Boom sparks housing target re-think


Targets for a Queenstown housing accord are being accelerated because of a building boom.

Queenstown’s council signed the accord with the government in October 2014 to provide an extra 1300 homes in the Wakatipu Basin over three years. The five-year historical average is 275 consents per year.

The targets are being smashed, even before accelerated special housing areas have kicked in, because of a construction boom.

A report released by Housing Minister Nick Smith yesterday showed by April 30, 956 consents for new sections and dwellings had been issued, well ahead of the target of 750 by the end of year two, in September of this year.

“The housing accord targets are to be amended to be more ambitious, in line with the current construction boom and the availability of new data,” the report says.

Smith says in a statement: “We are making progress, with nearly 1000 sections and homes consented in the first 18 months of the accord.

“We need to keep the pace of new construction growing because demand for housing for workers supporting the booming tourism sector is exceeding supply.”

Queenstown’s first special housing area, Bridesdale Farm, adjoining Lake Hayes Estate, has been approved, with 134 homes to be built.

Titles are expected to be issued early next year.

Five other accelerated developments, which could add more than 500 extra houses and units, have been approved by the council but yet to be approved by Smith.

They are at Shotover Country (95), Arthurs Point (70), Lake Hayes Estate (20), Gorge Road (100-150) and a retirement village proposal near Arrowtown (90-120 villa units, 40-55 apartments).

Queenstown Mayor Vanessa van Uden says the council is making good progress tackling the housing shortage, despite huge challenges.

“There’s no silver bullet that will fix the housing problem in this district but the accord, along with incentives for faster development projects and enabling higher-density accommodation, will enable increased supply.”

The construction boom is putting pressure on the council’s consents department.

The council has until Friday to convince a Government audit body it can keep its consenting accreditation, after a slew of substantial problems.

Smith has warned the Government might step in if the council can’t fix the mess.

The council’s proposed district plan signals higher-density zoning in some areas, higher rates for landbankers and reduced rates for residential flats.

Otago Daily Times