Developer blames Government for stagnating housing stock

Source: 1News

A high-profile developer has hit out at Kāinga Ora, claiming they are wasting taxpayer money and not increasing the housing stock.

An overhead view of a suburban neighbourhood.

Winton Property Development director Chris Meehan says millions in taxpayer dollars is being shelled out, but it doesn't increase housing stock because these houses would be built by developers anyway.

One example he points to is Ferncliffe Farm, a development on the outskirts of Tauranga. It will soon have 1000 houses and multiple developers tendered for it. But Kāinga Ora outbid them all.

"The Government has lots of its own land, why they feel the need to be in the private market outbidding private developers to buy more I honestly don't know," Meehan told 1News.

"You've got to let the private sector get on with it because that's how you get private housing in this country."

The price paid for Ferncliffe Farm is $70.4 million + GST according to a spokesperson for Housing Minister Megan Woods.

In a statement, the Housing Minister said Kāinga Ora can, "not pay more than five per cent above its valuations".

"This applies to the Tauranga purchase," Woods said.

She said this deal will include 200 affordable homes and 200 public houses.

National's Housing Spokesperson Nicola Willis told 1News: “That’s an extraordinary sum of money by any measure. Especially when others wanted to buy the land for less.

"The question is will the taxpayer get value for that money? It’s hard to imagine they will.”

Meehan said the Government is also holding up an Auckland development involving 5000 homes.

He applied for a fast track under the new Urban Development Act, but Kāinga Ora said no - it's meant to be for projects that would otherwise struggle.

"We're not asking them for one single red cent, so why not let us get on and do it?" Meehan said.

Kāinga Ora said this is a "well-funded developer seeking reduced timeframes and complexities", so they don't fit the criteria.

That ruling is now being appealed.