National drives game-changing housing reform

National has worked constructively with the Government in support of a new Bill to amend the Resource Management Act to make it easier for New Zealanders to build more houses, says Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins.

“New Zealand is facing a housing emergency with a severe shortage of homes and runaway house price inflation driving increasing inequality and locking too many out of home ownership.

“In January, I wrote to the Prime Minister proposing that National and Labour work on a bipartisan and urgent solution to the housing crisis.

“As I said then, our resource consent process makes it too difficult to build more housing in New Zealand. I suggested a special Select Committee be established to develop emergency legislation to open up housing supply, in advance of longer-term reform of the RMA.

“In April, I presented a draft Bill that would have required  local authorities to zone more space for new housing, drastically cutting consent requirements for those wishing to build new dwellings whether through intensification or greenfields development. My Bill was based on proven measures National took in Canterbury following the earthquakes which led to a surge in house-building.

“In June, Ministers Megan Woods and David Parker wrote to National confirming they saw merit in my proposal to increase the supply of residential housing.  They welcomed National’s contribution to further development of policy to allow a serious uplift in new housing in urban areas. 

“National has appreciated the opportunity to contribute constructively to this development process.

“While Parliament is an adversarial place by nature, it is important that politics can be put aside in emergency situations – be it responding to terror attacks, getting the message out on vaccinations, or addressing our housing emergency.

“National sees the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill as a step forward. The changes it contains will allow New Zealanders to do more on their land without needing a resource consent, reducing the time, cost and complexity that too often greets those who want to build new dwellings.

“I see these measures as being consistent with National’s commitment to cutting red-tape, freeing-up options for where new dwellings can be built, enhancing the rights of property owners and effectively creating a ‘right to build’ in existing urban areas.

“It is important to note that nothing in the Bill forces people to build more density. This is simply about removing barriers that can get in the way of sensible development.

“I am pleased that in addition to measures supporting intensification the Bill will also allow local authorities to fast-track private-plan changes for new greenfields development.

“National believes Kiwis need a variety of choices when it comes to buying or building a home, whether it be a classic house and garden, a modern townhouse, or a granny-flat out the back of an existing dwelling. Choice is important.

“Today is truly a historic moment for New Zealand: a time when our two major political parties stepped up together to give Kiwis the Right to Build. It is a positive reflection on our democracy and our system of government that, when the time requires, National and Labour can work together to tackle the big issues facing New Zealand.”

“National welcomes a Select Committee process for this Bill, and looks forward to continuing to play our part in making this as a robust and helpful a piece of legislation as possible.”