Housing Minister Nick Smith is targeting having "thousands of new housing lots" opened up by Christmas after his housing accords legislation cleared its second hurdle in Parliament.
The Housing Accords and Special Areas Bill passed its second reading by 63 votes to 57.
Smith said he was still pushing to have the bill pass its final stage next month, "meaning that by Christmas we will have opened up thousands of new housing lots".
The legislation gives the Government the power to negotiate housing accords with local councils in areas that are deemed to have a housing supply problem. Currently significant parts of the country would come under this category and so theoretically could be targeted for the development of housing accords.
The housing accords would allow the fast-tracking of housing developments in designated areas.
The Government and the Auckland Council have already negotiated an accord in an attempt to alleviate a perceived 30,000 shortage of houses in the country's most populous city.
It is planned and targeted that the Auckland Housing Accord would enable the building of an extra 39,000 new homes in the Auckland region over a three-year period. See here for articles on the accord.
However, the council agreed in principle to the accord before the enacting legislation had been drawn up. There were several things in the legislation the council did not agree with, particularly the "over-ride" powers the Government would get allowing it to take over the process of approving developments from the council if an accord could not be reached or was terminated.
The main opposition parties, having supported the bill in its first reading, withdrew their support , while Local Government New Zealand has said the accords legislation would more effectively tackle the housing shortage issue if the "over-ride" provisions were removed.
Smith has been adamant the provisions won't be removed, so all eyes will turn to the Auckland Council soon and whether it will officially ratify the accord. It has previously said it might not if those provisions are not removed and has formally called for their removal.
After the bill cleared its second Parliamentary hurdle, Smith said the legislation would allow for low-rise greenfield developments within Special Housing Areas to be consented within six months, as compared to the current average of three years, and three months for brownfield developments, as compared with the current average of one year.
"This bill confronts land supply shortages in cities like Auckland and will see central and local government working closely together to free up thousands of new sections for housing developments," he said
"Reversing New Zealand’s generation-long downward trend in home ownership and affordability won’t be solved by gimmicks.
"The Government is taking action on all the important fronts. This includes this bill on land supply, reining in council development charges, reforming the Resource Management Act, scrutinising building material costs, simplifying building consents, and expanding the Welcome Home Loans and KiwiSaver First Home Deposit subsidies to support first home buyers.
"All of the substantive inquiries into housing affordability make plain that increasing land supply is a critical part of the solution. Labour’s opposition to this bill shows they are more interested in playing politics than addressing the real issues," Smith said.