Local Government New Zealand says the announcement of the projects to be funded through the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund signals an important step in helping councils manage their growth.
The Government has announced the funding will be allocated across nine projects in five different council areas – Auckland, Hamilton, Waikato, Tauranga and Queenstown.
LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says fast growing councils face issues with funding the infrastructure needed to accommodate new residents, such as roads and essential drinking, waste and storm water infrastructure.
LGNZ has been calling for alternative funding mechanisms for some time so that councils can utilise options other than rates and debt to fund these new developments and Mr Yule says this additional debt funding allows some councils to meet the challenges they face.
For other councils further non-debt funding options are still required.
“One of the challenges growth councils face is around housing supply and the cost of funding infrastructure needed for development, and in many areas there have been questions about whether existing residents are able to afford to fund these developments through rates,” Mr Yule says.
“It also pays to remember it is not just growth councils that are dealing with complex infrastructure issues and LGNZ will continue to advocate for alternative options for local government funding. For many councils taking on more debt is not a viable option, but with costly water, roading and other infrastructure investment required around the country solutions will need to be found.”
Mr Yule says it is pleasing to see central and local government work together for the betterment of the whole country.
“The Housing Infrastructure Fund is a great contribution and will assist with the development of 60,000 houses over the next 10 years.”
LGNZ has been working with the Government on ways to improve infrastructure funding and looks forward to statements on further new funding options and tools for housing infrastructure.