Affordable housing plans laid out


Short-term worker hostels, government-subsidised affordable houses and penalising land-bankers are ideas being offered to solve Queenstown’s housing crisis.

The proposals were thrashed out by 40 locals in the Queenstown community affordable housing work group.

They came together after think-tank Catalyst Trust called for volunteers at its forum to discuss the issue in July. 

Resort house prices are edging towards becoming more expensive than Auckland’s and businesses struggle to retain staff.

The group’s affordable housing plan was presented on Monday to a range of local and central government politicians and bureaucrats and representatives of the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust.

An extraordinary council meeting, called to discuss various planning matters, will consider the report on March 1.

Catalyst Trust chairwoman Cath Gilmour, who is also a district councillor, says the group’s report is a broad package of recommendations that showed not one person or body could solve the connected issues by themselves.

Some measures are already included in the local council’s district plan, she says, and she hopes the “common-sense and doable” suggestions will be picked up by local and central government.

The group’s report calls on the Queenstown Lakes District Council to help accelerate community affordable housing developments.

The government is being asked to bring in a bed tax and help fund large projects such as worker accommodation.

Gorge Road’s urban area is seen as a priority for more intense housing development.

The group’s report says council land should be used for affordable housing, including the Lakeview site earmarked for a convention centre, and a partnership with Ngai Tahu should be explored to develop the soon-to-be-vacated Wakatipu High School site.

New models for worker accommodation, including public-private partnerships, should be investigated, the report says.

Other short-term solutions include advocating for land-banking developers with residentially zoned land to be penalised and for mandatory worker accommodation to be provided in some instances.

The report also says laws should be overhauled to give tenants greater “security” and rights, including tenures of up to 10 years.

Otago Daily Times