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Queenstown housing accord gathers pace

Progress is being made in tackling Queenstown’s housing shortage, with the second monitoring report showing the local council has more than met its first-year consents target, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

Dr Smith and Queenstown Mayor Vanessa van Uden today released the second Queenstown-Lakes District Housing Accord monitoring report, which showed 557 dwelling and section consents were issued between October 2014 and September 2015 – 60 percent more than the target of 350.

Year two of the accord is also on track, with 399 consents already issued at the six-month point; the year two target is 450.

The Queenstown Lakes Housing Accord was agreed in October 2014 between the government and the council to address the district’s housing supply and affordability issues. The accord allows for the creation of special housing areas, in which qualifying developments can be streamlined and fast-tracked.

“We are making progress with nearly 1000 sections and homes consented in the first 18 months of the accord. The next step will be gaining approval for the five special housing areas recommended by the council. We need to keep the pace of new construction growing because demand for housing for workers supporting the booming tourism sector is exceeding supply,” Dr Smith says.

The consents include those for the area’s first special housing area, the 32 hectare Bridesdale Farm development, near Lake Hayes, which is expected to create 150 homes.

Queenstown Mayor Vanessa van Uden says the Queenstown Lakes District Council is making good progress towards achieving the government’s targets within the accord, despite the huge challenges that go with rapid population and economic growth.

“Halfway through year two, we’re significantly ahead of the targets set by the housing accord. There’s no silver bullet that will fix the housing problem in this district but the accord, along with incentives for faster development projects and enabling higher-density accommodation, will enable increased supply.”

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