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Rethink needed on Auckland spatial plan

The Productivity Commission is recommending a reconsideration of Auckland’s draft spatial plan as part of a report into housing affordability.

The Productivity Commission is recommending a reconsideration of Auckland’s draft spatial plan as part of a report into housing affordability.

Auckland faces significant housing affordability challenges and the Commission found its current plan, with a target of accommodating 75 percent of new homes within existing urban boundaries, will be difficult to reconcile with affordable housing.

Land prices now account for up to 60 percent of the cost of a house in Auckland.

“That means new homes tend to be at the top-end of the market. No one is going to put a $150,000 home on a $300,000 section,” said chairman Murray Sherwin.

The cost of building materials and house construction is also high in New Zealand compared to Australia, and the sector’s productivity is flat-lining.

But the population is swelling; projections are for around 400,000 new households over the next 20 years, with half of these in Auckland.

“We think it’s important to make urgent changes to accommodate what’s coming down the line," Sherwin said.