The Government’s announcement this week that 34,000 new houses will be built on Crown land in Auckland over the next 10 years is to be applauded.
Harcourts CEO Chris Kennedy says it will make a difference to some of those struggling to find a home.
“That’s a good thing. However, if immigration remains at current levels – it is estimated 60,000 new residents made Auckland their home last year – the initiative will not solve the problem of demand far outstripping supply, and prices will remain high.”
In addition, Kennedy says, our woefully inadequate infrastructure, already stretched to its limit, will not be able to cope.
“Earlier this year I was asked to contribute my views to Auckland mayor Phil Goff’s taskforce established to address the housing crisis.
“My view then, as it is now, is that Auckland’s population growth needs to pause until infrastructure catches up with our city’s needs.”
Kennedy says he wants Auckland to grow and believes immigration is a vital component in making Auckland vibrant, cosmopolitan and economically successful.
Obviously, this requires more intensive and quality housing to cater for this growth, but the first priority has to be building the required infrastructure.
“Unless you do your commuting in the early hours of the morning, you are likely to find yourself stuck in traffic on a regular basis. The motorways are now even clogged on the weekends.
“And public transport is not an option for many Aucklanders. Buses are slow and the trains are unreliable and don’t service much of the city.
“A huge amount of work is required. It’s going to cost billions and take years.”
A pause in Auckland’s growth while we at least start catching up to where we need to be is vital. The alternative is a congested, sprawling city with pockets of hastily constructed and low quality houses, Kennedy says.