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Wed July 28 2021

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New Zealand launches fund to speed up housing

22 Jun New Zealand's government is set to start inviting applications for a fund offering access to money to build the pipes and roads needed for housing schemes.

Housing minister Megan Woods
Housing minister Megan Woods

The Infrastructure Acceleration Fund (HAF) will help create the basic infrastructure – such as roads and pipes - needed for housing schemes.

The government has made available the criteria for access to an initial NZ$1bn (£500m) of the NZ$3.8bn HAF, announced in March, and an invitation for expressions of interest will be released on 30th June.

Housing minister Megan Woods said: “This is a key milestone in our plan to accelerate the development of build-ready land to enable more homes to be built at pace and scale.

“The housing supply crisis is a problem decades in the making that will take time to turn around, but we are starting to make inroads on increasing supply and this fund will make a real difference to increasing the supply of housing by assisting in overcoming a key barrier to building – access to basic infrastructure.”

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Woods added that investment in infrastructure was identified by local councils and others as one of the key actions the government can take to increase the supply of housing in the short term. “The Infrastructure Acceleration Fund is designed to allocate funding to infrastructure projects that will unlock housing development in the short to medium-term,” she said. “It will jump-start housing developments by funding necessary services, like roads and pipes to homes, which are currently holding up development. This is about getting the most houses in the places across the country, where they are needed, happening as quickly as possible.”

She added: “It is available to councils, iwi [social units in Aotearoa Māori society] and developers to start pitching for infrastructure funding, with successful projects weighted toward bringing on multiple, affordable new homes quickly and in the right places; in urban centres as well as in the regions.”

Eligible projects include the new or upgrading of infrastructure for drinking water, waste water, sewage, roading, and flood management, which wholly or primarily enable the building of new and additional homes. Eligible costs include early stage feasibility studies, design, consenting and in some cases land costs.

“Not every application will be funded; we have weighted the fund to support projects that will deliver the most houses where they are most needed,” said Woods. “In order to bring on significant new supply we need to fund larger-scale projects in large urban areas, as well as smaller-scale projects outside of the main centres, where there is also a housing shortage.”

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