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Government takes controlling stake in Auckland redevelopment

Tuesday 24th July 2012

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The government and Auckland City are jointly investing $8.5 million in a new commercial entity to guide the plans to transform the lower socio-economic suburbs of Glen Innes and Panmure over the next 20 years.

Housing Minister Phil Heatley and Auckland mayor Len Brown have signed a heads of agreement to create the Tamaki Redevelopment Company, a facilitating entity in which the government will take a 59 percent share and Auckland City a 41 percent share, contributing $5 million and $3.5 million of establishment capital respectively.

The company follows a three-year consultation process in which a Tamaki Transformation Plan was created, with delivery of all elements of the vision estimated to cost around $1.9 billion over 20 years, and with potential to create as many as 45,000 jobs over a 30 year period.

The area involved covers the Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure districts, including the Tamaki campus of the University of Auckland and associated nearby new residential developments.

The plan gained early negative publicity when Housing New Zealand evicted tenants in state housing to make way for what the plan described as a "first stage mixed ownership redevelopment", in which old state houses were cleared for a mixture of new state housing and private owners.

The plan envisages the creation of "more mixed communities" to accelerate the economic prospects of the area, which is forecast to grow swiftly in coming years, being close to both the Auckland and Manukau city centres. Population is expected to double by 2046, the plan says.

Today's announcements contained no detail on how the proposed vision would be funded, or how private sector capital could be involved.

"The TRC will lead the transformation, undertaking some projects itself, procuring delivery of other projects, and influencing the direction of others," said Heatley, who last year suggested it could be New Zealand's first "urban development agency" and a blueprint for other urban redevelopment projects.

Its chief executive will be Debra Lawson has been chief executive at Queenstown Lakes District Council, a post she left two months shy of her three year contract, on June 30. Prior to that, she spent 20 years in urban redevelopment initiatives in the United Kingdom, particularly south London.

"She has worked at the leading edge of public private partnership initiatives, delivering large-scale and complex urban regeneration programmes within the diverse communities of South London, with a strong focus on accountability to local people," Heatley and Brown said in their joint statement.

An interim board is expected to be replaced with a combination of government, city council, local and private sector interests.

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