new auckland

Govt accelerates big Tamaki housing project

The Government will put a new organisation in charge of the house building in its big Tamaki regeneration project in Auckland's eastern suburbs to speed up the numbers of new homes being delivered.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford will marry two major housing ventures in what could be a model for large builds and regenerations of public and private housing districts around the country.

In the Tamaki project, almost all 2800 state houses in the suburbs of Glen Innes, Panmure and Point England are being replaced by a mix of 7500 new, pepper potted public and private homes over a two decade regeneration of the area. It is a unique project started under the previous government, which also re-fashions social services like job creation, health, welfare and education.

Twyford praised the social achievements of the Tamaki Regeneration Company but is impatient for more houses, with 300 being completed in the past few years, 600 to 700 in the pipeline and the rest planned for the almost two decades ahead.

In the past year, the minister told Newsroom, TRC had a goal of between 324 and 400 houses but "actually delivered 154".

"We want a change of pace. I want to see some serious progress on building new homes. That's important for Tamaki. No one wants to see lots of vacant sections standing around. That community needs warm, dry homes."

He believed the build could go from that 154 houses in the year to June 30 to a pace of 400 to 500 completed annually.

While the current completion time was up to 25 years, he hoped that could be condensed to between 10 and 15 from now.

To accelerate the construction, Twyford will put the Hobsonville Land Company, HLC, which led the large-scale build on land of the former defence base in northwest Auckland, in charge of the construction contract across Tamaki.

The Tamaki company - jointly owned by the Government and Auckland Council - would retain its management of current public housing tenancies and its responsibility for placemaking, recreating neighbourhoods and developing social initiatives with other public agencies. But HLC would handle land development.

Twyford said TRC's work had been positive in the social area. "I actually think TRC has become an incubator for some innovative ways of working with the local community that will be the example for how we can do these large scale regeneration projects.

"There's going to be a lot more with the establishment next year of the Urban Development Authority for 2020 onwards." 

The Government has announced suburb transformations in Porirua, Mt Roskill, Mangere, Northcote and Oranga.

But in Tamaki, "the numbers in terms of building new homes has not been as good as I want to see."

Twyford has appointed Evan Davies, chief executive of Todd Properties, to chair Tamaki Regeneration Ltd and believes the involvement of HLC will create a new masterplan for the construction. 

He said the new set-up needed to "handle with care" those currently in state houses which would be replaced, noting TRC had transformed the way the community was consulted and included compared with protests and strife in the early days of the Tamaki project.

HLC would run "the entire residential redevelopment process" - dealing with the private developers who would do the work to create new private and public homes on super-lots.

The company, a Housing New Zealand subsidiary, had demonstrated its capability to deliver big housing development. Its home base was a greenfields project - building on bare land - while Tamaki is a brownfields build involving moving established homes then regenerating the suburbs.

Twyford said Tamaki would include "a lot of Kiwibuild homes" and would look at increasing the proportion of affordable homes in current plans.

He was committed to a mixed development, and private homes were needed as part of it. Public land would still need to be sold for private housing to fund the redevelopment of the 2500 state houses in the suburbs and protect government finances from extra debt.

* Newsroom has run a series of articles on the project, with assistance from the Tamaki Regeneration Company:

Part one: Huge Tāmaki project starts to bear fruit

Part two: Tāmaki: Tapping into the wisdom of the crowd

Part three: Inside the new Tamaki

Part four: Finding four jobs a week

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