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Labour-National Housing Bill Returned Without Amendment

“The Committee charged with examining the Labour-National housing bill has returned it without amendment because it didn’t have time to fix its many flaws,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“As ACT said when the bill was first debated, a six week select committee was not nearly long enough for the complexity of issues raised by trying to replace urban planning in most of New Zealand’s residential areas. Both Labour and National criticise the other for abuse of process, and both parties are guilty of it when it suits them.

“This bill was conjured in secrecy with advice from only government officials, the people who gave us KiwiBuild. It is totally impractical, and its net result will be building the same number of houses in different places while destroying urban design.

“The Committee heard from many thoughtful submitters, particularly from councils and developers who actually do the work at the coalface. They were strident in their criticism of the bill, saying it would not work because infrastructure supply, not zoning, is the real issue.

“As the situation descended into farce, Labour and National said there should be changes to the bill but voted for it to be reported back to the House unchanged because there was no time to make the changes.

“Labour and National will now have to cobble together changes in the last stages of lawmaking by this Thursday if they want the bill passed this year as they’ve promised. It is disastrous lawmaking.

“ACT has argued for the select committee timeframe to be extended, but Labour and National voted against this. We will give them another opportunity for the bill to be recommitted to select committee before the second reading. We challenge them to vote for proper lawmaking process.

“The alternative is an unworkable and damaging bill that will actually lead to thousands of currently planned homes not being built, urban design being trashed, and little if any increase in housing supply. It is the ultimate in bad lawmaking.”

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