Housing supply and special housing areas

Resource consenting in Special Housing Areas

Special Housing Areas (SHAs) have special consenting and approval processes to speed up development. These include proactive council pre-application processes, fast-tracked consenting and limited notification and appeals.

Special consenting processes mean we can make early use of the provisions of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. This is provided by Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas (HASHA) legislation.


Benefits of becoming a Special Housing Area

Becoming a SHA allows the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013 (HASHA) to be used to consider any application for a qualifying development and any associated infrastructure, replacing the provisions of the Resource Management Act.

Some of the benefits of the HASHA provisions include:

  • the ability to consider the application under the provisions of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan
  • streamlined consenting and plan change timeframes
    • 20 working days for non-notified applications
    • 70 working days for limited notified applications
    • 130 working days for plan changes
  • the ability to process resource consents and plan changes concurrently
  • limited notification provisions only, no public notification, and
  • limited appeal rights.

Demonstrate your proposal is a qualifying development

Once a site(s) has become a SHA, the subsequent development proposals within these areas must demonstrate that they are qualifying developments (section 14 of the HASHAA).

A qualifying development within a SHA must meet the following criteria:

  • Be predominantly residential.
  • Must not exceed the height controls of the HASHAA (6 storeys and 27m).
  • Contain not fewer than the prescribed number of dwellings specified within the Order of Council.
  • Contain not fewer than the prescribed number of affordable dwellings.

Please note that while any development is required to be predominately residential, non-residential uses are strongly encouraged. These may include the creation of employment opportunities, mixed use and walkable communities.

Application for resource consent for a qualifying development (PDF 790KB).

You can email the Development Programme Office team leading the SHAs, or contact us on 09 373 6292, if you have further enquiries.

The Housing Project Office (HPO) consenting team

Our approach is collaborative. The HPO has the employees from a wide range of disciplines, including planning, urban design, development, stormwater and subdivision engineers, and also from the council’s CCOs including Auckland Transport and Watercare.

Where we do not have in-house representation, e.g. the council’s parks unit, we have established relationships with key personal to assist in the process. We are a one-stop shop in every respect.

The way we work is to front-load any activity and thinking, as much as possible. This would start with a preliminary discussion in which we can tease out any potential issues and work with the applicant to address them. 

This initial meeting should give enough certainty and guidance to allow preliminary plans to be prepared for discussion at a formal pre-application meeting. This pre-application meeting should further refine the development proposal before any application is lodged.

At lodging, our aim is to have worked through the majority of the issues so that the consent processing stage is as straightforward and quick as possible. We aim for a streamlined consent process.

How we operate

The applicant will be assigned a lead project planner, who will be supported by an intermediate planner as required.

The lead planner’s role is to project manage the consent application through the entire process including consent processing, 223 and 224(c) and engineering approval. This continuity of service will provide:

  • one point of contact
  • increased visibility of your project as it progresses
  • proactive communication, and
  • minimise the chance of unsuccessful applications.

We will maintain close relationships with the council’s resource consent department, which may provide assistance at times on technical matters such as 223 and 224(c) sign offs, engineering approvals and building consent approvals. The lead planner will continue to be the applicant’s point of contact and manage this process for the applicant.

Special housing areas land use and infrastructure diagram.  

Our expectations

While we will try to make the process as simple as we can, we also have high expectations of all participants in this process which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Collaboration – we want to work together to achieve good quality outcomes.
  • Open and honest communication – it is important that we understand the applicant’s issues / imperatives / commercial constraints to inform our decision making. We want to be transparent in our thinking and to be able to have the hard conversations.
  • Good quality outcomes – The application needs to be of high quality and meet the aspirations of the Auckland Plan and the Notified Auckland Unitary Plan. We want developments that will act as exemplars to inform future developments and educate all parties.

Master planning

Planning is comprehensive, functional and long-term and seeks to achieve balanced socio-economic development, improvement in the quality of life, responsible management of natural resources and rational use of land.

Expressed in spatial terms, this is about ensuring site specific characteristics, such as topography, geology, ecology/landscape, heritage and cultural aspects, as well as development economics, agreements, and landowner negotiations, are optimally integrated with the following:

  • Urban forms, patterns of uses and their relationships/legibility 
  • Prosperity, choice and social equity 
  • Amenity and security 
  • Avoidance of the negative effects of human activities or their mitigation 
  • Creation of places that reflect character and are a platform for vibrant communities 
  • Integration and coordination of “hard” (such as roads, pipes etc) and “soft”  (such as parks, community facilities etc) infrastructure 
  • Providing certainty however being responsive to future changes 
  • Accessibility and mobility across all modes of transport.

Such spatial plans can exist at the sub-regional level, commonly known as structure plans and at a lower level that address specific local areas commonly known as masterplans.


How master planning is done 

The first stage of planning involves assessing current and historical information and any knowledge officers may have of a particular area. We do this through workshops with relevant council departments, our council-controlled organisations (CCOs) and relevant government ministries.

In this way various parties share relevant information of a site and can form an over-arching view of any development before engaging with the applicant. The HPO’s masterplanning team is modelling an integrated, one-stop-shop approach that considers the environmental, economic and social aspects of any development.

Discussion topics may include:

  • bus routes
  • rail crossings
  • open spaces
  • parking
  • heights
  • stormwater
  • planning and consenting.

This approach gives the applicant confidence that they have received feedback from all parts of the council and CCOs.


Plan variations in SHAs

A small number of SHAs will contain sections classified as ‘future urban zones’ in the PAUP. These areas are where residential development is currently not permitted.

If your proposed development is in one of these areas, the area will need to be rezoned and classified as either residential or business land. This is called a ‘plan variation’. Under normal circumstances this can be a lengthy process that takes years to complete.

However, as part of its remit, the HPO can fast-track plan variations provided certain criteria is met. This diagram shows how the process works:

Plan variation diagram (PDF 142KB)


Requirements for affordable houses

Developers have three options of ways to meet the affordability requirements.

For developments of 15 or more dwellings, developments must adhere to either:

  • criteria A, where 10 per cent of the development is relative affordable;or
  • criteria B, where 5 per cent of the development is retained affordable; or
  • a combination of criteria A and B.

Criteria A

A dwelling is classed as relative affordable if it will be sold for no more than 75 per cent of the Auckland region median house price. The median house price is that published by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand for the most recent full month of September, in relation to the relevant date.

To meet criteria A, 10 per cent of dwellings in a development of 15 or more dwellings must be relatively affordable.

Criteria B

A dwelling is classed as retained affordable if it will be sold at a price where the monthly mortgage payments (given the below assumptions) do not exceed 30 per cent of the Auckland median household income.

The Auckland median household income is which is published by Statistics New Zealand. Criteria B is based on the statistic published for the most recent June quarter before the relevant date*.

The assumptions for the house price defined within Criteria B are that:

  • the dwelling is purchased with a 10 per cent deposit
  • the balance of the purchase price is financed by a 30-year reducing loan, secured by a single mortgage over the property, at a mortgage interest rate equal to the most recent average two-year fixed rate. This interest rate used is that published most recently by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, in relation to the relevant date.

To meet criteria B, 5 per cent of dwellings in a development of 15 or more dwellings must be retained affordable.

Note: Council will consider proposals that may breach the price maximum provided the sale is to a registered community housing provider or Housing New Zealand Corporation. (This will require a subsequent amendment to the OiC).

Criteria A and B

A development of 15 or more dwellings meets affordability criteria A and B if it consists of retained affordable dwellings to the value of the number of relatively affordable dwellings it does not meet criteria A by.

Delivering dwellings in a mix of A & B criteria will meet the requirements on the basis that any dwellings that meet criteria B are the equivalent of 2 dwellings within criteria A.

Revelant date

The relevant date as stated within the OiC is the date that: a relevant Qualifying Development resource consent application or a request to vary the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan is made, whichever is the earliest.

Note: Council will consider proposals, in respect of larger developments, where the relevant date is the building consent date. (This will require a subsequent amendment to the OiC).

Purchaser eligibility requirements for affordable houses under criteria A

To be eligible, the purchaser must:

  • have a gross household income, as at the date of the declaration, that does not exceed 120 per cent of the Auckland median household income as set at the relevant date
  • have paid a price for the affordable dwelling which is not more than that defined in the Order in Council
  • intend to own and occupy the affordable dwelling exclusively as their residence for no less than three years after gaining title to the dwelling
  • be a first home buyer and never have owned any other real property
  • be a natural person purchasing the affordable dwelling in their own name and not in the name of any other person.

Purchaser eligibility requirements for affordable houses under criteria B

Purchasers in respect of criteria B must be a registered community housing provider or be Housing New Zealand Corporation.

For more on how to fulfil affordability requirements, feel free to contact the peak body for community housing providers, Community Housing Aotearoa.

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