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Legislation For Housing Accords, Land Supply

Legislation For Housing Accords, Land Supply

Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister of Housing

16 May 2013

Special legislation to enable councils and the Government to streamline new housing developments in areas where housing is least affordable will be introduced to Parliament today.

“Council decisions can affect the entire economy by increasing house prices, driving up rents, and putting increased pressure on family budgets,” Housing Minister Nick Smith says.

“Housing supply constraints are causing widespread concern about financial stability, with potentially negative impacts on interest rates and the exchange rate.

“The Government’s first preference is to partner with councils to improve housing affordability.”

The legislation will apply for three years and allows special housing areas to be designated under accords between the Government and councils. Council approvals for new housing in those areas can then be managed under a streamlined process.

The first accord has been agreed with the Auckland Council and the first special housing areas are expected to be designated later this year.

“The developments need to be predominantly residential, in greenfields or brownfields areas adequately supported by infrastructure, limited to low-rise construction, and in areas of high housing demand,” Dr Smith says.

“If an accord cannot be reached in an area of severe housing unaffordability, the Government can intervene by establishing special housing areas and issuing consents for developments.”

Budget 2013 includes $7.2 million over four years to help the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment fund the initiative.

The legislation will go through its first reading as part of Budget 2013 before being sent to a select committee for a shortened six-week timetable for urgent consideration and progress.

“This legislation is an immediate and short-term response to housing pressures in areas facing severe housing affordability problems,” Dr Smith says.

“This provides time for the Government’s substantive changes to resource management reforms and the subsequent council planning processes to bear fruit and address these land and housing supply issues in the longer term.”

ENDS

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