with, for example, iwi or community housing providers (we have budgeted $631,000 to identify and investigate partnerships).
We would consult on any proposals arising from this work. Increasing our role in influencing the supply of affordable housing, we could:
- do more to expand land supply and incentivise higher-density development in suitable areas
- partner on housing developments
- acquire land for housing (we propose increasing our budget for strategic land purchases by $1 million per year for the first 10 years of this plan)
- review our district plan to support a wider range of housing, including affordable housing.
Cost - We have budgeted $158,000 to review our older persons’ housing for further development opportunities, and 631,000 to identify potential housing partnerships and investigate in detail how they could work. This plan also includes an increase to our budget for strategic land purchases of $1 million per year for the first 10 years of this plan.
Rates impact - $158,000 and $631,000 are operating spending. The rates impact is: year one, 0.29 percent; year two, 0.48 percent; year three, 0.26 percent. Note: the $158,000 is not incurred until year two.
- $1 million for land purchase is capital spending. This is funded from borrowings; that will result in <0.1 percent rates increase for year one, and 0.06 percent rates increase in year two. There will be no rates impact on depreciation from year two as the $1 million is land purchase.
Timing - Our initial work to review our social housing and investigate partnerships would take place in the first three years of this plan: 2021/22 to 2023/24.