The Action Plan focuses on the following key areas:
- Planning for Growth
- Consenting Improvements
- Mana whenua and Māori housing
- Social and public housing
- Affordable housing
- Private rental housing.
Councillor Tamatha Paul, Chair of the Council’s Kōrau Tūāpapa Environment and Infrastructure Committee, says: “There’s no denying that the housing crisis is the biggest issue facing Wellington.
“The housing crisis means we lose students and artists, essential workers can’t afford to live here and people spend most of their income on their rent. In this plan, we’ve tried really hard to address the major drivers of the housing crisis so that every Wellingtonian, no matter their circumstances, can be well-housed in a warm, dry, sustainable home.
“Low-cost rental housing is essential if Pōneke is to thrive – we have to recognise that the rental sector is essential especially for young people and people on lower incomes. We need to expand the provision of accessible, safe, warm and dry homes for rent.”
Mayor Tory Whanau says the Housing Action Plan confirms the fact that affordable, safe and dry housing is an absolute priority for the city. “Everyone, especially our most vulnerable, are entitled to a warm, dry and safe home. I campaigned on this and support Council to do everything in its power to deliver on this priority for our people. So I fully support this plan.”
Cr Paul says highlights of the Housing Action Plan include:
In addition to allowing three times the housing potential as in the former District Plan, consideration will be given to how co-housing can be supported in Wellington. Cities like Melbourne have been experiencing a co-housing boom, yet Wellington co-housing projects have struggled to get off the ground. Work towards establishing an Urban Design Panel will also be underway.
This programme supports growth in the supply of houses in the private market by improving the ease and efficiency of the consenting processes. The Council will also consider improvements to the delivery of the consenting function to assist
owners of earthquake-prone buildings and those wanting to build affordable and public housing.
Māori and Mana Whenua housing
In addition to increase Māori housing security and Māori home ownership, the plan will investigate the creation of a Papakāinga chapter within the new District Plan which will help to facilitate papakāinga in Wellington City.
As a direction from Councillors, a strategy to end homelessness will be developed in time for consideration within the Long Term Plan. A total of $3.3 million has been spent on ending homelessness in the last decade, but Councillors hope to see an increase in this investment particularly following the tragedy at Loafers Lodge. The former homelessness strategy, Te Mahana, was developed in partnership with specialist organisations such as DCM and Wellington City Mission but expired in 2020.
Social and public housing
Targets for public and affordable housing will be developed to direct development of new housing, particularly as part of the Mass Rapid Transit Growth Plan which will facilitate the significant investment in housing and infrastructure in our lifetimes. Experts who have delivered mass rapid transit in other cities reinforce the importance of setting expectations around what kind of development will occur including a percentage for public and affordable housing.
This plan establishes a forum for the Council and tertiary education providers to work together to address affordable student housing for the city. The plan also requests support from the Government to scale up the Te Kāinga affordable rental homes programme (see below).
Private rental housing
This plan includes a number of significant advances to improve the quality of rental homes in Wellington. This is the first plan where the City Council endeavors to address and enhance the rights of renters.
In a move to support the intent of the Healthy Homes Commitment that Renters United created and championed throughout the 2022 local body elections, the City Council will pilot a rental inspection service in partnership with central government to improve the quality of rental homes in Wellington.
The Council will also create a lobbying programme to advocate for changes to legislation and standards to improve the lives of renters.
Meanwhile the committee has reaffirmed its commitment to the target of building or contracting 1000 apartments in the central city by 2026 as part of the Council’s Te Kāinga affordable housing scheme.