Evaluating the Economic Effects of a Residential Housing Development

The Situation

A private property developer, the Proprietors of Hauhungaroa No 6, sought to establish a new residential housing development in Whareroa, a small settlement on the western shores of New Zealand’s Lake Taupo. To do so, the Proprietors required the land to be rezoned from its existing rural zoning to residential zoning. They applied to the Taupo District Council for this rezoning. An independent hearings panel was appointed under the Resource Management Act 1991 to assess the application.    

NERA's Role

NERA Associate Director Kevin Counsell, was engaged by the Proprietors to provide expert evidence before the hearings panel.    Mr. Counsell provided evidence on the likely demand for residential sections within the proposed development, and the extent of any future shortfall in sections that this demand could meet. Mr. Counsell also identified and assessed the economic benefits and costs of the development, including those to buyers, the developer, and the broader local community. Part of Mr. Counsell’s role included reviewing and commenting on the evidence of an expert economic witness for the Taupo District Council.

The Result

The hearings panel found in favour of the Proprietors, approving the residential rezoning of the land. The panel preferred Mr. Counsell’s economic evidence that there would be demand for sections in the development, and agreed with his view that the development would result in a net economic benefit to the Taupo District.