Combating the crisis – Special Housing Areas

A tool that has been introduced to combat the Auckland housing crisis is the designation of Special Housing Areas (SHA). SHAs provide an area where fast-track development of affordable housing can take place. The benefits to developers in SHAs include special consenting and approval process which aim to speed up development.

The result is a streamlined process aimed at getting houses built in these areas quickly and cheaply which assisted by:

  • the ability for applications for resource consent to be considered under provisions of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan;
  • reduced consenting and plan change timeframes;
  • the ability to process resource consents and plan changes concurrently;
  • limited notification provisions (with no public notification); and
  • limited appeal rights.

Yesterday the ninth of ten SHA announcements was made, with 14 new area revealed – totalling 120 SHA’s altogether so far. However the SHA’s, with the potential for 52,000 new homes, have been challenged for not being the silver bullet they purport to be. Opposition MP Phil Twyford points out that despite the massive potential yield of affordable housing only 500 have in fact been finished as a result of the scheme.

It remains to be seen whether the SHA’s will remedy the current turmoil in Auckland’s housing market – but what is clear is that it has to potential to present many opportunities for the construction sector in Auckland’s residential housing market.



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