The Prime Minister today announced a new $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to accelerate the supply of new housing where it’s needed most, Finance Minister Bill English and Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith say.
The contestable fund will be open to applications from councils in the highest growth areas – currently Christchurch, Queenstown, Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland.
Mr English says the Housing Infrastructure Fund will help bring forward the new roads and water infrastructure needed for new housing where financing is a constraint.
“The Government will invest up front to ensure the infrastructure is in place. But councils will have to repay the investment or buy back the assets once houses have been built and development contributions paid.”
Councils can already borrow money, of course. Unless they’re hitting their debt limits. So National could have just allowed high-growth councils to apply to exceed their debt limits for greenfields infrastructure development. But then the headlines about the announcement wouldn’t have been all like ‘National’s billion dollar solution to housing crisis!’
If the government put as much effort and ingenuity into doing something about housing as they put into their clever media strategies designed to be seen to be doing something, without really doing anything, then our homeless families would all be living in cheap eco-friendly replicas of Versailles by now.