by ROWENA OREJANA
AUCKLAND — Auckland diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission is asking the Auckland Council to double its provision for affordable housing in its new unitary plan.

Norman Elliot
The commission wants the planned affordable housing allocation
to be 20 per cent, not the current 10 per cent.
While there have been some developments towards easing housing supply in Auckland, the issue of affordability has not been
addressed and this a concern for the commission, spokesman Norman
Elliot said.
Mr Elliot chairs the commission’s Affordable Housing Committee.
“There might be more houses being built, more housing sites
made available, but the majority of them are still beyond the reach
of people with modest income,” Mr Elliot said.
“They can’t afford to buy their own home. And so at least if the
council makes it a requirement to include some affordable housing, it would be one more step to ease the problem initially,” he said.
Under the unitary plan, when a new development contains more
than 15 dwellings, at least 10 per cent must be affordable housing.
However, the unitary plan also said the fraction will be disregarded.
“That means out of the 15, only one would be an affordable house,” Mr Elliot said.
The average house price in Auckland is between $700,000 to
$750,000.
“This is way beyond the means of many families. The proportion of families able to own their own house is decreasing,” Mr Elliot said.
The committee also pointed out that the Auckland Council’s proposed requirement that those applying to buy into affordable housing must have one member of the household employed on at least a part-time basis is discriminatory.
In its submission, the committee said “many people working 20
hours a week on minimum wage have the same net income coming into their household as those on a benefit. It may be thought that
beneficiaries have better access to state rental housing than those
with an income from working. In the experience of the members
of the committee, that is not the case.”
Mr Elliot pointed out that affordable housing is enshrined in Catholic social teachings and in the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
The committee raised the same concerns about affordable housing with
Minister of Housing Nick Smith in a letter in December last year.
However, Mr Smith has yet to reply.
The minister’s private secretary, Amy Moorhead, the minister
is “extremely busy”.
“As I am sure you can appreciate, the Minister receives a great
deal of correspondence in his roles as Minister of Conservation,
Minister of Housing and as the MP for Nelson.
“The Minister prefers to respond to correspondence personally but,
due to his extremely busy schedule and ministerial responsibilities, it is not always possible to respond as quickly as may be anticipated,” she said.
“I can assure you that your correspondence has been placed before the Minister for his consideration and you may expect a reply in due course. I have marked Mr Elliot’s correspondence for his
urgent attention.”

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