The Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act has been
changed to enable the Government to enter into a Housing
Accord with Queenstown, which has the potential to increase
the supply of houses and reduce their cost in the Queenstown
The council will now work with the Government to draft an
accord and once finalised it would investigate ways to
increase the housing supply to meet the housing targets.
Various potential approaches will be investigated in the
Lakes district - those could include the creation of
''Special Housing Areas'' which would give developers an
alternative resource consenting process to that provided
under the Resource Management Act and could enable a faster
and less expensive consenting process.
Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith made the announcement
yesterday, following a meeting in Queenstown last month with
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden.
''Queenstown has a median house price of $664,000 and the
district is one of the five least-affordable housing areas in
the country,'' Dr Smith said.
''I am keen to explore how we can address these challenges
through a collaborative approach between the council and the
Ms van Uden said while the district area enjoyed
''spectacular growth'' it had come at a cost.
In the Lakes district, a mortgage repayment for a
median-priced house was 93.9% of the median weekly take-home
pay, she said.
''Approximately half of our property owners live outside the
district and our huge appeal as a destination creates an
affordability problem for the local community that the
council is committed to working with the Government to
The council had tried to address the issue several ways,
including establishing a community housing trust to provide
affordable houses to low and medium-income families and
changing the district plan which allowed the council to have
''favourable regard'' to developments which included
provision for residential dwellings for local workers as part
of a wider development.
However, there was still ''not enough residential land coming
into the market for development''.
''The mechanisms under this Act have the potential to
increase the housing supply and, in turn, reduce the cost of
The Housing Accords and Special Areas Act 2013 allows for
districts with significant housing affordability issues to be
scheduled, and for the local council and the Government to
subsequently enter into formal negotiation of a housing
The Government has already agreed accords with councils in
Auckland and Christchurch, and negotiations are under way in
Wellington and Bay of Plenty.
Dr Smith said ''good progress'' had been made under the
Auckland housing accord, which had a focus on fast-tracking
However, the housing issues in each area were different and
there was no ''one-size-fits-all'' approach.
''Queenstown is unique in the high number of homes that are
owned for holiday purposes and the high demand from people
working in the tourism and hospitality industries, who tend
to be on lower incomes.
"There is also little land close to the town centre that can
be easily developed for housing.
''These are some of the issues that will need to be carefully
considered,'' he said.