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Government and Labour wish to abolish Auckland boundary to ease housing crisis

The Government and Labour Party appear to agree on at least one policy, they both want Auckland's urban growth boundary scrapped as the city struggles to find solutions to the housing crisis.

Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford says the boundary creates an artificial scarcity of land and drives up the cost of sections.

"Land inside the boundary is up to 10 times more valuable than rural land," he said.

"It is not enough for the council to progressively add more land zoned for development here and there. That just feeds the speculation that is an inevitable result of having the boundary.

"It creates an artificial scarcity of land on one side of the boundary land is really cheap, on the other side it's really expensive, that's a magnet for the land bankers and speculators who are making a killing off the back of generation rent."

Finance Minister Bill English said: "It's a pretty clear signal to Auckland Council when your plan turns up in six weeks time it needs to demonstrate it enables enough supply and Mr Twyford's statement shows to them there is a strong palriamentary majority for a plan to build more houses."

Labour is backing more intensive spatial planning of Auckland's growth areas in the north, north-west and south.

That means properly integrating land use with transport and infrastructure planning.

"Land of special value can be set aside, like the northern coastal strip or Pukekohe's horticultural soils," Mr Twyford said.

"Corridors should be acquired and future networks mapped for transport and other infrastructure."

But growth on the city fringes should go hand-in-hand with allowing higher density housing - like flats and low-rise apartments - in the city, particularly around town centres and transport routes.

Labour wants central government to be able to have a say on density controls, particularly on behalf of young people who are locked out of home ownership.

Housing density has been a contentious issue for Auckland Council, which has faced stiff opposition from some community groups and property owners over plans to increase housing density in some suburbs.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown did not wish to comment as the Auckland Council goes through the unitary plan process.

Both the Government and Labour are sending the same message to Auckland town planners. Source: 1 NEWS