Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Mayors’ bold ideas a big positive

Date: 17 February 2008-02-17 Media Statement

Mayors’ bold ideas a big positive says Minister

Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones says a series of bold ideas presented to him by the three Northland mayors at a forum in Whangarei last week (Thursday 14) has given him positive food for thought.

“It was a very good meeting, there were a lot of positives to come out, and we made a lot of headway towards creating flexibility and tackling regulatory costs,” Mr Jones said.

“The mayors and their staff certainly came up with some interesting if not radical suggestions and I will be reporting their views to the Prime Minister next month.”

Mayors Stan Semenoff (Whangarei), Wayne Brown (Far North) and Neil Tiller (Kaipara) told the Minister affordable housing was as much a concern for Territorial Authorities as it was for Central Government.

The mayors suggested:

• Scrapping funding for Building Research Association New Zealand (BRANZ) in favour of creating an insurance fund to compensate homeowners for building and construction failures
• Allow a single nationwide permit for large scale group house builders
• Allow flexibility in building permits to accommodate for minor changes to building plans.
• Focus on building houses, not on excessive paper documentation which increases bureaucracy and time costs.
• Greater flexibility in the DIY construction area.

Mr Jones said statements from mayors Brown and Semenoff last month that “gold-plated” building standards and consent procedures were part of the problem had attracted the Prime Minister’s attention as well as his own.

He was told that the leaky homes problem had resulted in total risk aversion in the building planning and consent process subsequently.

“The mayors said the North could come up with a New Zealand-wide solution, as it included a city, smaller towns and rural areas,” Mr Jones said.

Mayor Semenoff said the leaky homes issue was an unfortunate chapter in the building industry, resulting in the baby being thrown out with the bathwater as a result, and now it was time to bring logic and commonsense back into building standards.

“It’s no good looking to Auckland to solve the problem, the problem came from Auckland,” Mayor Brown told the Minister.

Mr Jones said he was delighted with the meeting’s proposals, as there needed to be more innovative responses to questions of the “liability problem” in the building industry.

“I give a commitment now that we will look into the insurance scheme proposed.

“We issue nationally about 56,000 residential building permits a year, 14 percent of them regarded as alterations, so why not explore using some of those fees to establish an insurance scheme?

“There are some hefty ideas here – and the proposal that large, group housing companies could virtually get an automatic building consent is a ‘biggy’.”

Mr Jones said the Prime Minister was looking for flexibility and simplicity in house building, and a large part of the report he would make to her in about four weeks’ time would be influenced by what the three mayors had told him.

“After the remarks made by Mr Brown and Mr Semenoff last month and what has come out of the discussion today, I am in no doubt that Northland was the right place to start my investigations of what my department can do toward making housing more affordable,” he said.

Mr Jones will be talking to other local authorities and industry groups over the next few weeks as he prepares his report.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>




Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>


Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>


Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>


(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>






Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election