Homebuyers need action, not political pondering

The Government’s admission that it’s considering forcing councils to open up more land for housing in the near future is the right idea, but New Zealanders need a Government that will take action rather than just think about it, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

“It’s nice to see the Environment Minister thinking out loud about bringing forward parts of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development. It’s an acknowledgement that my Member’s Bill to introduce emergency housing powers is the right approach.”

Ms Collins’ draft legislation would immediately require all urban councils to zone enough land for at least 30 years of housing development, effectively put in place emergency housing powers similar to those used in Canterbury following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

National’s plan would also help councils fund supporting infrastructure by providing a grant of $50,000 for every new dwelling consented over and above a historical average.

Further evidence of the need for swift action was seen in figures released today by REINZ, which showed house prices increased by $96,000 in the past two months alone.

“New Zealanders can’t wait another three years for the Government to do something about housing supply when house prices are jumping $12,000 a week,” Ms Collins says.

“With every passing day of Government inaction, the dream of home ownership is slipping further and further away from many New Zealanders.

“National’s plan would immediately short circuit the Resource Management Act and free up enough land for 30 years’ worth of housing development to get houses built quickly.”

National’s approach has already proven successful in Christchurch where a surge in housing supply following the earthquakes saw house prices increase by just 2.9 per cent annually, compared to 7.4 per cent across the rest of New Zealand, from July 2014 to March 2019.

“Christchurch is now the most affordable city in New Zealand to buy a house, which proves National’s plan will work.”

A copy of the Housing Emergency Response (Urgent Measures) Bill can be found here.

You can also read a Q&A on the Housing Emergency Response (Urgent Measures) Bill here.