Housing Bill a step forward, with more to be done

The Housing Supply Bill is a win-win that will deliver more choices for future homeowners and renters while enhancing the ‘Right to Build’ for current property owners, says National’s Housing and Urban Development spokesperson Nicola Willis.

“New Zealand has the some of the most unaffordable housing in the world. The impact of our housing shortage reaches right across our communities, robbing too many of the aspiration of home-ownership, leaving thousands homeless and fuelling inequality. While these problems have built up under successive governments, addressing the root causes of our housing shortage has become more urgent than ever.

“National has long argued that land use restrictions and arcane planning rules have strangled new housing development. We have pressed for more permissive zoning rules to allow more dwellings to be built, both through intensification and greenfields development.

“We welcome the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill as a much-needed step forward.  It will make it easier for new dwellings to be added to existing sections in New Zealand’s major urban areas, increasing competition for buildable land, and reducing the complexity, cost and delays currently caused by the resource consenting process.

“Today National and Labour are coming together to to say an emphatic ‘yes’ to housing in our backyards.

“This legislation takes power away from town planners and gives it back to the people they serve. It will allow our cities to develop and grow, with a range of housing types to suit people at different stages of life.

“For too long the RMA has been weaponised against efforts to deliver more housing.  The medium-density zones and fast-track plan change mechanisms enabled by this Bill offer urgently needed relief. They mean fewer everyday homeowners will be held hostage by bureaucratic consenting processes when they look to develop new housing on their property.

“I hope that New Zealanders see today’s announcement as evidence of the constructive approach National is taking to the housing emergency.

“There is much more to do. National will keep pushing for the changes needed to address New Zealand’s housing challenges– improving infrastructure financing, boosting Build-to-Rent development, powering-up community housing providers, reversing property tax increases, improving the performance of Kāinga Ora and streamlining Building Act processes, to name a few.

“I thank Ministers Woods and Parker for engaging National to help develop these urgent RMA amendments.

“The Select Committee process will create an opportunity to hear feedback from builders, developers, local authorities, home owners and renters on how we can make this Bill better. This is a technical piece of legislation and it’s important we get it right.”