The Affordable housing Emergency
Waiheke is a strong, vibrant and diverse community. But it is under threat of gentrification and too many ghost homes, and since Airbnb, of worker and elder rental conversion to holiday rentals. Community efforts to address this, such as the Waiheke Community Housing Trust find their biggest obstacle is the very institution that should be enabling them: the council.
In breach of RMA Section 36AAA(3)(a), the council charged for the resource consent when the benefit is obtained by the community as a whole, not the applicant, which is a charitable trust. The cost of building consents skyrocketed and the system is overbooked. All of this contributes to creating the affordable housing emergency, about which the council is doing nothing – far more focused on its budget than its purpose. The years it takes and the lack of coordination by the several consenting departments is the opposite of enabling people and communities. It is exhausting and disheartening.
There is no proactive planning department in council to take ownership of public benefit projects, to identify immediate needs, cut the red tape and enable the community to get it done. Changing the district plan takes decades when solutions are required now and when they are changed, they have become so complex that expensive planning consultants (often former council planning officers) must be paid to write consent applications.
It is proposed that Auckland Council address the affordable housing crisis through what might be called a loophole. Don’t fight it, use it.