In October 2016, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment announced a new $1B Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) available for high-growth Councils, including Hamilton.
These high-growth areas were invited to apply for a share of the 10 year interest free fund to bring forward the transport and water infrastructure required for new housing.
In March 2017, Hamilton City Council submitted three proposals; one for Peacocke Growth Cell, one for Rotokauri Growth Cell and one including both growth cells.
In July 2017, Prime Minister and Ministers Steven Joyce and Nick Smith announce the allocation of the $1B fund. Hamilton, along with Auckland, Waikato, Tauranga and Queenstown all have projects progressing to the next stage of the process (detailed businesses cases).
Hamilton's successful project is for the city's southernmost growth cell Peacocke.
The detailed business case, due to be completed this year, will look at the strategic, economic, commercial, financial and management aspects of developing the Peacocke growth area.
The financial case will thoroughly look into the effect the HIF will have on the Council's books and how the loan could be repaid, including any other, new or revised revenue options.
The Peacocke development proposal is for $272M made up of $182M from the HIF fund and a $90M subsidy from the NZ Transport Agency.
The Peacocke development will enable more than 3700 new houses over the next 10 years and 8100 in 30 years. To enable these houses to be built, the Council needs to invest in strategic infrastructure (eg main roads and pipes) so developers can link subdivisions to that infrastructure.
The Peacocke proposal includes building a new bridge over the Waikato River from Hillcrest to Peacocke, a number of key roads and installing main water, stormwater and wastewater pipe networks.
The Council is working closely with MBIE and the NZ Transport Agency to develop a detailed business case which is planned to include a chance for the public to provide feedback. The detailed business cases are due to be complete before the end of 2017.
The Council will also engage with developers to have signed agreements confirming funding contributions towards the cost of the bridge, roads and pipes, and plans for delivering the housing end of the project.
If the detailed business case is accepted by the Council and Government, the changes won't happen overnight. It will still be around five years or more until all the pipes are in the ground and roads are ready, including the bridge. The first round of section could be on the market by the end of 2018.
The timing of this project works in parallel to the Council's next 10 Year Plan for 2018 to 2028. The Council will have some hard decisions to make during their 10 Year Plan discussions about what projects have priority and the balance between funding growth and community amenity.
The HIF isn't a one-stop solution to the city's growth challenges, it's an option that would work alongside other ways the Council is managing housing demand.
Initiatives outside the HIF, supporting growth, include the Housing Accord, Future Proof, District Plan zoning, the Regulatory Effectiveness and Efficiency Programme and being part of the Upper North Island Strategic Alliance.
Click here to download a pdf version of the Peacocke map.
For more information about the Housing Infrastructure Fund, click here to visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's website.