Kāpiti Coast mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton says Statistics New Zealand’s latest residential building consent numbers highlight that the current Council has failed to take meaningful action on housing, took the strong residential consent numbers it inherited for granted, and how fresh leadership is now needed to treat the issue with the urgency it deserves.
Statistics New Zealand’s data on residential building consents to July 2019 shows they are continuing to fall in Kāpiti, now being 27 percent lower compared to the same 12 month period two years ago. Kāpiti’s residential building consent numbers look even worse when, over the same period, Horowhenua’s residential building consents have increased by nearly 30 percent.
“Right at the very moment when we need to see an increase in the number of houses in the pipeline to accommodate the growth being driven by Transmission Gully, our consent numbers are collapsing. It’s evidence of a Council that took previously strong housing growth for granted and has failed to take emerging housing issues seriously,” says Mr Compton.
“Last year, when the July 2018 residential building consent numbers showed a sharp drop of 17 percent over the same 12 month period, Mayor K Gurunathan was dismissive of concerns. That failure to take things seriously is now coming back to bite the Kāpiti Coast with increased demand and reduced supply forcing house prices up beyond the reach of many first home buyers and putting increasing pressure on the rental market too.
“We can’t stop people wanting to move to Kāpiti, and this head in the sand approach from Council where they’ve shown no urgency on housing means we’re behind the eight ball. Housing affordability and social housing shortages are quickly getting worse, and Transmission Gully hasn’t even opened to traffic yet.”
Mayor K Gurunathan has frequently mentioned his establishment of the Kāpiti Coast Communities Housing Taskforce as an achievement during his term, but Mr Compton says the reality is that the Mayor has been missing in action on housing.
“Despite the Kāpiti Coast Communities Housing Taskforce delivering comprehensive recommendations back in July 2017, these have largely been ignored for the past two years by Council. What’s more, the Mayor didn’t even turn up for the taskforce’s most recent public meeting where it was making important decisions about its future direction, focus, and structure.”
Mr Compton says the Council’s failure on housing is further illustrated by the fact they’re now scrambling to get another report delivered from an external consultant just weeks out from the election in an effort to make it look like they’ve done something. “It’s simply not good enough,” he says.
“What’s needed is real leadership, urgent action, and a Mayor who’ll take the housing crisis seriously. As Mayor, I’ll have a laser focus on addressing our housing issues, whether it’s fixing the problems people experience dealing with Council when trying to build a home, or fighting relentlessly to get the government to play their part in freeing up excess land and providing more affordable and social housing.”
More information on Gwynn Compton’s housing policy is available at: www.gwynncompton.co.nz/policies