AHURI - National Housing Conference 2017

With Minister Phil Twyford’s speech on the future of housing in New Zealand last Friday, it was timely for me to attend the biennial Australian National Housing Conference in Sydney, convened by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI).

The Conference saw over 1000 delegates and 150 speakers participating in 35 sessions across the three days. The speakers presented on some very topical issues, including:

  • Designing a National Housing Strategy for Canada: Lessons Learned
  • Innovative financing for affordable housing
  • Ready for growth: Building Australia’s affordable housing industry
  • Re-imagining the private rental sector
  • Build to Rent
  • Land use planning, value capture and density – the key to affordable housing supply

Some of the key take outs for me from the Conference were:

  • The issues facing New Zealand are not unique and other organisations around the world have made progress to address housing issues in their home countries. For example, from the Canadian experience, government funding of housing development requires housing and environmental, mixed use and accessibility outcomes.
  • There is no silver bullet for social and affordable housing. However an integrated approach to taxation, migration, policy and implementation is a good place to start.
  • High rates of skilled migration increases both density and sprawl in urban centres.
  • A high proportion of affordable housing and private housing can be delivered together, for example Hart’s Landing in Penrith which comprises 50% affordable housing and 50% private housing.
  • ‘Build to Rent’ schemes already exist in New Zealand at a smaller scale through student accommodation and boarding house projects.
  • New Zealand needs to ensure it’s wired into these international discussions to ensure that integrated fit for purpose solutions are delivered for housing the homeless, the elderly live with dignity, and future generations of Kiwis can afford to live the dream.

I’m delighted to have contributed to the AHURI Conference highlights video below.