Emergency measures needed to accelerate housing supply

Housing statistics released today and over the weekend show an unfolding disaster for New Zealand families and communities, National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

“We now have the lowest rates of home-ownership we’ve seen in 70 years, the biggest social housing waiting list on record and record numbers of Kiwis turning to emergency housing.

“New Zealand’s housing problems are fast becoming a national emergency. Where is the urgency in the Government response?

“It’s time for emergency measures to get more houses built, like those used in Christchurch to rebuild the thousands of houses that were wiped-out by that disaster.”

The National Government at the time recognised emergency regulations needed to free up land and remove development constraints. As a result, new house building took off.

The surge in housing supply put a lid on affordability, with the ‘multiple’ between median incomes and median house prices stabilising in Christchurch for the period 2014-2020, while elsewhere cumbersome regulations resulted in housing become more unaffordable.

National is willing to work with the Government to develop immediate measures modelled on the Christchurch response by zoning more land for housing, over-riding the RMA appeals process and increasing leniency on the timing of provision of infrastructure.

“If we get the regulations right, developers will build at scale and pace,” Ms Willis says.

“We can’t afford to wait years for this Government to get on with Resource Management Act reform while house prices continue to rocket.

“Faced with an emergency of inter-generational proportions, action is required.”