Leith Van Onselen I Macrobusiness | September 6, 2013
Yesterday, New Zealand’s parliament passed new laws to free-up land supply and remove planning bottlenecks in a move aimed squarely at improving housing affordability:
The Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today 63 votes to 56 and will come into effect Monday 16 September.
“This new law will deliver tens of thousands of new homes. The increased land supply will help take the pressure off the over-heated Auckland housing market and help the economic recovery. It will enable tens of thousands of kiwi families to realise the dream of owning their own home,” Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
“The game changer in this new law is the unblocking of the constipated planning system. It will enable plan changes and resource consents to be processed simultaneously. It will over-ride Auckland’s Metropolitan Urban Limit. It will enable low-rise greenfield developments to be consented in six months, when they previously took three years, and low-rise brownfield developments to be consented in three months, when they previously took a year.
“The Auckland Housing Accord will be the first to be recognised under this new Act. It will enable the Auckland Council to get on and consent the least contentious 39,000 homes of the 400,000 identified in its draft Unitary Plan, rather than waiting three years for it to become operative. The Government is also having discussions with other councils in high cost housing areas on how the tools in this law can assist in addressing the housing supply and affordability issues in their communities…
“The new initiatives in this law are just part of the Government’s substantive programme on housing affordability. We also have work underway to reduce infrastructure costs on sections, address the costs of building materials, improve productivity in the building industry, and reduce compliance costs. Our next phase of RMA reforms will require councils to plan for 10 years of land supply for housing…
“Parliament’s passage of this new housing law today is a vital step to getting momentum and pace into residential housing development. Next Tuesday I expect the Auckland Council to adopt their Housing Accord and to notify their draft Unitary Plan. This new law takes effect the following Monday enabling the first Special Housing Areas to be considered. My ambition is to have sufficient Special Housing Areas approved by Christmas for at least an additional 5,000 homes.”
While New Zealand’s National Government and Reserve Bank are taking concrete action to improve the functioning of the housing system, Australia’s authorities refuse to even acknowledge that there are problems.