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Cosgrove: fine-tuning will enhance housing sector

Cosgrove: fine-tuning will enhance housing sector

Building Issues Minister Clayton Cosgrove says wide-ranging enhancements over the next three years will bring greater security throughout the housing sector, benefiting everyone from new homeowners, to tenants and landlords, to retirement village occupants.

"It's going to be a very busy time - and I'm looking forward to the challenges as Minister," Mr Cosgrove said on the release of the Department of Building and Housing's Briefing to the Incoming Minister today.

"The Department is only a year old - one body combining building-related activities previously spread across various government agencies. In that short time it has made strong progress towards streamlining the delivery of building and housing services to the public and ensuring an effective regulatory system."

Initiatives either under way or planned during the next three years include:

- improvements to the services provided to homeowners by the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service (WHRS), particularly in terms of speeding up assessment, mediation and adjudication processes

- a review of the Building Code, its first since 1992, taking into account sustainable development, energy efficiency, building quality and design issues

- the establishment of a Code of Practice and regulations relating to registration and dispute resolution for retirement villages

- a review of the Unit Titles Act that governs multi-unit building developments such as apartment blocks and office developments, to reflect the growing diversity and complexity of multi-unit developments

- ongoing implementation of the Building Act, particularly the licensing of building practitioners and the restriction of some work to licensed practitioners

- changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that governs landlords and tenants, to reflect changes in the structure and dynamics of the residential rental market in the past 20 years

- measures to improve consumer protection and confidence in building matters

- work with Housing New Zealand Corporation and the Ministry for the Environment to ensure that building and housing policies and regulations respond to trends in land use and urban design, and to better understand the implications of policies and regulations for the supply of affordable housing

- establishment of a new, voluntary product certification regime.

A well-performing building and housing sector is fundamental to any society, Mr Cosgrove said.

"The Department of Building and Housing has a strong base to move forward from, ensuring that people have access to quality housing, and that they - and property owners - have mechanisms available to them to right wrongs.

"There are some crucial developments in the building and housing sector and I'm looking forward to overseeing them as Minister and helping drive the Department's activities."

The Department's briefing to the Minister is available on its website at www.dbh.govt.nz

Mr Cosgrove is also the Minister of Statistics and Statistics New Zealand's Briefing to the Incoming Minister will be available online tomorrow at www.stats.govt.nz

ENDS


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