Government's Auckland housing project moving at snail's pace

ONE News can reveal one of the Government's key projects to free up land for houses in Auckland is moving at a snail's pace.

Of the 500 hectares promised only 25 hectors have been secured and all the money so far allocated to the scheme has been spent Source: 1 NEWS

Just before last year's Budget, Housing Minister Nick Smith revealed plans to free up 500 hectares of surplus Crown land in Auckland to build houses on.

He was given $54 million to do that.

Nearly a year on and he's spent all that money – and told ONE News just 25 hectares of land has been secured.

Source: 1 NEWS

That's just five per cent of the promised land.

Labour's Phil Twyford says it shows the announcement was rushed and botched.

"This would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. Aucklanders desperately need houses to live in," Mr Twyford says.

Dr Smith says he could secure more than that with more money, so he's asked Finance Minister Bill English for more in next month's Budget.

Nick Smith speaks to ONE News. Source: 1 NEWS

Official documents also show officials suggested some of the surplus land that could be used included Government House in Auckland, Mangere Cemetry, schools and power substations.

"I've never seen this list, of all the properties I've looked at are sensible and will be used. The ideas from the opposition that the Government is going to have housing built on cemeteries, on power stations, built on Government House are simple mischief making," Dr Smith says.

But they were used for the basis of his announcement and Mr Twyford says he simply doesn't believe Dr Smith's claims.

Phil Twyford speaks to ONE News. Source: 1 NEWS

"It's classic Nick Smith, it's half baked, it's scrambled, he hasn't done his homework, it's a farce," Mr Twyford says.

Dr Smith promises he's still working on the project and hopes to make an announcement in coming weeks.

He says there is 500 hectares of land available and it will be developed – in the long term.