The Government is extending the successful Crown Land Programme to Queenstown, Social Housing Minister Amy Adams announced today.
“As it grows, Queenstown is facing challenges with housing supply. The average house price is the highest in the country at over a million dollars. While demand is high, businesses are struggling to attract and retain staff, which is affecting the local economy,” says Ms Adams.
“Increasing the land available for housing will help rebalance the market, which is why the Government is focused on bringing more surplus Crown land into the market.
“We want to explore vacant or underutilised Crown land within walking distance to Queenstown’s town centre that can be developed into social, affordable and market housing.”
“The Government is exploring vacant Crown sites around Queenstown. MBIE officials are working closely with the Ministry of Education in respect of the potential acquisition of the old Wakatipu High School site.”
The Crown Land Programme casts an eye over land that had been previously set aside for future public facilities, such as roads or schools, to see if it can be used for housing. It helps increase housing supply, accelerates construction and helps build social and affordable housing.
“Through this programme, 400 new houses have been built in Christchurch and another 2700 are being built in Auckland on Crown land. In Budget 2017, we invested an additional $100 million to extend the programme to areas outside of Auckland,” says Ms Adams.
“Under the programme as a whole, the Government has committed at least 20 per cent of the homes being available for social housing and a further 20 per cent priced as affordable – defined as no more than the KiwiSaver HomeStart cap – although the exact configuration will vary from site to site,” Ms Adams says.
A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed today between the Crown and Ngāi Tahu Property to explore options to develop vacant or under-utilised parcels of Crown land in Queenstown for housing developments.
“Both the Government and Ngāi Tahu Property have strong interests in creating quality housing to build stronger communities and ensuring new developments reflect local needs,” says Ms Adams.
“Before any Crown land in Queenstown can be sold for housing, it is subject to a right of first refusal in favour of Ngāi Tahu under the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998. It therefore makes sense for us to partner with them early in the process.”