Government can create housing options that are good for people and the environment

A new report from the Productivity Commission shows that the Government has many options to help solve the Auckland housing crisis and it must choose those that will create better cities for people and the environment, the Green Party said.

“The Productivity Commission’s housing report highlights how the National Government is sitting on its hands when actually it has a huge range of tools it could be using to fix the Auckland housing crisis,” Green Party finance spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

“Faced with a range of options, the Government should pick the ones that will work best to create cities that are better for people and the environment.

“It’s very clear that the most affordable and effective way to fix Auckland’s housing crisis is high quality, medium density housing development around frequent buses and trains.

“We support many of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations including around scrapping minimum parking and balcony requirements, better medium density development, being more transparent about cost/benefit analysis, and smart investment in underlying infrastructure.

“Harmful planning rules like minimum parking requirements should be first to go, given their incredibly high costs and contribution to traffic congestion and pollution.

“Making it easier to push out urban boundaries won’t fix the problem because we don’t have adequate rail and busway infrastructure in pace, which means people would be stuck paying higher petrol bills to sit in traffic.

“People want more choices about the types of housing available to them. Not everyone wants to live in a mansion with a three car garage and a massive back yard that’s an hour’s drive from where they work.

“It’s important that the report’s recommendations around streamlining consultation processes don’t come at the expense of the rights and interests of tangata whenua, because hapu and iwi want to be part of the housing solution and have a key role to play.

“No package of solutions to the housing crisis is complete without a comprehensive capital gains tax (excluding the family home) to curb speculation, and a housing warrant of fitness to ensure renters live in healthy homes,” said Ms Genter.