Top economist for housing forum


High-density housing and a sweeping land release plan are solutions to Queenstown’s affordable housing crisis, a top economist says.

Shamubeel Eaqub, author of Generation Rent, will speak at a community forum in Queenstown next week.

Eaqub says places with rapid population growth need to change regulations on how land can be used.

“We need the ability to have density and height,” he says.

“But even with those reduced restrictions, if you only release small amounts of land it’s not going to have enough of an impact.

“It’s not enough to have plans for supply of land for 10 or 20 years, we need to have planned supply for 100 years.”

Eaqub, previously principal economist for the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, says short-term planning means not enough land is released relative to future expectation of demand.

“As a result land remains expensive and we end up building houses only for the rich,” he says.

“It means in the Queenstown region there is not sufficient housing for the people who work there.”

Queenstown council’s controversial plan change 50 provides for residential apartments in tall buildings around the
Lakeview site, above downtown Queenstown.

There are also proposals to increase housing density in central Queenstown, Frankton and Arrowtown, increasing supply without urban sprawl. And plan change 19 allows for 600 residential units at Frankton Flats.

Former local council planner and now head of Community Housing Aotearoa Scott Figenshow will also speak at the Catalyst Trust’s community forum.

Figenshow says it’s not a new problem.

“It’s been an issue since the 1970s.

“There’s many things that can be done.  It’s not all about supply, it’s about ensuring the supply is meeting what local need is.

“The district has found solutions -Jack’s Point started it with a commitment of five per cent equity towards affordable housing.

“It’s about having the courage to stay with those solutions over time.”

Architect Tommy Honey and Wanaka developer Peter Southwick complete the line up.

Catalyst Trust chair Cath Gilmour says: “We hope we will get a strong turnout – from those who need somewhere to live to those who could provide homes, and everyone in between.”

Input from the panellists and public will be forwarded to the council, Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust and the government.

More than 300 people are on Queenstown Lakes Community Housing
Trust’s waiting list.

Catalyst Trust’s Affordable Housing _ The Im/Possible Dream? forum takes place at Queenstown Memorial Hall, Wednesday, from 7-9.30pm. Admission $5 donation, registration by Monday.