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National housing policy: Progressive home ownership for state housing tenants, require councils to open up land for development, reinstate the HLC model

National housing policy: Progressive home ownership for state housing tenants, require councils to open up land for development, reinstate the HLC model
National's Simon O'Connor, Judith Collins and Jacqui Dean making housing policy announcement.

National is pledging to allow state housing tenants with a “good track record” to work towards buying the properties they live in through shared equity or rent-to-buy schemes.

It’s also committing to funding community housing providers so they can build more social houses. It wants to set aside $1 billion of funding from the existing Housing NZ borrowing facility for these providers to use.

The Coalition Government has allocated $400 million towards progressive home ownership schemes, not involving public housing. But it only made its first move under the scheme in July, giving two community organisations a total of $23 million to scale up their existing progressive home ownership offerings.

Work is underway to establish an initiative within Kāinga Ora for households with an annual income of under $130,000 to receive shared ownership support directly from the Government. This is expected to be available in early 2021.

Looking at National’s housing policy more broadly - it committed to forging ahead with an idea it has already floated to implement a “remind, remedy, remove” three strikes system for tenants with “anti-social behaviour”.

Require councils to open land for development

As for upping supply, National said it would pass emergency legislation in its first 100 days similar to what it passed for the Christchurch rebuild. This would:

  • Require Councils to immediately open up 30 years’ worth of growth for urban development in Tier 1 and Tier 2 urban areas. This could be green fields land zoned for residential, urban land zoned for density, or both. The council would retain the ability to decide the mix, but the Government would control the volume they must zone.
  • Suspend the appeals process so district plans can be completed right away.  
  • Suspend requirements for infrastructure to be built prior to zoning. If we have 30 years of land zoned for apartments or town houses, it will give people choices on where they add density. Infrastructure can be built as density is built (if necessary).  
  • Streamline the resource consenting process, including allowing any district council to consent any application.

HLC model better than KiwiBuild

National also said it would redevelop government-owned land to increase housing supply.

It said it would apply the development model it used when it was last in government:

National supports the provision of affordable housing through HLC, the former Hobsonville Land Company.  

HLC redevelopments generally take older, rundown state 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.

Building sector participants are required to build one third state houses for the Government, ensure that one third of houses are sold at affordable prices (with price caps that are the same as the KiwiBuild price caps), with the final third able to be sold at market price.

New planning legislation needs more of a ‘development focus’

Finally, National reaffirmed its commitment to repealing the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Its proposal to replace it with two separate laws to manage physical resources such as water and air, and human resources like amenity, heritage and character, is different to that proposed by the Randerson Review, commissioned by the Coalition Government and committed to (at a high level) by Labour.

National said it believed “urban planning legislation needs to have more of a development focus”.

“Frameworks must allow human needs, such as the need for housing and the need to move around, to be balanced against any potential amenity, character or heritage values,” it said.

The Randerson Review recommends introducing a Natural and Built Environments Act to focus on enhancing the quality of the environment and improving wellbeing. This would include stronger national direction and replace the numerous council plans with a single combined plan for each region. It also recommends introducing a Strategic Planning Act to set long-term strategic goals and facilitate decision-making across the resource management system. 

For more on National’s housing policy, see this document.  

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The HLC model works - it got ignored in 2017 when there were claims National did 'nothing' for affordable housing (funny how those fact checks the major networks are running weren't around when Labour was saying whatever it took to get elected). The reality is the Affordable Axis programme was delivering more houses than Kiwibuild was until very recently, and is still balloting off three bedders to this day. It already existed as part of the HLC model, it just needed to be made bigger. But Kiwibuild with its unrealistically low prices (which were immediately raised post-election) and sexier promises got more attention, and the bit we had that was actually working got set aside - irony being it was enabled by the SHAs and shone at Hobsonville Pt, which started life under Labour pre-2008 and actually ended up being really effective.

unrealistically low prices

Why so? These 'entry-level houses' have price tags that are higher than the median house price in the U.S.

Perfect opportunity for you to snap up some low priced US houses and import them??

Perfect opportunity for you to snap up some low priced US houses and import them??

I don't mind clever trolling. Leave the juvenile stuff out though.

National is campaigning on Christianity, primarily. Rest are same old, same old.

you must be running out of ways to attack them . Try harder.

Can I offer you another road, during these trying times?

Another better insulated house would be fine, thanks. I like my Road.

Some of this is good.

However, the proposal to “suspend requirements for infrastructure to be built prior to zoning” is rubbish.

Firstly, there is no such requirement. The National Policy Statement for Urban Development states that land is “infrastructure ready” for re-zoning if said infrastructure is in the council’s Long Term Plan, even if the infrastructure hasn’t actually been built yet. It is very common for plan changes to re-zone land with rules limiting development on that re-zoned land according to when infrastructure is delivered.

All this aside, any move to allow development without adequate provision for future infrastructure is highly ill-conceived. Asking for stormwater flooding and sewage in the streets.

And “Streamline the resource consenting process, including allowing any district council to consent any application”. What the hell is this about? Auckland Council can grant a consent in Southland?

Also, government can stop Environment Court appeals on district plans, but they can’t stop Judicial Review appeals to the High Court.

I watched the full press standup. There was a lot in it that seemed policy-on-the-hoof when answering questions.

I didn't get a good understanding of the transitional framework whilst the two other acts to repeal the RMA are going thorough the legislative process. I recall National's 'urban trees' amendment that got passed during their last term and how poor the language was, such that they amended it again shortly thereafter.

Thank heavens they got the tree rules amended when they did, it was a huge impediment to progress. Ps I love trees that are in the right place, you wouldn't plant a pine forest in queen st

I disagree, we urgently need to bring back general tree protections. I am a property investor and read several PI FaceBook pages, and I can tell you they will cut down anything that causes even the slightest problem.

Leaves in the gutters, cut the tree down. Leaves on the path, cut the tree down etc. etc.

No Davo that sounds more like the bare HNZ aka KONZ properties. Are you advocating for resource consents to prune the trees in spring and tree squads to enforce the rules. I've seen it all.

Interesting - yes, she has a policy on-the-hoof problem. I thought so. :-).


Blah blah blah blah housing blah blah blah RMA reform blah blah blah
Heard it all before judith, you had 9 years and did jack...

It makes no difference anyway, because developers drip feed the land onto the market. My town has a huge amount of land that is zoned for residential, but it is all locked up by that land owners/ developers who are just drip feeding the odd section onto the market. Another part, they grow apple, so they have no incentive to sell, because the longer the wait, the more money they will make.

I think I know the land you're talking about, and yes this would need some sort of rules put in place to stop it becoming yet another land bank.


the pipeline of 5000 state houses built last 3 years was started under JK not this dumb bunch. There are Kainga developments in auckland started three years ago that still have not been finalized by Twyford and Co- thats 'Jack'

Well labour have had three years and done sweet FA. Perhaps they need another 3 to get a few built. Frankly Labour and National are pretty useless at housing. National maybe less useless supporting their developer mates to build 150m2 plus houses when around 125m2 including a single garage would suit most FHBs. It still the land price that kills a much lower than median price in Auckland and surrounds. Its not that much different relatively in New Plymouth. Doubt if there's been a new house been built here that's less than 150m2 in the last 5 years. Only exception would be a set of units.
Still lots of "money" around for these.


The compelling of councils to release land is a good idea. In my own district, council are the biggest impediment to development. I would go one step further - compel councils to go back to their core reason for being - provision and maintenance of infrastructure to support development. Toss all the "feel good" frippery about climate declarations, sister city BS, events pandering to minority/vested interests, wasteful CBD upgrades and all the other "pet" projects council wastes ratepayers money on. I'd also cap council management salaries

Can some journalist please fact check Ms Collins claim to be a Christian. Like what faith, which church, how often does she attend, when did she last go. Will her ‘faith’ affect her vote on the Euthanasia bill? How can she reconcile with Act over this? It beggars belief that noone is fact checking this. Good on Heather du Plessis Allen for calling her out today.

She voted yes on the euthanasia bill. Kind of interesting given the concept of purgatory.

So she voted "yes" on giving people a choice. Don't really see the connection to purgatory unless you're incorrectly interpreting the bill

Really?? You think attendance and allegiance to a particular church denotes whether she is "Christian"?? If she believes in the Commandments and practices their tenants, communes with her God is that not sufficient??

Really is this comment the best you can do

No new ideas to solve the housing crisis, or what should now be referred to as the 'housing disaster'. Recycling an idea from the UK who are hardly a poster child for housing. We need houses to be cheaper, and more of them, to cover importing our population growth without building houses for them. Increasing wages, will only inflate it even more, as money is so cheap now due to the RB lowering rates so low.

I was listening to a property expert at the weekend, and he said that NZ has a lack of things to invest money in, our sharemarket is tiny, so people put their money into housing. We face huge problems as a result of the NZ housing bubble, as we have one of the biggest housing bubbles in the world. We should have had policies that prevented this happening. Someone is going to take a bath when the bubble pops. Hope it won't be savers, as occurred when the finance company sector collapse in the GFC, which was often also associated with property.

Are there any stats on how many houses in NZ are zombie houses, and are not being lived in.?
I know of a few. I am wondering if it is the 10's of thousands. I see the Maori parties policy is to crack down on these property owners. This IMO could do more to help with the housing cirisis in NZ. Labour have had 3 years and not done much. National don't seem much better, and noone seems to want to cause house prices to drop.

Given the recent changes to Residential Tenancies Act I could see that increase - why risk the tenant from hell that you can't get rid of?

True. Also apparently tenants can make some minor changes to their house. I mean WTH, if I owned property, I wouldn't be happy that with that. It is also subjective as to what they can do. I found an article from 2018 which said there were 140000 empty house in NZ. I understand houses that are left empty by investors, are called Ghost Homes.

Whatched this policy in the 90s. Developers got tenants to buy and sell to them the next day. Lots of new build and subdivision in places like Oraki and close to the Mount. Just a way to exit the houses in posh areas and pass them into the hands of investors.

Govt needs to build more, not exit them.

Yup the housing NZ buyer makes a quick 100k, the developer they on sell it to a lazy 200k. Seams like a rort to me.

Thatcher policy from the 80s. Ultimately a disaster that put people on streets.

It could work here, it just needs two things: 1) A commitment to replacing every house that is bought through the scheme as it enters with a new one and 2) an insurance product of sorts that means people wouldn't be turfed out on the street if they loose their job, given they're vulnerable enough to need social housing in the first place. I'll let you draw your own conclusions about why those haven't been clearly articulated.

I get where you are coming from and I partially agree with you. There are parts of this policy I like, but your concerns are valid. There are a group of people in society whose discipline around money is a little lacking. Impose a structure on them, and they can then be placed into a position where they could buy a house and thus achieve a degree of independence and wealth. I used to own some rental properties and most of my tenants were beneficiaries (interestingly the only ones who ripped me off were the ones who weren't on a benefit), and most of them with good rent payment records could have afforded to buy a house if they had fiscal discipline. A couple actually did after I sat them down and explained it all to them. But yes there needs to be insurance in place as per a normal house purchase to cover the mortgage payments in case they lose their job or whatever. The bit about this policy I don't like is the cost these houses will be sold (admittedly I expect it to be higher than it should or could be), and that any house sold under this scheme needs to be replaced within the HNZ pool.

How about go a step further and stop Regional Councils from being able to stop any project without sound environmental reasons.
This is a good example, Waikato Regional Council trying to stop the Sleepy Head development at Ohinewai that would bring 1,100 houses and a lot of employment to the area, with reasons that nobody else has found issue with:

Industrial jobs, affordable housing and well-connected in an area with abundant water: what local body would want that for its dwellers - not going to happen in NZ.

On a serious note, instead of throwing spanners into progress, why not lobby the government to fast-track the proposed upgrade of the intercity rail that could take several trucks and passenger vehicles off SH1.

Agreed! As a resident of Te Kauwhata I completely support an upgrade of the rail infrastructure.
The current Te Huia service starting soon is a bit half-baked with not having stations in Te Kauwhata and Pokeno, where I understand a larger amount of people already commute to Auckland from compared to Huntly.
The Ohinewai development would also be adjacent to the train tracks so not difficult to establish a commuter and freight rail depot there either which would address one of the Regional Councils concerns at least. It just needs investment to make the whole system worthwhile so people will use it.

Are the main parties campaigning on some sort of affordable housing options? Surely this cannot last!

National 3 years ago: Nah there's no housing crisis and it's racist to suggest we have lots of Chinese buyers - they're only 3% or less.

National now: We have a housing crisis! And vote for us because we are the ones to fix it! And to do that we'll repeal the foreign buyer ban...