High-growth councils have until 31 March to submit final proposals for a share of the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce and Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith say.

“Council constraints in financing the necessary infrastructure - the water supply, storm water, waste water and roading - can slow down the opening up of new housing areas, which is why the Government announced the Housing Infrastructure Fund last year,” Dr Smith says.

“Eligible councils have already given us an early indication of their interest, with indicative proposals in late 2016 amounting to $1.79 billion for infrastructure. Depending on which final proposals are supported, the Fund could potentially support about 50,000 new dwellings”.

Ministers have encouraged councils to be more ambitious in their final proposals.

“Only a small number of the 17 proposals received through the expressions of interest phase would result in projects being advanced earlier than previously planned by the councils,” Mr Joyce says.

“We want to see more ambitious projects that will have a greater positive impact on housing supply over the next five years.”

Dr Smith says the process for councils to secure funding has been undertaken in two steps to accommodate the local body elections late last year.

“This has enabled councils to ‘test drive’ and refine their ideas before the final proposal stage,” Dr Smith says.

“The final proposals will be assessed by an independent panel, with priority given to those initiatives that enable the most new housing. We expect to announce the final allocations later this year.

“The Housing Infrastructure Fund is part of the Government’s comprehensive plan to grow additional housing supply alongside Special Housing Areas, the new Auckland Unitary Plan, the National Policy Statement on Urban Development, reforms to the Resource Management Act, the Crown Land Programme and the HomeStart scheme. We have been successful in more than doubling the house build rate from 15,000 to more than 30,000 a year.

“This initiative on infrastructure funding is to ensure this strong growth in new house supply continues.”

Councils have until 31 March to submit final proposals. More information is available here.

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