New funds just a start

By: Phil Goff

July was another busy month for Auckland Council, with significant announcements made on housing and transport.

On July 11 I joined the Finance Minister, Steven Joyce to announce a new $300 million infrastructure investment for Auckland. Provided through the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), the investment will bring forward construction of 10,500 new homes in Whenuapai and Redhills.

Under the HIF millions will also be invested in transport infrastructure, including an extension to Fred Taylor Drive and Northside Drive, an update and realignment of Trig Road and a new bridge crossing to the West Harbour ferry terminal.

These upgrades will deliver benefits for commuters in the north-west of our city while driving whole-of-network improvements by reducing congestion, creating more transport choice and improving travel times.

July also saw the announcement of Crown Infrastructure Partners, a new infrastructure investment vehicle that will enable the construction of thousands of new homes in Auckland.

Earlier this year we took to Government the concept of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to fund infrastructure in a way that recognises constraints on further Council borrowing. Under this vehicle we have lodged proposals with Government that would enable us to bring forward construction of around 23,300 new homes in South and North Auckland, much earlier than would otherwise be possible.

The initial investment of $387 million in transport and water infrastructure in Drury South and West, Paerata and Pukekohe will enable the construction of 17,800 dwellings much earlier than would otherwise be the case.

A further major development will be around Wainui in North Auckland with $200 million in infrastructure funding required for an additional 5500 dwellings.

The new investment vehicle will provide capital from Government and the private sector which will not be debt on Council’s books. It will be funded through development contributions and infrastructure charges within the new housing developments.

Combined, the HIF and Crown Infrastructure Partners will deliver close to a billion dollars in new infrastructure spending for Auckland. The new investment speaks to the strong and constructive relationship between Council and Government and is a great start in tackling our city’s housing and transport challenges. But it is only a start.

More investment is needed to bring forward the important projects our city needs to keep pace with growth, and I will continue to engage with Government to ensure Auckland can build the infrastructure it needs to grow up and out.

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