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Labour defeated over late building consents

Hon Nick Smith
National Party Building Spokesman

12 October 2006

Labour defeated over late building consents

National MP Nick Smith's Building (Late Consent is a Free Consent) Bill last night successfully passed its first reading with the support of the Green, Maori, United Future, NZ First and Act parties, defeating Labour by 69 to 51 votes.

"The Government has its head in the sand over the huge problems being caused by the long and unlawful delays in processing building consents," says Dr Smith.

"Surveys show that nearly 50% of building consents, or 40,000 each year, are not processed within the 20 working days required by the Building Act.

"The costs and inconvenience of not processing building consents on time is huge for families, builders and businesses. There are examples of families living in caravans, builders sitting idle and land sitting vacant because of these unacceptable delays.

"This bill creates the right incentives for processing consents on time by removing the power for councils to charge fees when the 20-working-day time limit is exceeded.

"Citizens face penalties when they are late paying rates, taxes and fees like car registration. It is only fair that councils also face penalties when they are late.

"Hamilton City has adopted this very policy with startling success. Unlike any other council in the country, it is delivering 100% of consents on time, at reasonable cost and to a high standard. If Hamilton can do it, so can other councils.

"I have been inundated with support for this bill from organisations like Master Builders, Certified Builders, Business New Zealand and many frustrated individual builders and homeowners."

Dr Smith's bill has been referred to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee.

ENDS

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