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Government considering speeding up implementation of its National Policy Statement for urban development

Government considering speeding up implementation of its National Policy Statement for urban development
Image sourced from pxhere.

UPDATED AT 3:30PM

The Government is looking at bringing forward requirements for local councils to ensure their consenting decisions enable more houses to be built.

Environment Minister David Parker told interest.co.nz: “I am actively considering measures to help bring forward plans flowing from the National Policy Statement - Urban Development (NPS-UD).

“This is not dependent on the Resource Management Act (RMA) reforms. I will have more to say about this in coming months.”

The NPS-UD details objectives and policies local councils must give effect to when issuing resource consents.

Some of these policies include ensuring council plans enable towns and cities to grow up and out. They also remove the requirement for these plans to include car parking spaces, and direct councils to give greater consideration to ensuring affordable housing is provided.

However, after making his initial statements, Parker clarified policies around density and "transport nodes" won't be brought forward, as this would be too complex. In other words, the Government will not be requiring councils to consent six-storey buildings more quickly than previously planned. 

Asked to explain exactly what would be brought forward, Parker provided a vague response: “The councils, by the 31st of July, have to report on what they need to do in order to make room for growth where they’ve got a housing shortage or population growth that they hadn’t properly catered for. 

“We want to enable them to give effect to what they see they need to do by helping them do it.”

While the NPS-UD came into effect in August 2020, councils have until 2024 to implement some parts of the statement:

Parker commented on the NPS-UD - seemingly prematurely - following Housing Minister Megan Woods mentioning work was underway in this area.

While she was being quizzed by journalists on National’s ideas to get more houses built, Woods said the Government had progressed “quite a substantial body of work” as a stop-gap measure ahead of the NPS-UD taking full effect and the RMA being repealed and replaced.  

“We need a short-term solution that we put in place while we wait for the medium and long-term solution such as the NPS and the RMA reform to come into play,” she said.

Labour rubbishes National’s ideas 

National on Wednesday put a Member’s Bill in the ballot that proposes the Government incentivises councils to issue more consents by paying them $50,000 for every new dwelling they consent above their five-year average.

According to maths done by interest.co.nz, this would see Auckland Council receive $197 million and Tauranga City Council receive nothing for falling short of its historic average.

Woods rejected the idea, saying it perpetuates the mistakes governments have made over the past three decades - that they expect developers to build if the land is zoned for them to do so, without worrying about whether there are roads and pipes and other infrastructure in place to allow for this development.

The idea behind the Government’s recently-announced $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund is to give councils grants to put this infrastructure in place first.

Woods said councils need the money for infrastructure before they issue consents, not after.

However the Government is yet to detail the Fund’s criteria. It’s expected to do so in June.

Woods also rubbished National’s idea to introduce emergency legislation, similar to that used after the Canterbury earthquakes, to require councils to immediately zone more land for housing.

She said what worked in Christchurch following 2010/11 won’t work everywhere, noting there are now no insurance pay-outs lining people’s pockets.

Woods also alluded to the lack of public transport infrastructure in Christchurch to support the new development.

While Labour is addressing both the demand and supply-side of the housing crisis, National believes the issue only requires a supply-side response and taxing property investors more won't help.

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44 Comments

16
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Though intention may be to increase supply but will add fuel to fire and give another boost to rising house price just like earlier action that allowed to build more house in a section.

Counter measures should be taken along with it to control speculation otherwise all efforts will lead to higher price.

Look at DTI and act on Interest Only Loan, without further delay. No more wait and watch.

It will boost land prices, but increase supply (and decrease rents/stabilise them).

Yes it will bolster prices initially, then it should help stabilise. I have said several times on this website it will give property prices another shot in the arm in the short term.
The areas that are required to be zoned for 6+ storey apartments are widespread, which is good as it will disincentives gaming of the system.

How will supply increase?
Auckland is currently building 1000 houses per month and the market can't keep up with the supply of building materials. Freeing up more land to build is fine and all but that 1000 houses per month won't increase.

How is DTI going to put more people into housing?

back to where Nationals started?

21
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Megan Woods has no experience or knowledge to deal with this portfolio, to expect change or the RMA to be improved by replacing one act with three is tantamount to insanity.
This government is out of its depth in so many areas.

That was the idea, it's a hospital pass.

20
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Repeating, have to as government too, is thick skin and keep on repeating....

Unless and until governments does not act on the greed side of speculative demand, no measures will help.

Stop interest only loan in housing sector ( except in emergency situation to existing home owner for short time like loss of job) and see the difference that will have specially on speculators and think that is what Jacinda Arden wanted - increase supply and target Speculative demand.

Well said stuart786786.

NO MORE WATCH AND WAIT

13
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2024. House prices going up by $40K a month, and we have a plan to improve zoning that won't be fully effective for three years.

17
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Environment Minister David Parker confirmed to interest.co.nz: “The Government is looking at measures" He went on to say: "I am actively considering measures".

The government loves making announcements, pronouncements, announcements about upcoming announcements, writing letters, banning things, and making grandiose declarations. 'Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'

18
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May be this what one learn in getting a communication degree. Communication = Sound.

Most people in NZ politics are worthy of the descriptor 'all fur and no knickers'.

Fuss and feathers in other words.

J.C.

In Scotland, the expression was 'fur coat and nae knickers'.

Why does government also does not plan new suburbs - away from city centre with decent land size for house owner to build as many will be interested in building their dream home as many are stuck in between.

Is the suburban dream really that realistic for society now? Worked well in the 60s, but these are different times.

Building away from the city centre requires costly infrastructure and adds huge amounts of traffic to arterials as people commute across the region.

Intensifying in the city centre where things like buses are frequent doesn't do this.

We need to stop subsidising well-off central-city NIMBYs with the commuting time and lifestyles of aspiring home owners who are forced to live in the wops.

There are 4 houses going up on a long skinny section near to where I live. A nice north facing section. Alas, the middle two will be very cold in winter due to the proximity of the house in front of them being ~2m away. No sun. No room for a garden, plants or trees. And these are on their own titles not even cross lease. The unitary plan has allowed this to happen. Bad design pure and simple.

This seems to be the future of housing for low to medium-income families across the country, increasingly so when population growth kicks up several notches after this pandemic fades.

Its even more expensive infrastructure-wise to do it in the city centre. Imagine upgrading a wastewater pipe to take your apartment development when that pipe runs under existing buildings and roads. Same with power, water, telecommunications.

Add in the engineering costs of building up and you'll see why it's hardly done.

Hardly done?

As someone who has lived in a few cities overseas, it is absolutely not hardly done.

That's why I reckon they should go for a moonshot infrastructure project. Hamilton to Auckland highspeed built by the Chinese (who are running out of tracks to build) costs $25m a km in China. Here it might be double that, say $50m. That's say a generous $10b. Put in another 2 - Welli-Palmy and Chch to Dunedin and you would probably spend about $50b (half that of what the RBNZ is proposing).

Would open up public transport options all along the lines and provide massive real injection into the economy.

It feels like that what we need to me too. Dare I say it but some "think big" that makes no economic sense in the here and now but our great grandchildren will say thank goodness they did it.

There is not one thing you said that was factual. It's more expensive to develop brownfields, just look at the state of the inner-city infrastructure and what it's doing to city rates.

In Auckland alone 80 plus % of all jobs are outside the CBD. People worldwide were decentralising, even prior to Covid, which has now accelerated this trend.

Most people that live in the 'Wops' want to be there, there is no forcing, and it is very limiting of fringe housing that is forcing up all house prices and that is what drives people out looking for affordability.

If you want people to move closer in because that is the lifestyle they want, then make all housing more affordable.

Nah it’s the transport that costs for greenfields, but at the moment that is subsidised so it’s an unseen cost. Build 100,000 houses in Drury: now how do we add another 2 lanes to the entire southern motorway?

But you do understand that present policy by causing house prices to be a lot dearer than they have to, is actually driving people to the periphery, ie helping create sprawl?

And Auckland has a Walter Mitty problem where they think that by building at Dury, EVERYONE wants to travel into the CBD. They don't.

If you look at what many advanced cities are doing now they are using transport hubs like train and tram stations (with frequent, well connected service running at all times of day!) to build high density apartment villages around with local shops and businesses. This way they can add density to existing suburbs.

Of course in New Zealand public transport isn't really a thing and so I think we're defacto locked into suburban sprawl. Luckily EVs and self-drive are on the horizon.

True...our politicians are great at bringing 20th century beliefs and ideas to 21st century problems.

If you look at what many advanced cities are doing now they are using transport hubs like train and tram stations (with frequent, well connected service running at all times of day!) to build high density apartment villages around with local shops and businesses

This is not new. It's quite normal in countries like Japan and has been since post-WWII.

If it involves concreting over food growing land then absolutely, utterly no, no, no.

Why not whole new towns and cities that also address the many shortcomings of many other cities of NZ.
Rolleston is pretty popular now.
All I see bureaucrats doing is trying to stymie creative initiatives like this. E.G. The Turner brothers plans for shifting Sleepyhead to their own town at Ohinewai. - Probably scared that they will loose control or be shown up as incompetent.

What part of concreting over your food basket is madness do you not understand?

I'll just leave this here, although it is a bit of a "No sh*t, Sherlock" https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/440519/an-eroded-environment-under-p...

But, but, but..we just have to import at least 100,000 people each year - otherwise we are *xenophobic*.
Even if we destroy our environment in the process, it has to be done! Anything else and we are *xenophobic*.

Agree, but thank goodness for the Environmental Reporting Act 2015.

Before that, everything we could 'see' happening was just anecdotal evidence - which suited the politicians and polluters just fine.

Double post

You should be careful what you wish for.

Covenants that people moan about stopping them do what they want, are also the same covenants that would stop the land next door to you (if covered by the same covenants), on the sunny side from being developed, even if the council rezoned the land for that higher density.

When cities evolved, original owner/neighbourhood non legally binding covenants were handed over to the city managers ie the council to manage on your behalf, for your benefit as the owner-occupier.

These evolved into the zoning we know today with full legal control by councils. It was only later that developers started putting back restrictive covenants on top of the zoning in response to client demands.

For councils to now override and change some of these zonings (the ones without any overriding covenants) is going against the original intent and is breaking their social contract with the ratepayers affected.

BUT the immediate solution for owners, if they don't like it, is to get together, form and register covenants to protect their neighbourhood, if it's worth protecting, knowing of course that in doing so it may affect the value in $ terms, negatively or positively.

If we all just stopped collecting houses.....

'in the coming months' - Labour's election tag line

So many cars parked on the street already. What could possibly go wrong.

So here we have Tasman District council consenting more dwellings per 1000 population than Hamilton Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch but it is a tier 2 area and not a tier 1 like the above regions. (some months it also exceeds Auckland). Think about the fertility and food growing uses on the outskirts of the tier 1 regions versus the land on the outskirts of Tasman.