Key: Commissioners could run Auckland if Council doesn't free up land
Prime Minister John Key has given a strong hint that the Government could go as far as appointing commissioners to run Auckland if the council refuses to free up more land for housing.
"Mark my words," he told reporters today after being asked about the possibilities for dealing with an uncooperative council.
Under increasing pressure to control New Zealand's housing market, the Government will soon introduce a National Policy Statement (NPS) which will require some councils to relax restrictions on where houses can be built.
In a post-Budget speech to a business audience in Auckland, Mr Key provided further detail about the NPS on urban development, which is expected "in a week or two".
The policy is mainly targeted at Auckland Council.
Mr Key said that if land prices in any region were going up too quickly, the local council would have to free up more land.
"If they don't do that, they will breach the law," Mr Key said.
The statement would include specific thresholds for growth which would trigger a requirement to allocate more land for residential development.
Mr Key would not reveal details about the thresholds, but Finance Minister Bill English has previously suggested that councils could be forced to act if the median house reached 10 times the median income.
While the sensible centre right continues to split the vote with multiple candidates leaving a Goff ‘more of same’ mayoralty looking increasingly likely, National may have no choice but to bring in commissioners to run the city.