Vanessa van Uden
A meeting between Housing Minister Nick Smith and
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden on Friday to discuss a
proposed housing accord for the resort was another positive
step - but much remains to be done before any final decisions
Dr Smith and Ms van Uden discussed the district's scheduling
under the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013,
which aimed for the Government and council to work together
to improve supply and affordability.
Ms van Uden told the Otago Daily Times after the
meeting it was the ''first, initial discussion'' and while it
opened the door to explore opportunities in the district to
address affordability, the next step was for Queenstown Lakes
to be ''scheduled''.
''[Dr Smith] is going to go away and think about the
scheduling and then we [the council] have to come up with the
''It's got to get scheduled first and then we explore what
opportunities there are ... At the moment, it's just a
discussion to say we'd be interested in being scheduled and
starting the discussion.''
Scheduling was likely to take several months, she said.
Regardless of the proposed accord, Ms van Uden said it would
not detract from the work or commitment of the Queenstown
Lakes Community Housing Trust, established by the council in
2007 to manage and deliver affordable housing solutions to
The trust has completed a master plan development at Nerin
Square, Lake Hayes Estate, which assisted more than 45
households into shared home ownership and another four into
its pilot Rent Saver programme.
The trust is working on plans for future developments at
Shotover Country and Suffolk St, in Arrowtown.
''We've got a problem to solve in housing our people in
affordable, good houses, that are warm,'' Ms van Uden said.
''It is incumbent upon us to do whatever we can to make that
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand Queenstown spokesman
Kelvin Collins said any assistance given to address
affordability issues in Queenstown Lakes was ''positive for
At present, the median house price was $664,000, but those in
the market could ''buy a nice house'' for $450,000.
Part of the issue in the resort was the ''mindset''. People
had to stop viewing housing as a commodity and more as an
investment, he said.
A factor driving the price of housing up in Queenstown, and
Wanaka, was the absence of ''an old area of town'' where
people could purchase their first home at a cheaper price.
''Most areas have a south side of the railway line ... you
work your way up to a nicer house,'' Mr Collins said.
''All our old houses are sitting on good sections, so there's
a high land value.
''First-home buyers normally have to buy something quite new
... and expensive,'' he said.
''It's tough for them ... anything that assists people into
home ownership is positive.''