Govt to tackle housing affordability by increasing land supply
27th Jan 09, 1:56pm
Housing Minister Phil Heatley said the National Government would reform the Resource Management Act and the Building Act in an effort to make housing in New Zealand more affordable by freeing up land supply. In response to this week's 2009 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which concluded New Zealand ranked second to last in affordable housing out of the United Kingdom, United States, Ireland, Canada and Australia (last), Heatley said Government would ensure local councils planned for a forward supply of suitable land zoned for new housing. "National understands there'll be property cycles but the recent cycle has been so extreme as to suggest there are fundamental problems with how the market is operating, notably around the supply of land," Heatley said. He also said Government would ensure that roading and infrastructure would be provided to aid towns and cities as they grew, and that National would increase trades-training opportunities so there would be more skilled people to build and develop new houses. Heatley said that many first home buyers were excluded from entering the property market by a number of factors, including restrictive zoning and consent laws, which were major factors in New Zealand's poor productivity and economic growth levels. Government will also try to tackle laws relating to the development of housing on Maori and communal owned land, which due to their often 'rural' zoning, meant only a few houses could exist on large areas of land. Heatley's announcement also follows on from the briefing he was given by the Department of Building and Housing when he first took office late last year. The briefing urged the new government to buy land "strategically" for new housing and move to reduce development costs, especially in Auckland.