Labor and National join forces to resolve housing crisis, ending decades of stalemate


Labor and National have joined forces behind a sweeping new housing policy, the Housing Supply Bill, which they say will help tackle the housing crisis by enabling 105,500 new homes to be built in less than a decade .

The government says the law will result in the construction of at least 48,200 and up to 105,500 new homes over the next five to eight years.

It would achieve this by allowing up to three houses of up to three stories to be built on most sites without the need for costly and frustrating resource consent.

Housing Minister Megan Woods and Environment Minister David Parker announced the changes, along with National Leader Judith Collins in a rare display of unity.

Woods said a PwC analysis said the government’s current intensification policy would mean an additional 72,000 homes could be expected by 2043 due to the implementation of intensification policies.

This estimate was now considered “conservative” and indicated that the number of 48,200 to 105,500 homes that should be built as a result of the bill would be in addition to the 72,000 homes already expected under the current density policy. of the government.

Collins claimed a victory for National.

“In January, I wrote to the Prime Minister proposing that the National and Labor work on a bipartite and urgent solution to the housing crisis,” said the national leader.

“As I said then, our resource consent process makes it too difficult to build more housing in New Zealand.”

Collins said that in April, she “introduced a bill that would have required local authorities to zone more space for new housing, dramatically reducing consent requirements for those wishing to build new housing, than this either by intensification or the development of new land “.

And in June, Parker and Woods wrote to National confirming “they saw merit in my proposal to increase the supply of residential housing.”

“They praised National’s contribution to the further development of the policy to enable a serious increase in the construction of new housing in urban areas,” she said.

National Housing spokeswoman Nicola Willis said the bill would strengthen the “right to build” of real estate owners, which would allow people who currently own land to build more homes on existing sections. .

“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 suitable for people at different stages of life,” a- she declared.

Parker said the new “Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) will allow landowners to build up to three homes of up to three stories on most sites up to a maximum 50% site coverage without need resource consent.

“Before this change, district plans generally only allowed one house with a maximum of two floors,” he said.

The bill will introduce parts of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development – a 2019 measure aimed at increasing the supply of housing in cities. Although widely applauded, the NPS-UD, as it is known, has been criticized for being slow to come into effect, with most measures coming into effect in 2024.

This will now be brought forward by at least a year – something National had urged the government to do since December of last year.

Parker said that by accelerating the implementation of the NPS-UD, “the councils of the great Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch have put in place their policies and rules of intensification by August 2023, at least one year earlier than the current timeframe “.

There would be some exceptions to the rules of average density, “in areas where densification is inappropriate, such as where there is a high risk of natural hazards, or a site has heritage value”.

Today’s announcement is important because it ends decades of deadlock on the housing crisis.

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