Urgent RMA And OIA Reform Needed To Support Rebuilding Together Budget
As companies in New Zealand’s property development and building sectors digest opportunities presented by the Budget, what they need most urgently to move forwards is Resource Management Act and policy reform in order to rebuild together, says the non-profit NZ Chinese Building Industry Association (NZCBIA).
“To achieve the top priorities of the Budget - supporting jobs and the economy, and avoiding a cataclysmic recession – we need more than Building Act exemptions. Although the exemptions are a positive step, they only cover small structures. What we really need is an urgent overhaul of the Resource Management Act and Overseas investment Act to enable the certainty that will drive swift private sector action and investment,” says Frank Xu, President of the NZ Chinese Building Industry Association.
Changes the NZCBIA would like to see to help stimulate the economy include:
- Local government buy-in to reduce the time and costs associated with RMA compliance
- Create a forum for government and private sector to have dialogue in a timely manner
- New fast-track legislation to be applied to private ‘shovel-ready’ projects.
- Allowing overseas buyers to invest in New Zealand properties valued over $2 million.
“Timing and certainty are vital for the cashflow confidence of the economy post COVID-19. It is great that the Government is providing financial impetus for shovel-ready projects, but most public projects are large and slow to start, even if they are called ‘shovel-ready’.
“By making the changes we recommend, Government will incentivise and enable more private projects to get shovels into the ground by providing greater certainty. Helping the organisations involved to see the prospect of profitability, finance support, lower costs, and faster delivery times is the key here.
Xu says that NZCBIA held a forum on this topic involving organisation across the entire supply chain, developers, bankers, contractors, design consultants, suppliers. They openly discussed the confidence of the market, and likely reactions from ‘every chain’ of the supply chain. Two shovel-ready projects were used as case studies to discuss the feasibility of the government’s intention, and how private sector shovel-ready investments and projects could help to add immediate confidence to the industry. Both projects - one in Auckland, one in Queenstown - have already started, but could stop due to the impact of COVID-19 crisis.
“Time is of the essence here. We all saw the news last week that the country’s biggest builder announced plans to lay off around 1,500 staff. Other large builders have been making redundancies too. These companies will benefit from the Government stimulating investments on large infrastructure projects, but the industry needs immediate action to keep the current projects going and to start “shovel ready” projects within the next 6 months.”