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National doesn't propose doing anything radically different to address NZ's housing shortage; RMA reform remains central to its policy 

National doesn't propose doing anything radically different to address NZ's housing shortage; RMA reform remains central to its policy 
National Party housing spokesperson Judith Collins

The National Party is committing to ditching the “KiwiBuild” brand if it’s elected into government next year. 

“We will abandon the KiwiBuild brand as it has become apparent that smacking a KiwiBuild sticker on a house makes it harder, not easier, to sell,” the party said in a discussion document on housing released on Monday .

National took aim at the Government for having to buy back KiwiBuild houses in areas where there’s low-demand, saying the programme has “simply become a bailout for housing developers who had surplus land and wanted to be rid of it”.

It didn't explicitly say it would stop building or underwriting the development of low-cost houses and selling them to first-home-buyers.

It clarified its preferred approach towards building affordable houses was through redeveloping government-owned land, as it did when in government at Hobsonville, Auckland.

“National, through the Hobsonville Land Company, oversaw the redevelopment of the former Hobsonville Airbase into a new township of 11,000 residents,” the discussion document said.

“Hobsonville Land Company become ‘HLC’ and began to undertake similar redevelopments across New Zealand. Land was sold to developers with a contractual agreement that at least a third of the houses were priced at affordable levels.

“Redevelopments were initiated on government land in Papakura, and on Housing New Zealand land in Porirua, Mt Roskill, Tamaki, Northcote and Mangere.

“Housing New Zealand redevelopments generally take older, rundown houses on large sections and replace them with three times the number of warm, dry homes, increasing the total number of dwellings by a factor of about three.

“At least one third of the houses are returned to Housing New Zealand, with another third mandated as affordable housing and the final third being sold to the private market.

“When National left office, we had more than 27,000 homes in the development pipeline ready for the new government.

“Labour criticised these developments while in Opposition. Now in government, Labour has shifted this programme wholesale into its KiwiBuild brand.”

National, like the Coalition Government, supports the introduction of rent-to-buy or shared equity programmes to help people into homeownership.

Here's a snippet from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development's latest Housing Dashboard for October:

Splitting the RMA an option

In addition to taking the same approach it took when in government using HLC, National reiterated in the discussion document that it would reform the Resource Management Act (RMA).

It didn’t get consensus to do so when in government.

The Coalition Government has tasked a working group with making recommendations by mid-2020 on how to reform the RMA. Legislation won’t be drafted before the election.

National said in its paper that the RMA needed to be replaced by “efficient and predictable” legislation, but recognised “there is no simple solution to the RMA dilemma”.

It was broadly supportive of splitting the legislation.

“There is simply no need for the environmental protection mechanisms to apply to every planning decision,” National said.

“The environment is not, for instance, in peril if a bedroom is extended in a suburban home, even if the district plan says the environment must be considered and both a resource consent and a building consent applied for.

“An environmental Act should set clear and specific ways of regulating environmental issues.

“A development/planning Act needs to provide the tools to allow balanced decision making about where and how development can occur.

“Simply changing the structure of the Act will not prevent council plans that restrict urban development.

“Scotland sets a national plan for growth, infrastructure and environmental goals. In New Zealand, this could be done by a national direction, such as a National Policy Statement (NPS) on housing, or the development/planning Act could specifically allow Ministers to pass regulations that place bounds or minimum levels for councils to adhere to.

“For example, a requirement to have at least 30% of a city available for dense housing, or a requirement to maintain an area of land available for greenfield development within the urban boundary.

“Central government may also look to harmonise more aspects of district plans. For example, having a single set of rules for suburban land across the country.”

Speeding up consenting

National is floating the idea of enabling local councils to fast-track the processing of building consent applications made by approved third parties.

Under its proposal, councils could be required to process these applications in shorter timeframes and requests for further information or peer reports could be restricted.

Furthermore, National is seeking feedback on whether specialist regional consenting organisations should be set up to process complicated building consents.

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Not really much in the way of tangible conviction or transparent vision here.

By the way, Ipsos has been tracking issues of concern to NZers and 'housing / cost of housing' is by far the most important issue (approx 42% for last few years), followed by 'poverty / inequality' (29% of respondents) and 'inflation / cost of living' (25%). These three issues are obviously linked.

Also, quote "62% of New Zealanders do not believe that they could afford to buy a home in their local property market. Of those, 61% believe that this situation is unlikely to change in the future."

Approx twice as many people see Labour as more competent as dealing with housing compared to National (42% vs 23%).

Comparatively, housing is a bigger social issue (by 2x) in NZ compared to Australia.

Also, related to housing, there appears to be more DGM in NZ than in other countries.


Perhaps the headline should have read - "National proposes staying in Opposition for the next 6 to 12 years"

Yes, a turd by any other name would still smell as bad.

National can call Kiwibuild whatever they want, it is a disaster.

If this is the best they can come up with, heaven help us all at the next election.

It's their 'Go to' rhetoric, but their history of doing anything meaningful with the RMA is pathetic.
The current government get rightly criticized for some of their lack of delivery, but the Gnats had 9 years to reform the RMA and all they did was tweak....

That's how I see this, although it's also a consequence of RBNZ being forced to reduce the OCR for many years as successive governments have failed to have any real impact on productivity growth.

I suppose eventually the social consequences of our economic descisions will catch up with us (crime, drugs etc.)

Crime and drugs are the upshot of very bad attitudes let's not fool ourselves. People who make the govt responsible for everything should not be too surprised when the govt controls their EVERY moove (yes that is not a typo)

If you take away people's jobs the alternative for them working is often drugs/alcohol/crime.

Sorry Dave that is BS. People make choices for themselves so why excuse that bad behaviour. The different outcomes of poor people says a lot for how someone thinks, the local population go all "I'm a victim" while the immigrants that I know have thr motivation to make a go of life. If you dont want your kids and family to end up a cluster then it's better to keep persevering. That's the way I see things

Well at least they have not THUMBSUCKED a magic number like 100,000 houses which anyone with any arithmetic sense would have known as all but impossible in the times frame anticipated

Should have promised a bajillion houses for $5,000 built by the time the House has been sworn in once they're elected.


The Government would rather see people being homeless than allow them to build a tiny house.

Tiny houses are a way of entrenching unrealistic house prices, not mitigating them. If your aim is to introduce more population pressure on local infrastructure but to opt out of paying for the things that make living in an area necessary, you're part of the problem, not the solution.

Not if the house is off Grid - and how do they entrench unrealistic house prices? I thought that was brought about by a lack of stock and financialization of the housing market by the rentier class?

People put less pressure on housing infrastructure when they are homeless.

" If your aim is to introduce more population pressure on local infrastructure but to opt out of paying for the things that make living in an area necessary, you're part of the problem, not the solution."
The tiny house sits on land does it not? And landowners have to pay a tax to local govt do they not?
The recent fights that tiny house-owners have been dragged into shows this area needs tidying up... not over regulating.

That looks like a strawman.

1) Modify the building act and building code to allow tiny houses at an affordable cost. Compromises need to be made on insulation at very least to be equivalent to a caravan, and having a shorter lifetime (maybe 5-10 years).
2) Have connected services, power, water, sewage and stormwater. If your concern is about these and costs attributed by rates valuations then that is something the local councils need to address. Perhaps sharing costs on the basis of house value is a bad idea, and instead we should tax per bed room? Perhaps think of the social consequences.
3) Perhaps there could be limits on the number of tiny homes in an area that could be managed via the district plan. This would manage the utilisation of infrastructure, and contrasts heavily to tiny home owners being harassed by Councils (or even those living in fully functional motorhomes).

You seem to be suggesting I'm part of the "problem". Are you sure that you aren't pushing status quo to maintain the current unrealistic house prices. If a percentage moved into low cost tiny homes this would let the air out of the property bubble. Also consider that most tiny homes would be temporary accommodation to bridge the countries current problems.

No. I want warm, dry affordable houses. I don't want to consign those who currently can't afford houses to glorified trailer parks and create an even higher price floor for affordable houses that are actually houses. I also don't want land owners to be handed an even bigger cash cow by creating more pressure on services and parks and other council services to sell a life style product that is the Instagram-friendly equivalent of living in your car. New Zealand should be better than that.

I understand where you are a coming from now. What concerns me is that if we don't do something on a temporary basis that we will end up like the US.

In the documentary people are living in Hoovervilles but they rent a space to live in their car. Living in cars is worse than a trailer park, but that is where they are in the US.

We need to sort out the problems with RMA and Building Act, but the big driver of unrealistic house prices is the low OCR. Ultimately that is driven by the Fed covering up the depression that the US is going through. We could be a better country but the global financial system is working against us.

That's the problem - it's not something we as a country can do anything about i.e. we as a country have no way of making sure tiny houses are anything other than a temporary solution. We don't have control over the factors that got us here and they could be like this for a very long time.

I get there is a degree of 'perfect being the enemy of good enough' but the last thing we want to do is open the floodgates which is going to put even more pressure on land prices and encourage what is actually an ineffective form of density. I strongly believe we are better off not letting that genie out of the bottle. We'll never get it back in there.

You have your head stuck firmly in your posterior mate

What a stunning and well thought out reply.

RMA has needed work for a long time, including the 9 years National were in Government.

The issues with building consents could be improved by fast tracking or having regional processing centres. However it would be necessary to make whoever is checking the building consents to stay within the law. Council's regularly ask for requirements outside of the building code or approved document requirements and act unlawfully.

On top of the existing issues I have also found that a number of Councils are not checking the designs in the building consent applications. That is a major liability issue for all parties involved, but it also exposes the public to dangers due to non-compliance. There is a shortage of capable people that are willing to work for the Councils in the current environment. These issues apply to both "simple" and complex (commercial including larger scale residential) building consents.

There are more than a few people suggesting that the local Councils should not be processing anything more complex that simple housing.

National was BLOCKED from amending the RMA , it needed cross party support to be viable but did not get it


Penny still hasn't dropped as to why we need so many damn houses yet?


To invest in, of course. Houses have no other purpose than as a store of value.

Yep that's why we have 39,393 vacant properties in Auckland alone. Apparently that's a rise of 18% in five years since the 2013 census.


Wouldn't want any of the great unwashed dirtying up the place

Wouldn't be world leading immigration rates would it....duh


"National doesn't propose doing anything radically different to address NZ's housing shortage". Yes isn't that National is famous for sitting there and doing absolutely nothing. Humm it will be interesting to see what they propose to do without doing anything as usual.

CJ - The market is and will sort the housing situation out with the aid of the unitary plan not politicians they need to focus on state house building .

Care to clarify your statement by; "The market is and will sort the housing situation out with the aid of the unitary plan"? Or are you trying to justify National "do nothing" approach.

"The market is and will sort the housing situation out" - The same way it's been "sorting it out" for the past 7 years or so? No thanks.

Agree. The market doesn't deliver affordable housing. Even parts of the Labour party have convinced themselves that it does....


National have three plans;
1. Import people
2. Import more people
3. Ignore all other problems

Labour have three plans:
1. Lie
2. Create working groups to cover lies.
3. Stall, in the hope that lie is forgotten..

Greens have a single plan:
1. Focus on everything but the environment

NZ First have a single plan:
1. Keep Winston alive.

All the other parties clearly have no plans.

Which leaves the voters with only one viable option - Emigrate.

Fortunately a former US citizen has prepared a strategy for emigration.

And emigrate to a place where things are generally the same....
Well, not quite. Housing is much more affordable in several large Aussie cities than it is in Auckland.

more affordable and more inhospitable.

>>> Wow that was negative of me, I'm feeling very pessimistic about buying a home at the moment!

Yep lol, certainly with you on that last point "Which leaves the voters with only one viable option - Emigrate". I'm just waiting for Boris to cock up Brexit and leave the EU with no deal so the pound plummets again. Hopefully we should have a much better exchange rate and at least their business tax is very low at only 19%, so we should do much better over there. Hey they may even get immigration under control.

@CJ099 .................... you are not going to like this , DONT BLAME NATIONAL for your perceived housing "crisis ".......... the price of second-hand houses is simply tracking the costs of new builds , and new builds are so bloody expensive due to red tape , council rorts for fees , and an oligopoly run by Fletchers in the NZ supply chain making materials so expensive its a joke

That's certainly the case where we are in Tauranga. There is no competence or confidence internally as most expertise (?) has been cut due to legacy issues like leaky homes & Bella Vista. Dealing with council is like trying to communicate with an isolated African tribe in sign language, and it is sooooo, expensive & time consuming it beggars belief. And they tell us we're running out of land. Really? God help us!

Anyone I know doing work in Tauranga complains about it. I even had a call from a consultant I didn't know to ask about MBIEs determination process.

There are some reasons why Tauranga is particularly bad but a lot of Councils that deal with a large number of building consents are performing poorly.

Yeah, but to be fair many of the consultants, designers and builders that put in stuff to council s are hopeless too.
It's a systemic thing, not just a council issue.

The Council in Tauranga has been a liability against the area for decades. Its staffed and led by lifestylers who have washed up from anywhere and everywhere and the misadministration of the City is the nett result. Theres also an issue with keeping personal and business relationships at arms length as Bella Vista clearly illustrates...bit too much time spent between developers and council staff being 'mates' down at the yacht club and on the golf courses I suspect


Why would National do anything different? Labour has added its approval to the status quo of high immigration, an overall housing shortage, and continuing property price inflation - all being as good as it gets for GDP, gst and income tax intake. Meanwhile, near neighbours have added a caravan to their garden to house extended family - both parents working - unable to afford to buy anywhere near the over-crowded school where one parent is a teacher. Yes, 'Let's do this..."

Labour has shown them that the status quo of high immigration, an overall housing shortage, and continuing property price inflation is as good as it gets for GDP, gst and income tax intake

Nothing really to do with the difference between Labour and National. They're both more similar than you would like to believe. Regarding housing being good for GDP, I hope you mean "construction". If you mean "rising house prices are good for GDP"; yes, but only through 2nd-order factors such as greater consumer spending spurned by the wealth effect. Immigration is fantastic for GDP as a whole, but if you looked at GDP per capital, I suspect NZ's situation isn't so rosy.

The problem is the wealth effect is two-fold. It keeps you buying things because you feel rich but it also means you're less inclined to feel like you're being taxed harshly. Successive governments have ridden a wave of inflation through tax receipts and used it to crow about their fiscal prudence. Meanwhile people don't feel like their after-tax real earnings are dropping or that they're working longer hours for less because of the massive asset inflation, which is all paper until they actually realise it - and even then they are buying and selling (usually) in the same market.

New Zealand has gotten away with shifting the tax burden onto a smaller and smaller group of taxpayers and it isn't sustainable. You can't tell people they're on the pig's back with a top tax rate that kicks in at $70K when you can't pay a mortgage on that kind of money.

It'll never happen. If you haven't yet noticed, its the intent of the RMA and all subsequent regulatory processes to slow or severely limit the ability of anyone to bring a project to the market. The RMA was inserted into our legislative framework just prior to the ramping up of neoliberal economic settings in NZ, with the explicit purpose of making those who could afford to negotiate the law the chosen few who make huge wealth ahead of the rest who can't afford to pay the fees and consultants. It says it is to protect the environment but its just window dressing, it is all about entrenching economic prvilage. This one Act is the prime factor of the haves and have nots in NZ as property not jobs is how big wealth is made in neoliberal economies. Since so many good paying jobs have and continue to go off shore, property is it...but only if you can get inside the ivory tower.

The fact is the RMA is a major obstacle to orderly development


Just maybe it would be a good idea to put the skids on immigration while we sort our s##t out?
This including housing , infrastructure, immigration numbers and effectiveness of the vetting process (as a few starters). At present we are just lumbering along with no clue on where we are going, how we will get their, how we know when we have arrived and what the hell the goal is ?

Problem is having a shortage of sane, reasonable politicians.

The Right only want to keep bringing in cheap, exploitable labour for some constituents (with the side benefit of pumping rents and prices in their own and voters property investments).

The Left have their share of open border ideological nutters who haven't realised that this failed for Theresa Merkel and Germany has now closed its borders.

Neither seems willing to listen to locals who wish to have some say about what volume of new population should be introduced each year.

I think both Labour and National are losing support, at least talking to my friends. Lots of people no longer see things as left and right or white and black.
This could lead to some seismic shifts in the political landscape.

The polls don't show any shifting away from National/Labour

Actually the most recent TV One poll which put National at 46% and Labour at 39% had a whopping 17% undecided.

They remove those responses when they tell you the headline numbers.

Shifting to where exactly? What sensible choices are there that aren't either captured by extremist wingnuts, totally the cult of their leader, hard right, or race-based?

Show me a party that has at 5 competent MPs and that actually walks the talk and I'd be all ears - I'm sick of voting for least-worst.

The polls don't show any shifting away from National/Labour

The latest poll showed 17% of respondents didn't know or refused to say which party they would support, which I thought was quite striking. 

What was it on previous surveys? That figure doesn't strike me as unusual.

If you add up the Labour + National vote on all the polls since the last election it quite consistently tracks around 85%.
Labour + National vote:

You misunderstand. That's 17% who didn't answer any party. Those responses are removed and then they report the numbers for people who did select a party.

So that 85% is of the 83% of people who selected a party, either National or Labour.

You misunderstand, every poll has undecided voters. I asked how does this 17% compare to previous polls? If people were turning away from national/labour then I would expect to see people saying they are gonna vote for other parties. It happened plenty of other places but doesn't seem to be happening here.

I suspect people don't see an option.

Forget it Andrewj , we have had an electorate that is too young to understand that they were promised something that was a scam ................reality will come back to bite and we will see a move to the right .............. and right is the right way to go

9 years of rhetoric and nothing achieved; can you believe a word they say? But then Labour are no better.

Well at least National has not promised something that was totally not achievable .

And anyway , compared to home prices in any major city in Asia or say Sydney , Auckland is NOT expensive

National trying to take credit for the Hobsonville development that was started under the Helen Clark government?

All National did was cancel the peppering of housing new zealand through Hobsonville as John Key had promised a vote for me will keep poor people in their slum neighbourhoods and out of Hobsonville

Horrible poor people shouldn't live in nice suburbs! How are we going to achieve slums if we don't put all the poor people together in less desirable places??? Land in wealthy suburbs is too valuable and poor people have no place living there!

Anyone 40 and under must be completely disillusioned with NZ. Who on earth to vote for? I’ll still probably Vote for anyone that keeps National out they are the biggest disaster of all.

Exactly. Lesser of two evils and all that.
I guess in the UK the populace thought Bowiss was the lesser of two evils. Scary, that.

i'm disillusioned, my views:
> TOP seems the best to me, but I doubt they would get to 5%.
> The Greens seem quite productive as a part of the col, I am looking forward to the referenda, but their silence on immigration is deafening. I have voted for them in the past.
> Labour is hamstrung by NZF, inability to implement the CGT really disappointing. But I am a bit of a fan girl of Jacinda.
> National is following debunked ideologies, and increasing the wealth divide. Gross.
> NZF are a joke.

I would vote TOP if I thought they'd get any seats.

Any time I'm polled (twice so far this cycle) I tell them I'll vote TOP.

TOP's policy of taxing home owners (some imputed rent thing) will see them unable to get to 5%.

Imputation of rental income would only impact property owners. I'm not one (yet) so happy to take that. Their policy will be offset by income tax cuts too, win win in my book.

As a millennial struggling to save a deposit faster than house price growth, and also aging to the point that a 30y mortgage will have me repaying till retirement. I say F property investors, I want a house to call my own and to not be financially screwed for it! Only a matter of time before we become the majority and vote for change.

Also paying for the Super and healthcare of aging property owners, while I have no home to call my own really pees me off. Let's means test Super while we are at it! Half of our social welfare spend goes on Super.

Nope, not everybody is blinded by shortsightedness, moving some of the taxation load away from labour and towards capital is better for the country.

National had to go - anyone that says people sleeping in cars==success has done their dash. Labour were possum in the headlights and it turned out they hadn't a clue about how to deliver what they promised. Greens are all over the woke issue de jour and seem like hypocrites to me, and NZF have failed to be the handbrake of reason that anyone who voted strategically for them had hoped.

I'm firmly in the disillusioned camp too. Is this how the Trumps and BoJos get in to power?

I like the link through to the Housing Dashboard. Good information in there.

So in a nutshell, Nationals policy is to do nothing, same as the last 9 years of National.

Surely after 3 years they would have something tangible...

Like coming up with Kiwibuild after 9 years in opposition? Oops, been done.

Kiwibuild has still been more than what the last government did. How many did they build exactly? Not perfect by any stretch but at least they aren’t selling off NZ at all costs and then boasting about how the most unaffordable housing in the world relative to income was a “good problem to have” As I say it’s anyone but National for me.

Do not blame National for not fixing the RMA. Blame Peter Dunne. He was the one that stopped it. Nick Smith brought in the SME's to get around the blockages. They worked for a lot of subdivisions but Labour led government abolished it and replaced it with promises. If you live in an area with strong labour voters you get the special deals like Kiwi build in Canterbury where they have a surplus of properties.

Peter Dunne is a t#@t , he was so far past his sell by date , and he could not see beyond that stupid bowtie her wears

I have just had a look at the Housing Dashboard of HUB. I see they state 68475 households were in public housing in October 2019.but then say 3000 families were in emergency private rentals fully funded by the Government. HNZ annual report indicated they had 65300 rentals as of 1 April 2019. This means the only increase is the number of fully funded temporary housing. If I put my tenants into accommodations similar to temporary accommodations being provided I would be in trouble with MBIE and the city council.

What really gets my goat the total lack of dealing with the causes of this housing backlog .

We are faffing around with the effects , and not sorting out the causes

The causes are numerous , and we need to pull councils into line , crush the price rigging set-up run by Fletchers in building materials prices , ensure land is available and not banked for 25 years, and allow fast-tracked orderly development of new subdivisions .

And we need to seriusoly consider 99 year leasehold sections for those unable to buy land , who can then erect lockwood type houses on them