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Phil Twyford progresses Nick Smith's plans to give central government the power cut through local planning rules to develop major urban housing projects

Phil Twyford progresses Nick Smith's plans to give central government the power cut through local planning rules to develop major urban housing projects

The Government has unveiled details of a proposal to create a Housing and Urban Development Authority to give central government the power to override local planning rules to build houses fast in designated areas.

The idea being put on the table is for the Authority to bring together three existing agencies – Housing New Zealand, its subsidiary HLC and the KiwiBuild Unit – to lead urban development projects and be a public landlord.

The controversial part of the proposal is that the Authority will have access to a wide range of statutory powers to do the following in project areas:

  • Override, add to, or suspend provisions in Resource Management Act (RMA) planning documents;
  • Issue resource consents;
  • Buy, sell and lease land and buildings;
  • Compulsorily buy private land;
  • Build, alter or remove any building or infrastructure;
  • Have the same powers as Auckland Transport in relation to land transport, and the same powers as territorial authorities in relation to waters and drainage infrastructure and services;
  • Seek approval from the Minister of Conservation and the Housing and Urban Development Minister to use government, local purpose, recreational, scenic and historic reserves (but not natural or scientific reserves) for development purposes;
  • Suspend, make or amend bylaws.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford expects the Authority to see development move from the concept to the building stage within a year, rather than taking around five years. 

His proposal builds on work championed by his predecessor Nick Smith.

However the 135-page long discussion document the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) released under Smith’s leadership in February 2017 raised "significant concerns" for Auckland Council. 

In its submission, the Council said it wanted to make sure it had the power to veto specific development proposals.  

Twyford has confirmed that councils won't have veto rights, but says the Authority will have to “seek a local authority’s agreement to undertake large-scale developments and may enter into agreements with local authorities concerning infrastructure and public amenities”.

Furthermore: “Local authorities will have the right to appoint at least one representative to the Board of large-scale developments.”

The Authority will also work with other agencies, iwi and private partners.

The powers Twyford would like to give it are similar to those the 2013 Housing Accord gave 'Special Housing Areas' where development could be streamlined. 

However the key difference between the Authority and Special Housing Areas, is that the former sees the Government take responsibility for building homes, while the latter leaves this to the free market.

Special Housing Areas were also only meant to be temporary fixes - pending RMA changes and the Unitary Plan becoming operative in Auckland's case. 

The Authority is expected to cost $100 million to set up. 

New legislation to establish a Housing and Urban Development Authority will be introduced to Parliament in 2019, with the first projects expected to be up and running in early 2020. These will be in Mangere, Mt Roskill and Porirua.

Twyford says: “Over the coming months, we will continue to communicate the progress we’re making on our KiwiBuild and state home build programmes and further detail how the urban development authority will operate.”

For more information, see this facts sheet.

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"Compulsorily buy private land" Watch out land bankers, there's now plenty of land!

Paid for by a "targeted rate increase"as usual??

Finally, NZ is looking at the Singapore HDB model to provide affordable public housing. Instead of simply pointing fingers at immigration levels (a global phenomenon not unique to NZ) or worse, at the Chinese (who for some inexplicable reasons always get the blame), it has always been apparent to some of us that the solution lies with the government - issues with regards to creating jobs in suburban areas, decentralizing major service, building the necessary infrastructure across NZ, etc. Of cos NZ will face a greater challenge doing this compared to Singapore (which is but a small island), but the concept is the same.

I agree that Singapore has some ideas on housing to share
However the Singapore government is more autocratic than democratic
When I lived there they had urine detectors in the elevators that would trap the hapless lad who went for a leak & bamboo scaffolding galore & that was in the 1980s when they’d just opened new rapid transit system.
Malaysia right next door to Singapore for both skilled labour & supplies There really is no comparison to be made between the ability to produce buildings in Singapore with NZ which has a dearth of skilled trades people.
When will a NZ government address the building supplies duopoly ? Never
Keep those political party campaign donations coming


Ha. Who would have thought? Well, Hayek actually. The RMA empowered a vast army of bureaucrats tasked with the job of making expert decisions on the allocation of precious resources. Result, argument and paralysis, oops, sorry, consultation and development of long term plans. Eventually, the call goes out for a Strongman who will cut through the red tape and Get Things Done.

The private sector takes a far more chaotic, but evolutionary, approach to the allocation of resources. Like democracy, it looks, and is, inefficient. The allure of the Centrally Planned Economy seduces each new generation with its vision of efficiency and fairness for all. To make it even more seductive, sometimes it works, thus engaging all the addictive stimulus response qualities of a one armed bandit. "We just need to do more, you will see", they say. The trouble is, the specialist species goes extinct as it adapts more and more efficiently to its niche....
Whereas, in the private sector, the individual firm goes bust, and the survivors feast upon the carcass.

The entire housing problem is a government creation. Too much immigration. Too much cheap debt. Too much foreign capital. Too much regulation. Choices have consequences.

Amen to that.

The HUD response is only necessary due to the current situation. I hope that the gummint does not write itself any strategic advantages like reduced or even nil reserve contributions, because if it does that then even more costs will be lumped on to fewer and fewer private developments, the councils will be squeezed paying for infrastructure and getting less income.

Dear Roger W
Don’t pour cold water on Central Planned Economies
Singapore has done very welll

What a load of Bollocks!
Let’s just see Twyford try and through his weight around by compulsive buying of private land!!!
He has no chance of being able to do that for housing developments!
Who the hell does he think he is?
This would be as bad as the ANC stealing the land in South Africa!!
Twyford is looking like a prize goose as he is trying to get his pathetic KiwiBore no.s up, by trying to build in areas like New Plymouth and Wanaka etc. that doesn’t need KiwiBore box’s!!


What, Twyford an International Socialist at heart? He believes all property is theft? Surely not?

There is a wonderful irony that it was Nick Smith's authoritarian tendencies that gave Twyford the vehicle that Twyford gets to drive. A problem created entirely by the Clark/Cullen/Key/English quasi-religous group think that Immigration Is Good. John Key was right, we don't have a housing crisis, we just have more people than houses. I don't think there is a problem with a reasonable level of immigration, but that probably means 10,000 a year not 60,000.


Luckily we have a Government who campaigned on between 10k - 30k. We eagerly await swift reforms.

Not a load of bollocks. Read the public works act. While its been out of favour for a while its all covered in there and has been used a bit in the past.

Ps why so much stress. Its only been used when there are obstructive owners holding up stuff of significant benefit to public.

Question is increasing public housing is in the interests of general public....?

The issue is who gets to decide? It is a dangerous road to travel down. Authoritarianism sucks.

Always an issue for sure. Cheaper housing and cheaper rent vs. Speculative land holding driving up rents and driving inflation. Kinda answers its self though...?

Yes, but there's more ways to kill a pig than drowning it in butter, as they used to say. The cheapest and fastest solution would be to export people by offering a $10,000 reward to any citizen who goes overseas for a couple of years. Cost per house $30,000. That would be too easy of course. The main objection is that it might work, and then what would we have to argue about?

Hahaha what a rant

You know the government can and does do compulsory land acquisition for roads etc. they have to pay market prices. So I’d say it’s a bit different to South Africa.

My dear old mate has over 10acres on the Auckland green belt with a trust all set up for his adult kid to inherit
There’s a family business that owns so much of the Auckland green belt they have considerable
political clout I would imagine Add in the foreign land bankers recently
This is just a big splash in the puddle A Nick Smith type of move like the failed Westharbour cheap $600K terraced housing
It will meet heavy resistance from the heavy hitters who will not sell cheaply so where’s the progress ?
Oh it’s just being seen to do something just like Nick Smith only this time it’s Mr Twyford who like Nick Smith will not do a thing about the exorbitant price of building supplies in NZ

Debt is fine, if ya can get another person to fund it.

Debt is a fine on future prices, as long as they always go up. Fuelled by oh...that stuff called......Petrol, diesel and Gas.

The rest of the World is fine, if we discount a lot of Countries, who rely on each other to make things fine.

The rate of exchange is fine, when it is in your favour.

A free gift of thousands when taking out a Mortgage is fine, until a rainy day falls, when two people jointly Mortgaged are fined, when one loses their job, with no futures prospects. It hits Home, even harder when that rainy day is shared with a Family business going bust...and goes tits up.

The banks will fine you if you do not pay their fees, it is called an over draft, and that is way more than the fine line set by the OCR. In boom times.

It is why things go bust,when even larger businesses that leveraged to the hilt, in the good old days, expanded with easy credit, then failed when things tighten. Ya can only live of the fat of the land for so long...Expansionist theory if all well in practice, when ya have to tighten yer belts, bulges appear...if only one can drop ones pants and say knickers to banks, then reset to to way below par...things will be fine.....but some will end up naked....and dying of starvation. when losing their skin in the game.

If you fine tune your new Credit Card with zero fees, this is fine, until it stops.

If you do not pay your Credit Card fees then, there is a fine of 20% plus....compounded.

Fine days are great, but when fire drought, wars and floods hit, ya had better be insured with the largest insurer on Earth, as the smallest could not cope with California, Christchurch, nor War Torn States.

The war of the worlds, is debt at the moment, China is preparing for a larger one....So is Russia, so am I.

Talk is cheap...reality....not so much. Money......madness. Debt even more stupid.

Avarageman, I am well aware of the rule for acquisition!
However if someone owns land and Twyford wants it for housing, then he has no show of nicking it for public housing.
Mr Twyford is so far out of his depth with his portfolios that it is not funny!
This lot is gone at the next election!


Gone at next election?

Replaced by whom? Are you planning on forming a party? As there is no viable alternative. . The national party is in the dog house for next 5 years

The national party could rescue itself. Admit it had been taken over by greedy globalists but claim it has returned to its true beliefs: immigrants to meet the UK income threshhold (about $200,000pa - see, Jian Yang the spy in their midst to be dropped like a hot stone, small govt: commit to removing two regulations for each new one, tackle climate change by taxes not arbitary decisions about oil search and plastic bags.

Maybe. I'm not sure that National has actually admitted to themselves that they stuffed up. There is a lot of hot air in public. Hopefully behind the scenes there are some "frank exchanges of views" going on. I did hear the comment that politicians only listen to the party members when in opposition....

I agree. Soimon is busy out there trying to blame Labour for high housing costs in NZ, so it's not apparent at all that they're able to acknowledge their own failure over the last decade.

Enviro (climate, water quality, cows etc) and immigration. National needs to 'get it'. . these issues are with us indefinitely. Tax and trivial economic stuff can be altered with a stroke of the pen.

Seriously, this COL has no depth to it.
The Mickey Mouse Party would run the country better.
Prime Minister wants to give away mega millions to Papua New Guinea!!!!
Pike River is chucking money away for what?
Strikes happening!
Transport System an absolute mess!
Seriously, what have they done to benefit the average Kiwi since they have been in Govt?

You have answered your question when you realise the damage was done by the national government.

Might want to check out how fast prices rose from 2000 - 2007 champ - it was faster than it was under the Key/English Govts.

Clark and Cullen have a lot to answer for; they were happy for house prices to rise because everyone felt wealthy, even though everyone earning over $60K was paying 39 cents in the dollar in tax.

True, they opened the immigration floodgate that let me in; National just left them open but nudged them slightly just beofre the election and now Labour & NZF are boasting about getting immigration to go down - actually meaning more Kiwis going to Australia. There were several reasons why house prices went up but allowing non-Kiwis to launder money into Auckland houses made thing worse.

Median was close to a million?
Get your facts right

Yes but for some reason John Key campaigned on addressing the issue, with the luxury of hindsight, and did stuff all to deal with it.

Agree, and that's why many people voted for John Key when he campaigned on fixing those issues.

Quite how that turned into "no such housing crisis" and "good problem to have" was something to behold. For that, he's accountable.

Identical to Trump's promise to "Drain the Swamp" but when he got there, (funnily enough) there was no swamp

The Man 3 or is it 4
I have to agree nothing beat the previous government
I mean where else could a new wealthy business migrant get a minister of the crown to carry out caretaker duties on the holiday home ?
NZ National it really did care

Does this mean Government can finally bring in a persuasive empty house & land banking tax.
There are thousands in Auckland that the wealthy and foreigners (particularly of Asian vernacular) brought for speculation and to park money (some laundered).
We predict this will increase housing supply significantly at less cost and opposition, help resolve our crises the tax payer has been burdened with.

So Twyford has finally realised just how outrageously difficult and expensive property development has become and why the private sector has been unable to deliver. So typical of politicians we'll create special rules and exceptions for the Government. It should be very obvious what needs to done a total overhaul applicable to the whole country to allow the market to function not just tinkering to save the COL's neck.

If we have a dozen more Committees it would speed up the process................No end.

private developers would have been doing fine-- producing economically sensible quantities of homes, if they were allowed to carry on without the interference from that came along.

Land and wealth for the aristocracy, spittle and poverty for the peasants...

House +Land +Labor+Fixtures&Fitting+Services+Taxes+30%BuildersProfit+4%AgentsFees+Inflation+Interest +
Land Scraping+ All_Profit_margins +Illusions on-all-Bank Lending....=Conjouring up Wealth from No-Where.

Nick in time...saves......Nowt.....but every bodies leverarage inflates...all....exponentially with Dreamed Up Money... plus all are cannot .......................end.

Nick would not know his ass from his elbow....being a Public Enemy number one..A Total Dream Merchant.

(Payed by by whom....I might add...I bet ...electronically).

Debt is debt...someone has to P-A-Y........or else...why do it.

Get the Picture....Get the Drift....Nuff said. I would give you Bitcoins.........except I do not have.........Any.

Buy into the fff-thanks.

Will this create an uneven playing field... The small developers will still have to pay thru the normal process and the privileged big developers will have access to the streamlined and lower cost access thru the Urban Development Housing authority.. ..???
If so...Definitely NOT how a free market should operate... and may lead to unintended consequences...

Or they could just get the f**k out of the way and let the private sector do it.

And by getting out of the way I mean just allowing developers to build. I'm an environmentalist, so used to like the RMA. Because it was initially about allowing people to do whatever they wanted as long as they didn't pollute the rivers, lakes, land, air etc.

But now of course, if you want to fart, you need a resource consent first! The act has been added to and added to so that local government has complete and utter control over everything. They like it that way. They are slow and costly.

And so what does the government need in order to build houses quickly? They need to circumvent local government. And especially it's misuse of the RMA, and it's slow bureaucratic bungling.

Which shows where the problems lie.

Yes. Why involve councils in RMA consenting or building consenting at all? Let them write the rules if you must, but even that's probably better done at a national government level. Just do not make them judge, jury and executioner too. It is a nonsense system, maybe that's the cause.

heres the solution-
1. pass laws to encourage urban infill rather than sprawling development into farm land.
2. this will take the powers away from NIMBY's who seek to limit development in urban areas where workers need housing to be close to work and not sit in traffic.
3. end result will stimulate construction in the right place, encourage home ownership, help grow the economy and maintain a healthier housing market.

Once above is done successfully, expect to see construction of new homes, particularly multi family units, grow as a result of these combined changes.

Days to the General Election: 28
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.