Mayoral candidate slams opponent's 'hands-off' approach to housing

By Will Trafford

Auckland mayoral candidate Efeso Collins has taken a swipe at his opposition while saying a council he leads will be ‘laser-focused’ on housing affordability.

“Too many Aucklanders don’t have access to good quality and affordable housing, while we have over 30,000 ghost houses dotted around our city,” Collins says

“If we continue as a council to remain on the sidelines for those locked out of affordable housing, then we will have abdicated our role as civic leaders and will undermine the ability to create a thriving city."

Collins concedes central government holds many of the biggest levers when it comes to enabling more efficient construction and urban development but says there’s plenty a council could do, slamming what he considered a hands-off approach by right-wing candidate Wayne Brown.

“I’m not sure whether Wayne’s worried about his own investments being affected or he just wants to starve suburbs like Northcote, Pukekohe, Avondale, Onehunga and Papatoetoe of much-needed revitalisation," Collins says.

“But whatever the reason - Aucklanders need a straight answer on whether he backs the type of chaotic, unplanned sprawl that characterised developments in Auckland’s past, or will he get clued up on the vital role council already plays in our housing market.”

Scale up partnerships

Collins says upon becoming mayor he would move to streamline house consents, and instruct the Council’s property and development arm, Eke Panuku, to scale up partnerships with the private sector, Kainga Ora, iwi and community housing providers.

“Councils in Queenstown, Nelson, in the Wellington region and Tauranga are all embarking on partnerships with Kainga Ora, iwi and community housing providers to increase the supply of affordable housing for their communities,” Collins says.

“There is no reason why Auckland Council shouldn’t be looking to also do the same.”

Collins says he will have an increased focus on urban planning and high-quality housing, and also work to remove backlogs in the approvals and inspections of new developments.

“Let's tackle housing affordability so we don't lock a generation out of the market,” Collins said.

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