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Winners and losers as $1b Kāinga Ora fund moves into final phase

Source: Stuff.co.nz, 6 May 2022

A large funding boost is just what some significant Wellington regional housing projects needed, but not all have made the cut.

Kāinga Ora this week announced 35 projects across the country had moved into the final stage of bids for a slice of the $1 billion Infrastructure Acceleration Fund.

Wellington City, Kāpiti Coast, Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt councils all had live applications accepted into the next phase of selection, but Porirua City missed out on its three applications.

The Government announced last year a $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund, with $1b set aside for investment in the likes of three waters infrastructure.

Upper Hutt City has been open about its proposal with Wellington Racing Club and developers to build around 1000 homes at Trentham Racecourse.

Mayor Wayne Guppy said they were pleased to get through to the next stage, but there was still a lot of work to be done.

Upper Hutt’s application included $10 million for a transport interchange near the development to improve access and safety.

They have also applied for a $2.43m water storage facility to boost capacity in that area of the city.

The Trentham Racecourse project was one of four projects submitted by council, which also included the Cannon Point/Totara Park, St Patrick’s Estate and Silverstream Forest housing developments.

Hutt City Council’s application accepted into the final stage was for stormwater and wastewater upgrades across the valley floor as part of the RiverLink project to intensify the CBD.

Kāpiti Coast District Council applied for funding to support developments of 200 or more houses in Ōtaki, Waikanae and Paraparaumu.

Strategic development director Darryn Grant confirmed their application was through to the negotiation stage of the process.

“This is positive news and we look forward to working with Kāinga Ora on the next steps,” he said.

Wellington City Council said it still had an application to the fund “but can't give details due to negotiations”.

Porirua City mayor Anita Baker said they were “hugely disappointed” their three applications were knocked back.

The council has big plans for housing development in its Northern Growth Area and it had an application to help develop critical infrastructure, such as water supplies, for proposed projects.

“It leaves council and developers having to come up with it, and certainly council doesn’t have that budgeted in the programme now.”

Wairarapa’s three councils did not apply to the fund for any projects.

More than 200 applications were received in the initial expressions of interest period, with more than $5 billion requested from the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund.

Kāinga Ora general manager commercial group Caroline McDowall said although final negotiations were yet to be completed, indications were that this funding could “unlock 25,000 to 35,000 dwellings”.

“This next stage ensures all parties are paying their fair share, and agrees conditions and development milestones.”

Of the 35 proposals through to be negotiated, almost a third were co-led with Māori or had Māori as key partners.