Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford has continued his streak of non-delivery with no infrastructure projects underway since calling for industry to come forward with shovel ready projects two months ago, National’s Economic Development spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“The Minister announced on 1 April he was on the hunt for shovel ready projects that could get underway as soon as people could get back to work as part of the Government’s plan to boost the economy post-Covid.
“But nearly two months later, nothing is happening.
“In Parliament today, the Minister couldn’t name any new projects the Government has set in motion since calling for industry to come forward with ideas.
“This is disappointing for the industry who are crying out for work to get underway.
“But it’s hardly surprising from the same Minister who couldn’t deliver KiwiBuild and has stalled indefinitely on light rail to Dominion Road.
“If Phil is bringing the same skill set he brought to housing to the economy then there is little hope for the construction industry who are desperate for confidence right now.
“National has a strong track record of delivering big ticket infrastructure projects like the Waterview Tunnel, the Roads of National Significance and Ultra-Fast Broadband.
“This Government has a track record of failing to deliver.”
The Government must explain why it is pushing ahead with reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act when just over a week ago it said this work was on hold, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“The Government is forcing people to make oral submissions this week via Zoom if they want to be heard.
“It is completely inappropriate to be progressing this non-essential legislation during a Level 4 lockdown when people are rightly focused on the national health crisis.
“What’s more, the Residential Tenancies Act has just been amended as part of the emergency Covid-19 law changes, and people need time to absorb those changes.
“Since we went into lockdown, the Government has been advising people that all business currently before select committee is suspended. That advice was still on the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s website on April 14.
“Despite that, people wanting to submit on the reforms received emails on April 7 giving them a day to declare whether they would take part in oral submissions via Zoom starting April 15.
“This is completely unacceptable and indefensible.”
The Government is using Parliament’s select committee process to sneak climate change provisions into the Resource Management Act, National’s RMA spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“A recently-released report by the Environment Select Committee recommends several changes to the Resource Management Amendment Bill, including provisions for climate change considerations in RMA decisions.
“These late changes are an abuse of the select committee process because they were made after public feedback was called for, meaning submitters have not had the opportunity to properly consider the new bill.
“The climate change considerations were not in the original bill, and it appears only some of the people who submitted were aware of them.
“The amended bill also gives submitters the right to cross-examine each other during RMA applications. This would significantly increase the time and cost of hearings.
“The Government’s expert review panel is likely to recommend significant reform when it reports back in May so it makes no sense to proceed with these changes now.
“Last week, Environment Minister David Parker said he was working on ways to improve the speed and certainty of consenting. This bill will have the opposite effect.”
Note: National is opposed to this bill. The Party’s view can be found on Pg.18 of the Select Committee’s final report here
It’s time for Housing Minister Megan Woods to either deliver a progressive home ownership scheme or admit it is yet another broken promise, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“Progressive home ownership is heading down the same road as KiwiBuild. We’ve got a new housing minister but the same old broken promises from this Government.
“Megan Woods committed to having a scheme like shared equity or rent-to-own in place in 2020, but in Parliament today she refused to say exactly when it will be up and running.
“The Government has had almost an entire term to sort this out but it hasn’t made any progress. It’s become clear the minister can’t deliver.
“This shows how ineffective not only Labour, but the Greens have been in Government given progressive home ownership was part of its confidence and supply agreement.
“For all the talk of solving the housing crisis, the problem is getting worse under this Government. The waiting list for public housing has increased to a staggering 14,869 households.
“The housing crisis is not going to be solved by a Government that talks a lot but keeps kicking tough decisions down the road.
“National supports progressive home ownership and will engage with more Community Housing Providers to deliver a scheme faster than this Government will.”
The Government is so haphazard on housing that the Minister of Finance wasn’t even aware Kāinga Ora has been spending millions buying houses out from under the nose of potential first-home buyers, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
Information supplied to the National Party by Housing Minister Megan Woods shows Kāinga Ora purchased five properties on Nelson St in Howick, Auckland for $4.8 million last year.
“The Finance Minister was red-faced at Select Committee today after being told this was happening on his watch,” Ms Collins says.
“How can this Government credibly claim to be looking out for first-home buyers when it is spending so much public money buying homes in Auckland before others can get a sniff?
“Rather than spending almost $5 million on just five houses to inflate its state housing portfolio, the Government should be building new houses elsewhere.
“I am aware of other houses in Auckland that have been purchased by Kāinga Ora at a cost of nearly a million per house.
“This Government cannot be trusted on housing. KiwiBuild has been a complete disaster while many of the state houses the Government claims to have built were either contracted or already under construction while the previous National Government was in power.
“It’s a tragedy that almost 15,000 families are waiting for state houses under this Government because of its inability to build houses and its meddling in the rental market.
“The previous National Government built more than 3200 state houses and left office with more than 27,000 homes in the development pipeline. If elected this year we will restart our good work by actually delivering on our policies and getting rid of the RMA.”
Momentum is building to reform the law around Unit Titles with almost 500 people lending their support to a petition calling for change, National’s Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye and Housing spokesperson Judith Collins say.
“In October, a group of property stakeholders launched a petition calling on the Government to urgently reform the Unit Titles Act 2010,” Ms Kaye says.
“This petition reflects good support for the Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Bill that Judith Collins and I launched more than a year ago,” Ms Kaye says.
The bill aims to:
- Improve the information disclosure regime to prospective buyers of units
- Strengthen the governance arrangements in relation to the body corporate, the entity responsible for the management and operation of a unit title complex (owner)
- Increase the professionalism and standards of body corporate managers
- Ensure planning and funding of long-term maintenance projects is adequate and proportionate to the size of the complex concerned
“This is particularly important for areas like Auckland Central where the numbers of multi-unit housing developments, and therefore unit titles, has increased dramatically over the past few years. It is my intention to hold a meeting of Body Corporate chairs and body corporate managers in Auckland central to discuss further steps to push for change,” Ms Kaye says.
“We have worked closely with a working group of leaders within the property sector on this bill. It’s widely accepted within the sector that the Act needs reform, and our bill addresses gaps that will make a huge difference.
“Unfortunately the Government hasn’t picked up the Bill. Public support is crucial to put pressure to ensure there are changes,” Ms Kaye says.
“The apartment sector is worth more than $50 billion and is continuing to grow,” Ms Collins says.
“It’s important we have robust laws in place for those who own, or want to buy, apartments.
“It’s encouraging that more than 500 people have already added their signatures, and I ask that anyone with an interest in better rules for apartments and body corporates does so before January 30,” Ms Collins says.
The petition can be found here.
National will scrap the KiwiBuild brand, stop wasting taxpayers’ money, and press ahead with initiatives that will actually put roofs over New Zealanders’ heads, Housing spokesperson Judith Collins and Social Housing spokesperson Simon O’Connor say.
“KiwiBuild is the biggest public policy failure in a generation. Smacking KiwiBuild stickers on houses actually makes them harder to sell, not easier,” Ms Collins says.
“When National left office we had more than 27,000 home in the development pipeline thanks to the work of HLC, which replaced rundown houses on large sections with three times the number of warm, dry homes. We will continue this good work if elected in 2020.
“National will continue to support those able to enter the private market through our KiwiSaver HomeStart grants of between $3000 and $5000 per person for purchasing an existing home or up to $10,000 for building or purchasing a new home.”
Mr O’Connor says National will better manage the Government’s financial investment in social housing assets to build more and improve the quality of our social housing stock.
“Labour should be ashamed of the fact its housing policies have seen the number of people waiting for state housing explode on its watch to almost 14,000 – it’s a national tragedy.
“National will right this wrong. We will prioritise our most vulnerable Kiwis and introduce a target to reduce the time it takes MSD to house Priority-A clients on the social housing register
“We will throw our weight behind the community housing sector, which wants to do more to help New Zealanders into homes but needs better support from government.
“This support may be in the form of rent-to-buy schemes, the development of housing bonds, shared equity schemes, underwriting the building of social housing by community housing providers, or a policy shift to allow housing providers to manage state homes.
“National is concerned about anti-social behaviours, such as violence and drug use, and is keen to make sure social housing is safe for everyone, including children.
“We will explore a Remind, Remedy, Remove system. This would see a housing provider given a warning (reminder) when poor behaviour is demonstrated; assistance to fix an issue (remedy); and in cases where a tenant refuses to change, they should be removed.
National is also considering:
- Introducing a dollar-for-dollar scheme with homeless shelters to either improve or expand their facilities and services
- Extending Housing First to help people off the streets and into stable housing, including those with mental health issues.
“National built well over 3000 state homes during our previous term in government. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and deliver for New Zealanders again if elected in 2020.”
Our Discussion Documents can be found HERE
National will repeal and replace the Resource Management Act, and reform New Zealand’s planning rules if elected in 2020, Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“The RMA has failed in its duty to protect the environment and allow our infrastructure to grow. There is now widespread support for reforming how we manage our resources.
“The dream of home ownership is drifting further away in this country as the sight of hammers on building sites is replaced with people filling out forms and paying consultants.
“A National-led Government will replace the RMA with transitional legislation as we work towards getting a new development-friendly law in place that is efficient and predictable.
“The building and construction sector once exemplified the best ‘can-do’ spirit of New Zealand, but this has been ground out of people by planning rules and their application.
“It’s near impossible to get a resource consent within the statutory deadline of 20 working days. The cost of consenting can quickly run into the tens of thousands with council processing fees on top of planning consultants charging hundreds of dollars per hour.
“The RMA has become a foil for anti-competitive behaviour, whether it’s a supermarket chain spending years preventing a competitor from setting up business or a property developer using their privileged position to prevent houses being built nearby.
“National has worked with interest groups that are looking at solutions to the RMA’s failures. The work of the Environmental Defence Society, EMA, Planning Council, Business New Zealand, Infrastructure New Zealand and others feature prominently in the alternatives we present in our Building NZ discussion document.
“National has the political will to take on RMA reform because we believe our complicated planning rules are largely to blame for the unaffordability of houses and urban land.”
Our Discussion Documents can be found HERE
A group of property stakeholders have launched a petition urging the Government to urgently reform the Unit Titles Act, reaffirming support for the Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, launched a year ago by National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins and Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye.
“Today the Fix the Law for Apartments and Units (FLAU) group has launched a petition in the name of Charles Levin, calling on the government to urgently amend the Unit Titles Act,” Nikki Kaye says.
“Two years and one Housing Minister later, and there has still been no action from the Government in reforming the apartment sector worth more than $50 billion,” Judith Collins says.
“The Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Bill would strengthen the management of apartments and townhouses and address issues around a lack of transparency and inadequate long term planning.
“We must reduce homeowner disputes in multi-unit dwellings and help facilitate their resolution. For most people their home is the largest asset they have so when things go wrong there can be devastating and life-long impacts.
“The Bill aims to improve the information disclosure regime to prospective buyers of units and strengthen the governance arrangements in relation to the body corporate. It would increase the professionalism and standards of body corporate managers and ensure planning and funding of long-term maintenance projects is adequate and proportionate to the size of the complex concerned,” Judith Collins says.
“After discussions with apartment owners, property and legal organisations including body corporate chairs we know there is huge support for law reform in this area,” Nikki Kaye says.
“I would urge people to sign the petition and show their support for this rapidly growing yet poorly regulated sector.”
It’s worrying that two years into the Labour Government’s term, there are still a dozen areas where the KiwiBuild programme is considered to be high risk, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
KiwiBuild’s latest risk register, released under the Official Information Act, shows 12 areas with a high risk rating. The main areas of concern are the programme’s resourcing, its procurement processes, the quality of its investment decisions, and its ability to deliver.
“It didn’t take Labour long to raise the white flag with KiwiBuild, but the red flags that continue to fly over its housing programme should be of greater concern,” Ms Collins says.
“A dozen high risks would be concerning if KiwiBuild had just launched, but to still have so many after two years in Government and a nine-month reset speaks volumes about how incompetent Labour has been since day one.
“KiwiBuild has been in development, supposedly, since Annette King dreamed it up in the backseat of a car in 2012. Labour has had plenty of time to address these problems.
“New Housing Minister Megan Woods has shown she’s pretty good at apologising for Phil Twyford’s mistakes. She now needs to show what she will do to safeguard the hundreds of millions in taxpayer cash that’s been risked on underwriting KiwiBuild houses.”