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RMA backtrack hurts housing affordability

Press release: RMA backtrack hurts housing affordability


20 May 2014


RMA backtrack hurts housing affordability

Wellington (20 May 2014) – The New Zealand Initiative has expressed disappointment that proposed reforms of Resource Management Act (RMA) have been abandoned, calling it a missed opportunity to address skyrocketing housing costs.

The National Party’s bid to overhaul the legislation was stymied after coalition partners United Future and the Maori Party withdrew support for the reforms citing environmental concerns.

“In its 20-year history, the RMA has morphed from an environmental protection bill into monolithic piece of planning legislation that has tangled the construction process in red tape,” said Jason Krupp, a research fellow at the Initiative.

“The net effect of these compliance requirements have materially added to the cost of opening new land for development, and hence the final asking price of a new home. Councils also have to carry significant operating costs from this process, which are eventually passed on in the form of higher rates bills.”

Krupp said there is a balance to be struck between environmental protection and economic growth, but as the legislative landscape stands, New Zealand is still some way off from achieving this.

“We risk seriously damaging the country’s economic performance if we don’t recognise the importance of producing enough housing to support the growing population.”


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