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Plea for a collective approach on property

Media Statement
18 March 2008

Plea for a collective approach to give all New Zealanders a chance to own property

All Members of Parliament have been offered the chance to work with Property Council New Zealand to identify and remove the regulatory and compliance barriers that prevent young New Zealanders from owning property.

In a letter to all Members of Parliament, Connal Townsend, Chief Executive of Property Council New Zealand, said affordable property is critical to New Zealand competing in the global market place.

“Young New Zealanders aspire to own their own home, just as their parents and grandparents did. It is part of the kiwi tradition.

“However, it’s not just about purchasing your own home. The affordability of commercial property is also critical to New Zealand’s economic performance. Commercial property investment creates jobs. New Zealanders work in shopping centres, strip retail, office buildings, business parks, and warehouses – employment opportunities that are possible because of investment in commercial property.

“The problem confronting New Zealand is that the barrier to property ownership and investment has never been higher. Unless we address the issues of affordability, unnecessary compliance costs, and the regulatory barriers that cost time and money, building and owning a property in New Zealand will become a more difficult proposition for aspiring young New Zealanders,” Connal Townsend said.

Property Council New Zealand’s letter to all Members of Parliament raised questions about significant public policy issues that make property unnecessarily expensive, and which have not been dealt with through changes to existing legislation.

“Our parliamentarians have received the benefit of our advice, which is to address the fundamental problems that affect affordability. The solutions to the affordability crisis are quite apparent:

* Rein in territorial authorities that use development contributions to levy first-home buyers up to $40,000 in order to build and own their house or apartment. Introduce an appeals system that allows property owners to challenge price gouging by territorial authorities through the Environment Court;

* Change the Building Act 2004 to streamline the building consents and administration process;

* Overhaul city, district and regional planning boundaries provide for the orderly and co-ordinated development of greenfields land as the market requires it; and

* Overhaul district plans to provide for greater density and increased building heights within existing communities, in order to increase the supply and capacity of residential and commercial property.

“So far Parliament has been slow to act to address these and other issues that make buying and owning a property an unnecessarily expensive decision. It is time for Parliament to step up to the plate and make some changes to the way land development, building and construction is regulated in New Zealand.

“Property Council New Zealand is happy to work with all parliamentary parties that address the affordability crisis. We share a common concern about New Zealand losing competitive advantage in a global marketplace, and want to create incentives for skilled young New Zealanders to live, work and invest in this country,” Connal Townsend said.

ENDS

Please find attached a copy of the letter sent to all Members of Parliament last week.

About Property Council New Zealand

Property Council is New Zealand’s property voice. Property Council represents New Zealand's Commercial, Industrial, Retail, Property Funds and Multi Unit Residential Property owners, investors and managers.

Property Council has branches throughout the country and its members represent some of the largest commercial property portfolios in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Tauranga, the value of which exceeds $20 billion.

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