Labour backs urban development plans

Auckland Council’s plan to set up an urban development agency is to be applauded and central government should get behind it to make it a success, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.
Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town has indicated plans are afoot to merge Auckland Council Properties Limited and Waterfront Auckland to form a new Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) to lead urban renewal projects.

“There is an urgent need to spearhead large-scale urban development projects in the city so that Auckland can house a growing population and inject affordable housing into the mix,” Mr Twyford says.
“Unless we start building large volumes and a mix of housing types and affordability, Auckland will never solve its housing crisis.
“It is not an option to only sprawl out into the countryside with all the transport and infrastructure costs. Auckland has to start delivering high quality urban development with higher density living within the city, and an urban development agency is the way to do it.
“The investments in upgrading the rail network have created a great opportunity to revitalise suburban centres. A new urban development agency can open the door to rebuilding vibrant new communities with a mix of business and residential and a mix of affordable and open market housing, all supported by modern public transport.
“A public authority is needed to facilitate big urban renewal projects because it is too risky for the private sector to do on its own. A public agency can remove some of the risk, do the master planning, handle the regulatory issues, and create opportunities for private developers. The Hobsonville Land Company has shown how well the model can work. It works in most of the Australian state capitals and right across North America and Europe. It is time New Zealand caught up.
“Labour in government would back Auckland Council’s plans. Auckland needs central government working hand in glove with the Council on urban development. National’s hands-off approach, which basically consists of tinkering with the planning rules and hoping the market will fix itself, is a long way short of what is needed.”