Hive News Thursday: Leonie Freeman launches independent peak group to tackle Auckland housing crisis

Residents' cars and a relocatable outside a South Auckland home. Copyright Lynn Grieveson / Hive News

Former Housing NZ Development Manager and current Goodman Property director Leonie Freeman yesterday launched a not-for-profit group aimed at setting some agreed targets to tackle Auckland's housing supply crisis and coordinating the various public, private and community efforts to solve it.

Freeman launched a website called thehomepage.nz and spoke at a joint Community Housing Aotearoa-Philanthropy NZ conference in Auckland about the need for a peak body that used the 'Collective Impact Methodology' applied in other cities to deal with housing crises.

She published this document detailing how such groups have operated in other cities such as Chicago, Canada's Brandon City and Hamilton to pull together disparate groups to achieve a specific goal.

Freeman referred in particular to the success of The People's Project in Hamilton, which was a similar not-for-profit peak body set up by Wise Group joint CEO Julie Nelson in 2014 with the specific aim of ending homelessness in Hamilton by 2016. Here's some useful background on The People's Project on its website.

"Enough is enough," Freeman said in launching the body, which was described as "Housing Connect" in its vision document.

"We can’t wait any longer. We need to fix Auckland’s housing issues now by connecting what currently look like the scattered pieces of a jigsaw," she said.

Freeman proposed the peak body should target the building of 125,000 new homes in Auckland in the next 8 years, with half of them being affordable. She said in this useful interview with Kathryn Ryan that scale of house building would require building at a rate two-and-a-half times faster than seen over the last decade.

Eventually, Auckland should look to build 420,000 houses by 2045 for up to million people, which is in line with the potential identified by the Independent Hearings Panel in its new Unitary Plan, which was notified by the Auckland Council earlier this month. She said Auckland should aim for a 65% home ownership rate by 2025, including for Maori and Pacifica, with 95% of homes categorised as warm, safe and dry, along with 3,000 new social houses by 2018. Auckland could target the end of homelessness by 2022.

She suggested the creation of small peak body with around 10 staff to coordinate a vision and the various interest groups, which could include a group of stakeholders known as 'The Auckland 100'

"We need everybody in the boat. We need the government, we need the council, we need the private sector, we need the community housing providers, we need iwi, we need the finance community," Freeman said.

"And we need to start the conversation around how do we solve this massive Auckland housing issue instead of going round and round about the problem."

The organisation would be a not-for-profit with a Governance board and small executive, she said.

In other economic and financial news...

Statistics New Zealand reported international tourism spending rose 19.6 % to a record high NZ$14.5 billion in the year to March 30. Domestic tourism spending rose 7.4% to NZ$20.2 billion. However, there is still some catching up to do for tourism as a share of the economy. It is still only 10% of GDP, down from 11% in 2003.

Bill English and Steven Joyce are leading a delegation of New Zealand CEOs to the annual Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF) in Sydney today. English is due to speak at an event tonight.

Nick Smith was busy yesterday signing an agreement with Ockham Residential for a 100-home development in New North Road, Mt Albert as part of the Crown Land Housing Programme. He also announced that earthworks were set to begin on a 196 home site at Massey East, which is being managed by Fletcher Residential with Ngati Whatua Orakei.

Have a great day

cheers

Bernard