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Street: Affordable Housing Bill

Hon Maryan Street
Minister for Housing

4 September 2008 Speech

Affordable Housing: Enabling Territorial Authorities Bill
Third Reading Speech

Notes prepared for Third Reading Speech of the Affordable Housing: Enabling Territorial Authorities Bill

Madam Speaker, I move that the Affordable Housing: Enabling Territorial Authorities Bill be now read a third time.
A careful and robust process has brought us to this point today to pass the Affordable Housing: Enabling Territorial Authorities Bill.

The purpose of the Bill is to “enable a territorial authority, in consultation with its community, to develop and adopt an affordable housing policy that requires a developer to provide an affordable housing contribution for low to moderate income households”.

The passing of the Bill will give territorial authorities new powers and a clear mandate for increasing the supply of affordable housing in their local area.

Territorial authorities will be able to require either some affordable housing to be built in new developments, or that developers contribute money or land towards affordable housing to be built elsewhere.

The use of the new powers in the Bill by territorial authorities will vary across the country, depending on the local need for affordable housing.

The Affordable Housing: Enabling Territorial Authorities Bill is enabling, rather than mandatory. Only those territorial authorities that choose to, need to develop an affordable housing policy.

If a territorial authority chooses to use the powers in the Bill, it will be required to undertake a housing needs assessment in its district or city. If this identifies a shortage of affordable housing in the area, then the territorial authority may develop an affordable housing policy.

The policy must be developed in consultation with the local community. The policy will state what is required of developments, how any contributions will be collected and used, and how any resulting housing will remain affordable in the long term.

The Bill directs Housing New Zealand Corporation to provide appropriate advice and information to territorial authorities for undertaking a housing needs assessment and developing an affordable housing policy.

The Bill includes a range of incentives that territorial authorities can offer to developers in facilitating the provision of affordable housing in a development. For example, the Bill allows territorial authorities to use development incentives to off-set the costs of providing affordable housing.

The Bill also voids covenants that are expressly designed to restrict the availability of affordable housing and social housing. These covenants unfairly discriminate against some of our most vulnerable people, such as older people and people who require assisted living.

The Bill consequentially amends four pieces of legislation:
• The Building Act 2004
• The Goods and Services Tax Act 1985
• The Housing Corporation Act 1974 and
• The Local Government Act 2002.

The select committee process has simplified the Bill and the changes have greatly improved the Bill and address submitters’ concerns regarding the overly complex and prescriptive nature of the Bill in its original form.
For example, the Bill is now aligned more closely with the processes in the Local Government Act 2002, and six separate clauses have been replaced with one simple clause regarding the process for developing and implementing affordable housing policies. The concerns of local government are now better reflected in the Bill.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of the select committee in assisting in this legislation being passed.
And finally, I’d like to thank all those who made submissions to the committee on the Bill.


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