Twyford to let law allowing for Special Housing Areas expire, as he focuses on beefing up central government's ability to cut through local planning rules 

Twyford to let law allowing for Special Housing Areas expire, as he focuses on beefing up central government's ability to cut through local planning rules 

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford won’t extend the former government’s Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act beyond its expiry in September.

The legislation was introduced by Nick Smith in 2013 as an interim measure to improve housing affordability until changes to the Resource Management Act were made, and in Auckland’s case, the Unitary Plan became operative.

It allowed central government and councils to sign accords creating Special Housing Areas, where developments could be streamlined.

Twyford said that although the law increased housing supply in some areas, it hadn’t led to more affordable housing.

“Research found that in some cases houses were 5% more expensive inside Special Housing Areas than outside them,” he said.

“Our Government recently considered extending this legislation, but on balance, the benefits did not outweigh the costs.

“Therefore no new Special Housing Areas will be able to be established after 16 September this year.

“Those being set up before this time will have two years to have their consents fast-tracked. There will be no change to the consenting process for those Special Housing Areas which are already established.”

Twyford said his focus was on setting up 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 key difference between the Authority and Special Housing Areas, is that the former will see the Government take responsibility for building homes, while the latter leaves this to the free market.

The Authority will have access to a wide range of statutory powers to do the following:

  • 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.

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

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33 Comments

Wow, one of the few things that’s actually helped get Housing supply moving moving, and Twyford is binning it? The guy’s a genius.

Not invented here syndrome. A hallmark of people who lack confidence in their own abilities.

I voted Labour (this time), but never had any confidence in this guy. I think he's a phoney. And not very clever. The sooner he is demoted, the better.

Twyford is in such a big hole he should just stop digging now .

You have to laugh at the part that reads " will see the Government take responsibility for building homes,"

W........... T ........... F ?

This Government simply does not have the capacity , managerial ability, skills , people , systems, money , resources or trade labour-force to embark on a major public works program to build 1/10th of a million affordable homes, as they envisage .

These politicians are delusional and voters who think it can be done are dreaming.

Agree.
But, I actually totally support the notion of Kiwibuild. I believe the government has a key role to play in building much more houses. One can criticise the government's ablity to build houses, but one can also do the same of the private sector, who in NZ have been shown to be pretty poorly performing in terms of construction timeliness, budget and quality,
BUT....I was always skeptical of this government's ability to perform in this area. Especially given the minster in charge...But that doesn't mean they can't do much better.

The only reason the private sector hasn't built enough is that it's totally constrained by the public sector i.e. councils.

And planners in particular Fritz.

Their regulations are a direct result of existing house-owners not wanting to lose their 'assets'. Hence all the regulations post leaky-homes.

But the cornucopian ignorance (of the fact that you cannot have exponential growth forever) doesn't excuse those who blame this or that 'other' thing. Global physical growth is nearly over now - and if you factor in entropy, it's past. Even the infrastructure we have now is unsustainable. Yet we still get all sides bleating 'more'.

SHA's are being canned as they are private not public mechanisms, Ideology trumps pragmatism again but the victim is those who don't own a house as its only increasing supply over demand that will help them.

Twyford needs to step aside and let someone who understands basic arithmetic (and actually cares about lower income people) to do the job.

Tell me Fritz...will you vote for labour next time?

Don't know :)
I've voted for at least 4 parties in my life, I am not a party loyalist, I vote on the performance of the incumbent, policies, the offering of the alternatives etc etc.
Labour have done some good things so far, but the jury is still out for me.
But National do not look promising at this point.

So they can everything , and replace it with .............. nothing

Canned National's 95% measles immunization target and replaced it with ........nothing .... now was have an epidemic

Canned the measurement of school kids performance and replaced it with ...........nothing , who knows the long term effect of this

Canned the only thing that was fast -tracking house -building , and replaced it with .......... well nothing that makes any sense

Agree on this. :)

Fritz, seriously, what are these good things that Labour have done??????

Foreign buyer ban.
Extending bright line test.
Pulling back immigration (Even if it's not enough)
Increase in minimum wage.

@Fritz None of those are really worth mentioning .......

The foreign buyer ban is not effective , they are using fronts and local entities , syndicates or corporate trustees , and its 100% legal

The Bright line test extension is meaningless , it just means you will be treated as a property trader if you sell an investment in less than 5 years AND you make a profit in excess of holding costs , and other outgoings . Most if not all investors dont make anything in excess of costs in the first 60 months due to negative gearing allowances

Immigration is still too high

The minimum wage increase was no better in % terms than that done by John Key's government

So what has Labour actually achieved ?

"they are using fronts". Please provide evidence please. Also how can you really give evidence its not working after only 3 months data...

@Trapped...They have been using "fronts" and syndicates to buy property here for ages , mostly to avoid registering as taxpayers with IRD .

The Modus is ....they get an elderly front-man or old lady with zero income , who is resident here on the extended family visa , cant speak English , and is actually a baby sitter for the grand-kids ( this is done to avoid the cost of early child -care ) He or she is the "buyer" of the property

Or they just do it crookedly :-

Google the name AUGUSTINE LAU and you will see what some of these folk have been up to

It’s almost as if by giving the HUD authority these extra powers they realise a big part of what the current building issues are...
Now if they would only allow the gen pop to have the same but alas, one rule for them, another for us.

This is the difference between how Labour operate, and others.

And what we have at present is not a free market, rather it is a system that is being run more by private bureaucracy.

All Labour are proposing is to swap one master for another but the underlying bureaucracy ie the cultural institutionalization driven behavior which perpetuates the system - will not change.

Housing will not be anymore affordable, in fact is likely to become more expensive relative to what is could have been.

A so-called 'free market' just reinforces wealth extremities - ending in monopolies.

Been there, moved past that intellectually. It also, of course, trashes the planet en route to collapse. I feel mildly sorry for the idealogues still back in the neo-lib dark ages.

If you have a look at most monopolies they have government advantage somewhere. There are a few which can achieve monopoly status without help but not many.
Anyway, the free market is just a pricing mechanism. I thought what you would be against would be our financial system, forced inflation, too big to fail and credit creation?

That's it in a nutshell. HUD's ability to give the middle finger to the Plannerista and Zonerators, and just get on with the build is the key. But the build itself is still constrained by the same ol', same ol':

  • BRANZ stickers required on every component despite the cheaper alternatives having proved themselves everywhere from WA to Alaska
  • The Materials Cartel, keeping prices, profits and C-suite salaries high at the expense of customers, who have no alternatives
  • Construction methods to which a 19th century builder would have no problem adapting, after an initial week of gawping at the power tools and adhesives now ubiquitous

Agreed. There’s layers upon layers of inefficiencies to put it kindly. How did we get here? Put a frog in cold water and slowely heat it up I suppose?

Now NZ is adding an entirely new layer. The HUD's shall provide another (higher paid and more powerful) employment opportunity to the "Plannerista and Zonerators", and just get on with a new layer of planning.

This is infuriating. They should have doubled down on the SHA model, but only if homes were built to the same spec as the terraces at Hobsonville Pt. Create a budget line and let developers rebate consenting fees through it; provided they are sold at certain prices.

Terrible idea - high density in farmland doesn't make sense when you have to drive everywhere anyway. There have been massive drops in value in this sort of thing in Aussie recently.

I'm not proposing it in the middle of nowhere; but using it as a tool to add cheap land on the urban fringe with well-designed density is different to just jamming in hundreds of apartments.

In Auckland that could be in the Takanini/Ardmore area:
- Land is flat and cheap.
- Land is adjacent to a transport corridor with several $billion spent in upgrades.
- Suburban development is of course banned by the council (until 2042), because Auckland Council wants us to build on a hill above Orewa or around Pukekohe or Kumeu.

Phil my dear boy just order the remaining 9,967 houses off Alibaba now and be done with it. Also order some double axle trailers to put them on because apparently New Zealand, a country with more sheep than people, has a run out of land.

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

Bubble sinking... must inflate bubble. Reaches for taxpayer's back pocket.

Perhaps this Architectural Idea from past decades is worth a re-run....

1) 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; - I don't agree at all. There are more than enough houses/sites where titles can be amalgamated & higher density implemented.

2) The UDA is needed, but needed as a short term measure only to get the building supply up. However there is no way that the private sector should be left to face the local planning rules while the public sector UDA can ride roughshot over them. This is pure insanity. The RMA has to be reformed as well so the private sector can operate on the same playing field.

3) The government's main focus needs to be on providing housing to the poor and homeless and those living in garages (no profit for private sector). Free up the RMA, decrease the immigration rate to something sustainable and let the private sector provide housing where it can make a profit.

So the HUDA will concentrate on Phil boy's pet projects and all the private developers will be back to the widely acknowledged non working RMA and slow local body bureaucracy. Naturally the HUDA will only work on areas with high numbers of Labour voters like Auckland and Canterbury and any National voting areas like Nelson will be disadvantaged. I may as well appeal to Chairman Mao and Great Leader Kim for permission to house non party members.