SPEECH: Point England Development Enabling Bill — First Reading, Marama Fox

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

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I rise to take a call on this bill because I think it is fundamentally important to the redevelopment of the Auckland area. I have been quite interested in housing, to find out what is going on up there. I have been up to Auckland a number of times to visit a number of housing developments. I have been to property developers to see what they are doing privately, where I have seen developments of 1,000 to 2,500 homes.

I have seen developments that include having to build the road, having to bring the water, having to bring the power, to put the lights in, and to put the footpaths in all by the developer.

What that means is that before they can even build a house, the section is now costing $400,000 to $500,000. We have not even started to build a house yet, because the Auckland Council cannot afford to put the infrastructure into those areas. So then I have been to see a social housing development where we are building a hundred-ish houses. I have been to see mixed social housing areas where we are building a mixed tenure of houses: some high density, some low density, some affordable ones.

But here is the thing: we are requiring only 10 percent of those houses to be affordable, and from the property developers I have met they have said that affordable is about $475,000.

They take a loss to get that in there, but they are building a thousand homes, and every single other house in that development is the minimum $900,000.  So if you get 10 percent and build 100 houses, that is 10 houses.

We do not have a problem with houses just on their own; we have a problem with affordable houses. So if we are building houses that are already priced out of the range of people who can already not afford them, then we are not actually solving anything.

So here in Point England, why this is significantly important is because here we have an iwi who are about to take on a development plan where, yes, there are these 300 houses but right next door there are another possibly 2,000 houses.

They can decant people out of their homes into the new homes instead of just pushing them out on to the streets—somewhere, maybe, don’t know where—and then build some homes. So they are thinking about the community they live in and they have seen the developments at Ngāti Paoa.

Here is the thing: I have been down to social housing developers, private property developers, and mixed tenure developers, and none of them are building an adequate number of social houses—of affordable houses—except for one that I have seen, or two now, and one of them is this one at Point England by Ngāti Paoa.

So who are building houses to help the people who most need them? Māori are building houses. When I talk to the property developers and they say: “Mārama why the heck would I take a section that I put all the infrastructure into and build a house for $300,000 and get $30,000, when I can put a $1 million house on it and get $100,000? It does not make fiscal sense to do that, Mārama.” So they then stick to the 10 percent limit that they have to do and what does that provide? It provides a 2-bedroom home with low spec inside, no internal garage but maybe a carport—or maybe not; a car space next to the house. That is what $475,000 will buy you.  But wait. You only have to have that house for 2 years, and after 2 years you can take that house and sell it on. You can sell it on and immediately get $1 million. Why would you not do it? Well, you have to fit the income criteria to get that house in the first place, but that is already happening.

In the first lot of apartments that were built in one of these property developments they first sold them 5 years ago for $500,000. They are now being flicked on for $1.3 million. That is for an apartment in the middle of a property development where every other house in that area is $900,000.

So here at Point England I am supporting this bill because, finally, we have a developer with a heart, who is an iwi, who has given up the land that they have fought for to get back in the Treaty settlement so that under first right of refusal they can provide low income affordable houses and rental accommodation for the people who most need it, and so I commend this bill to the House.

 

Authorised by Susan Cullen, 5 Gala Street, Waihōpai