At least four significant housing infrastructure projects in the Waikato have been asked to submit more detailed applications for the government’s $1 billion Infrastructure Acceleration Fund.
Successful applicants include Hamilton City Council, with two projects accepted to the next stage – a $331.5 million central city bid and $18.4 million in Rototuna North. The central city project will help Hamilton to build up as well as out in response to a government directive that high-growth cities like Hamilton allow for greater height and denser housing.
If successful, the funding will help unlock the central city for more inner-city housing, including high-rise apartments and mixed-use developments, that are supported by the appropriate infrastructure, amenities and services. The Rototuna North bid, in partnership with developers, will enable 900 new homes to be built in the area with as many as 370 delivered in the next four years.
The city’s Rotokauri Stage 1 bid has been put on a reserve list which may see it elevated to the next stage at a later date. The Ruakura-Enderley/Fairfield, Rotokauri Stage 2 and Peacocke South bids for funding were unsuccessful.
Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate said the inability of councils, nationwide, to fund critical infrastructure was a massive contributor to the current housing crisis along with increasing rates.
“Nationwide, we simply cannot build more housing without the pipes, the roads, the power….all those things are fundamental building blocks. But there is a frightening gap between the infrastructure that we need, and what ratepayers can afford under the current model.”
Waikato Housing Initiative co-chair Nic Greene says today’s Government announcement is a key milestone that will bring the region one step closer to increasing the region’s housing stock.
“The Waikato Housing Initiative, in collaboration with the Waikato Mayoral Forum, which represents our region’s 12 councils, has been working with government to shine the light on the region’s housing needs.
“It’s an incredible milestone to see several Waikato housing projects make it through to the next stages of the government’s $3.5 billion Infrastructure Acceleration Fund.”
Greene says only 10 percent of the region’s new housing stock is classed as affordable and the Waikato Housing Initiative aims to increase this figure to 20 percent by 2026.
An umbrella organisation formed by the Waikato Plan, the initiative provides a platform for collaboration and co-ordination across regional councils, funders and housing developers to develop solutions to the region’s greatest housing needs.
“The Waikato region is the fourth most populous region in New Zealand, yet we have the second highest social housing register with around 2,600 applicants currently waiting for affordable housing.
“Despite housing consents in the region hitting a high of around 4,900 last year, Waikato still has major affordability challenges. That’s because the region’s housing crisis does not lie in the singular solution of just building more houses. Rather, the issue lies in building more of the right type of houses – including affordable houses – in the right places.” When Minister for Housing, Megan Woods visited the region in August, the Waikato region worked together to make a collaborative pitch demonstrating how government investment into the region’s affordable housing projects will be leveraged with local investment to unlock greater affordable housing outcomes. A stocktake report compiled by the Waikato Housing Initiative shows a regional need for over 75,000 affordable houses over the next 25 years.
“Kainga Ora housing projects will only account for around 5 percent of new housing stock over this period, so a collective effort by regional leaders is required to make a real impact for our
While the housing challenge in Waikato is a daunting one, Greene says, with collaboration and coordination, the region is starting to get some momentum.
“The Waikato Housing Initiative has worked for four years to champion solutions for the region’s housing challenges.
“The government’s Infrastructure Acceleration Fund announcement proves that coordination and collaboration between the region’s councils, philanthropic organisations, developers and other key organisations is making a difference.”