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Housing Summit report suggests fixes to Auckland's woes

Auckland needs less talk and more action to solve its housing problems, one strategist says.

An Auckland Housing Summit was held at the beginning of August, attended by property developers, lawyers, planners, architects, construction companies and council and government representatives.

Now a report of its findings has been released.

Leonie Freeman, who instigated the summit, said it was clear that action was needed.

Freeman is a former general manager of Housing New Zealand Corporation and a director of the Goodman Property Trust. She was also the founder of the website that is now realestate.co.nz.

"The ideas are not necessarily a lot of new stuff. With housing, there's no shortage of ideas of how to fix it but there's no plan, no organisation tasked to be responsibility to lead it.

"That's what this is all about. At the moment, everyone is acting in silos. There is a lot of work going on but it's all in silos and we're nowhere near reaching the targets or the outcomes needed."

She said the most important change that could be made to improve Auckland's housing situation was the establishment of a new organisation to take the lead.

Internationally, communities had achieved success when they developed small, not-for-profit entities that could co-ordinate the response and hold parties to account.

"The report is focused on trying to get momentum to act – at the moment it's all talk. Politicians are all talk and no one is showing leadership. It's politics, egos and housing is a political football. It's not solving anything," she said.

"From establishing a vision and strategic plan, to the delivery of finished houses, this new organisation would include existing industry players, agencies and the broader community. It would provide an essential co-ordination role aimed at filling the current gaps and removing the overlaps and inconsistencies."

The report also suggested foreign ownership rules be investigated with a view to requiring foreign investors to buy only new homes, tax breaks for angel investors, green or social housing bonds, importing prefabs, investigating the possibility of more density in public spaces and relocatable pods on temporary land.

Other suggestions included a target of 14,000 new houses every year for Auckland and steps to tackle the construction sector duopoly.

The next step was to share the findings from the report with all Aucklanders, Freeman said. "All input and feedback is welcomed as we tackle one of the most pressing issues of our time."

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