News | 21 September 2017

Wellington City Council united on housing reform plan

Wellington City Council has today voted unanimously to undertake the largest reform of the city’s housing policies in decades.

The Council’s City Strategy Committee voted to adopt the recommendations of the Mayor’s Taskforce on Housing, which include partnering with the Government and the community housing sector on developing new land, incentivising affordable housing developments, increasing building height limits, simplifying consents and raising rental standards.

“Wellington is growing strongly, and we need to make sure we are providing opportunities for new homes to match that growth. It won’t be easy but we want to see every Wellingtonian well housed,” Mayor Justin Lester says.

“That’s why we’ve spent months working with experts from the construction industry, NGOs, academics and social housing providers on a comprehensive plan to tackle housing in Wellington. This plan leaves no stone unturned.

“It has three main components. First, there will be greater leadership from the Council. We’re not going to sit on the sidelines and leave it to the market. We’re going to be more involved by directly building new homes, setting better standards and looking at changes to rating, procurement and development policies to incentivise more development.

“Second, we want to partner with central government to free up more land and develop more social housing, especially for the homeless and those in need.

“Finally, we want to work closer with NGOs, community housing providers and developers, especially on increasing social housing. It’s about saying that as a city we are in this together and then finding ways to deliver.”

Deputy Mayor and Housing Portfolio Leader Paul Eagle says the adoption of the plan is a major milestone for the Council.

“There’s been months of hard work by experts from all around the country to get us to this point. I want to thank all the members of the Housing Taskforce for the huge effort they have put in. I also want to acknowledge the unanimous support we’ve had today from our fellow Councillors.

“This is just the beginning and our vote today sends an incredibly strong message that the Council is united in tackling housing and will give real confidence to our partners. Every Councillor knows that we need urgent action on housing.

“The next step is to incorporate these plans into the first draft of the ten year budget in the Mayor’s first Long Term Plan.”

The comprehensive housing plan agreed today includes:

  • Release Council land for development
  • Refurbish central city buildings into affordable apartments
  • Review the Council’s procurement policy to promote home building
  • Simplify consenting by introducing a one-stop shop approach
  • Develop pre-approved designs to speed up consenting
  • Create a new partnership with central government to boost social housing numbers
  • Notify District Plan changes to encourage greater housing density and raise height limits
  • Deliver Te Whare Oki Oki - a supported living facility for homeless Wellingtonians
  • Create more tenancy support to get rough sleepers into long-term accommodation
  • Deliver direct investment in new social and affordable homes
  • Work with WREDA to increase the number of skilled construction workers available to meet demand
  • Create a development pipeline of greenfield land for new homes
  • Develop a Wellington-specific Housing Standard for rental properties
  • Help homeowners to bring houses up to the standard through a new grant.