Press Release – New Zealand Government
31 July 2013
Housing Accords Bill refined and progressed
Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith today welcomed the Social Services Committee report on the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill and the refinement of the legislation to make it more workable.
“This bill is crucial to tackling the barriers to the supply of housing and enabling young kiwi families to get into their own home. It will enable central and local government to work more closely together to get some real pace and momentum into building the thousands of additional homes needed in cities like Auckland. It is essential to delivering the 39,000 homes provided for in the Auckland Housing Accord,” Dr Smith says.
The bill allows for the creation of Special Housing Areas in both greenfield and brownfield areas suitable for residential development. Within these areas qualifying low rise developments will be able to be approved on a fast-tracked process which will see consents issued within six months for greenfield developments, as compared to the current average of three years, and three months for brownfield development, as compared to the current average of one year.
“The bill retains the reserve powers for government to directly establish special housing areas and approve residential developments. This measure will only be used as a last resort where we have been unable to reach an accord with a council or it has not performed and an accord has ended. I welcome the amendments to the bill that enables a dispute resolution process to be included in a housing accord,” he says.
“The other amendments to the bill clarify the definition of predominately residential, building heights and the timeframe for developments to be completed. It also provides greater detail on how districts and regions are scheduled as having housing supply and affordability issues.
“I am disappointed that opposition parties are not supporting this bill when all the research from the Productivity Commission, the Reserve Bank and the IMF on housing affordability shows that land supply must be addressed. The bill was overwhelmingly supported by submissions and their opposition shows they are not serious about being part of the solution to the challenges New Zealand faces over housing affordability and financial stability.
“This bill is an interim measure while the Government’s long-term work programme on housing affordability beds in. This includes reforming the Resource Management Act, our inquiry into building materials, work on infrastructure costs, review of development contributions and compliance costs, and investment in skills to improve productivity in the residential construction sector.
“The Government will be giving priority to progressing this bill through its final stages. My ambition is to have it in law in September.”