Rushed Housing Bill Undemocratic - Generation Zero
release - Generation Zero
Friday 31 May - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Youth climate change organisation Generation Zero says the Government is acting undemocratically by rushing through legislation that will undermine local council control over housing, while Auckland is preoccupied with debate on its draft Unitary Plan.
The Housing Accords and Special Housing Bill 2013 was introduced to Parliament by the National Party and immediately referred to Select Committee after its first reading just two weeks ago.
National Party chairperson of the Social Services Select Committee, Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, used his delegated authority to set a two week submission period, closing at midnight last night, despite the four week minimum recommended in Parliament's guiding policies.
"The lack of time given for submissions by key stakeholders, such as local councils, could lead to a limited range of views being considered by the Committee about a very complex matter" said Generation Zero spokesperson Carlos Chambers.
"There was no reason at all for this departure from good process. Significant legislation being sped through Parliament seems to be a recurring theme under the current Government," Mr Chambers noted, citing the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill restricting peoples' rights to protest at sea, earlier this year.
"We have made a preliminary submission to the Committee outlining our procedural concerns, and will supplement this submission with more substantive detail next week."
The controversial Housing Bill highlights tensions between the National Government and Auckland Council over the city's future land-use and housing development.
"While Auckland Council and the Auckland public are preoccupied with consultation on the Unitary Plan, the Government is hurriedly pushing through legislation that could undermine the intentions of the draft Plan to contain urban sprawl" said Mr Chambers.
Submissions on the draft Unitary Plan are due today.
"The interaction between central and local government is fundamental to democracy in New Zealand," said Mr Chambers, "Auckland Council were engaged through the Auckland Housing Accord, but this Bill looks like backstop insurance that the National Government can use to override Auckland Council and other councils if their views do not align."
About Generation Zero:
Generation Zero is an independent youth
organisation seeking to catalyse action on climate change
and work towards creating a zero carbon Aotearoa. For more