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Red tape cut to boost housing supply

Red tape cut to boost housing supply

Posted October 19, 2021
Community , Business , Government

First home buyers are set to benefit from changes to planning rules being advanced by the Government and the National Party that will enable more medium density housing and cut red tape that acts as a barrier to development, according to Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods and Environment Minister David Parker.

Under the changes people will be able to build up to three homes of up to three storeys on most sites without the need for a resource consent. Currently district plans typically only allow for one home of up to two storeys.

“The housing crisis is a problem decades in the making that will take time to turn around. There is no silver bullet, but combined with other measures taken by this Government these changes will start to make a difference,” Megan Woods said.

“New Zealand’s housing shortage is being made worse in our biggest cities by limits on the number and types of houses that can be built. These changes will enable more homes that are attractive to first home buyers to be built in areas closer to their work, public transport and community facilities.

A cost-benefit analysis (CBA) on the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) found that 72,000 additional dwellings could be expected by 2043 as a result of implementing the intensification policies in tier 1 urban areas.

“The proposed medium density rules announced today are expected to add 48,200-105,500 dwellings on top of these figures, over the next five to eight years.” Megan Woods said

“The medium density residential standards (MDRS) will enable landowners to build up to three homes of up to three storeys on most sites up to 50% maximum coverage of the site without the need for a resource consent. Before this change, district plans would typically only allow for one home of up to two storeys,” Environment Minister David Parker said.

“There will be exemptions in the medium density rules in areas where intensification is inappropriate, such as where there is a high risk of natural hazards, or a site has heritage value.

“So more homes can be built quicker, in most cases the MDRS will have immediate legal effect as soon as plans are publicly notified by councils by August 2022,” David Parker said.

Changes will be also be made to the NPS-UD to clarify some of the intensification requirements and reduce red tape.

“We’re speeding up the implementation of the NPS-UD, so councils in greater Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch have their intensification policies and rules in place by August 2023, at least a year earlier than under current timelines,” David Parker said.

“A Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) Amendment Bill will be introduced shortly. Making these amendments, while we are undertaking reform of the resource management system, speaks to the urgency of fixing the housing crisis we inherited,” David Parker said.

“Working with National, on these changes delivers stable, enduring policy on urban density. This gives homeowners, councils, developers and investors certainty about enduring planning rules, Megan Woods said.

Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins said, “National has appreciated the opportunity to contribute constructively to this development process.

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

“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.

“The Green Party welcomes a multi-party approach to allowing more homes in walkable urban areas as part of what needs to be done to help address the housing crisis. But changing planning rules will not be a silver bullet by itself,” says Green Party urban development spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“Government needs to do more make sure we’re building low carbon, quality housing developments in the places we need them. Councils need more funding for public transport services, the ability to provide for parks, and significant tree protection.

“Central Government will also have to do more planning to ensure early childhood education centres, schools and other core public infrastructure is provided in inner suburbs as more homes go up.

“The next step from today’s announcement should be to develop a comprehensive plan that makes sure everyone has access to an affordable, dry, and warm home,” says Julie Anne Genter.

These changes will complement other initiatives we have underway to address the housing crisis including:

· $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund

· $460 million for housing and urban development shovel-ready projects

· $380 million for Māori housing

· tax changes and the urban development and infrastructure funding and financing legislation passed last year