National has a policy that will address the root cause of the housing crisis – the supply deficit:
National is proposing an alternative solution to the housing shortage that will urgently address the country’s land supply problem and help councils fund supporting infrastructure.
- Judith Collins’ Emergency Response (Urgent Measures) Member’s Bill will put in place emergency powers similar to those used to speed up house building in Canterbury following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
- The new law would require all urban councils to immediately zone more land for housing – enough for at least 30 years of expected growth.
- Resource Management Act (RMA) appeals process would be limited to ensure these new district plans can be completed and put in place rapidly.
- $50,000 infrastructure grant would be provided to all local authorities (urban and rural) for every new dwelling they consent above their five-year historical average.
Across our country, a toxic mix of land use restrictions and consenting requirements severely limit the new land available for housing and how intensively existing residential zones can be developed. The result is that developers have limited options for where they can build new houses and face extensive costs, delays and legal hurdles when they embark on a new housing development.
Judith Collins has drafted a Member’s Bill that will go into the ballot this week. The draft legislation will effectively put in place emergency powers similar to those used to ramp up house building in Canterbury following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
The law change would also incentivise councils to lift their game by providing a grant of $50,000-per-house for every new dwelling consented over and above a historical average.
This streamlined mechanism for allocating the Government’s $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund would provide councils a simple tool for funding the infrastructure needed to support new housing, such as pipes, roads and public transport stops.
The time has come for an extraordinary solution to this unfolding emergency. We need to short circuit the faltering RMA to get more houses built. National acknowledges that under the current law even if councils want to make more space available for housing, they face multiple handbrakes. The RMA ties them into a knot of consultation requirements and infrastructure costs loom as a heavy burden.
Our Emergency Response (Urgent Measures) Bill gives councils permission – in fact it requires them – to say ‘yes’ to housing development and to get as much new housing built as they can as soon as is possible.
These RMA changes will expire after four years, reflecting the fact they are a temporary solution while more fundamental changes are made to New Zealand’s planning laws. Rural councils would not be compelled to rezone but could utilise the new powers if they wished.
National’s approach has a proven track record of success in Christchurch where the resulting surge in housing supply after the earthquakes saw affordability improve while it was deteriorating across the rest of the country.
House prices rose by 7.4 per cent annually across New Zealand from July 2014 to March 2019, but only rose by 2.9 per cent annually in Christchurch during that time.
Swift action is needed to help first-home buyers, with New Zealand’s housing market now the least affordable in the OECD.
Despite Labour’s big promises prior to the 2017 election, the median house price jumped from $530,000 to $780,000 between October 2017 and February 2021, a 47 per cent increase in just over three years.
National is the party of home ownership. We are committed to sensible solutions that will get more New Zealanders into their own home without hitting them with more taxes.
Judith Collins will be writing to all Members of Parliament to seek their support for her Emergency Response (Urgent Measures) Bill to go straight on to the Order Paper, rather than into the Member’s Ballot.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern could also do the right thing by New Zealanders by adopting this Member’s Bill as government legislation to help it become law faster.
The government has been tinkering with policies that try to restrict demand. They might raise a bit more money from taxes, but they won’t build more houses.
National’s policy isn’t tinkering. It’s addressing the shortage of supply by making building easier.
It worked in Christchurch, it would work again everywhere else if the government could get over its reluctance to accept good advice because it came from National.
This is too important an issue to put politics before people and the practical solution that will help house them.
You can read the whole Bill here.