What’s going up next door?
“The ACT Party has launched a public awareness campaign about the deal Labour and National have done to allow three three-storey homes on every residential section in New Zealand’s five largest cities,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“They promise the deal will stick it to the ‘NIMBYs’ and give young homebuyers a chance. In reality, builders and councils are saying there isn’t enough infrastructure.
“It doesn’t matter how many houses could be theoretically built if there’s no connections. Trying to solve an infrastructure shortage by zoning more land is like trying to solve a fuel shortage by buying more cars.
“National and Labour are pushing forward anyway, they want to pass the law under cover of COVID-19, before Christmas, with next to no public input.
“ACT has written to National and Labour suggesting a better solution that will do less damage to existing neighbourhoods, and we need your help to promote it.
“To address these concerns, ACT has three proposals to improve this legislation:”
1. GST Sharing: ACT supports the building of new homes, and we understand that homes come with infrastructure costs that need to be met. That is why we proposed a policy to ensure that local councils receive a payment equivalent to 50 per cent of the GST for every new dwelling constructed in its territory. The policy provides both an incentive for councils to enable building, and a means of covering some of the costs that fall on them as a result. It transforms development from being a source of cost to a source of revenue.
2. Public-Private Partnerships: Tapping into private sector investment will help fund new projects faster and at less cost to New Zealanders. By using public-private partnerships, the Government can limit the cost and risk taken on by taxpayers and councils.
– Immediately fast track and seek proposals under the Infrastructure and Financing Act
– Immediately begin work to seek out and secure private capital for new infrastructure projects (ACT has supported combining Crown Infrastructure Partners and the Infrastructure Commission with this mandate, but we are open to discussion on the method of delivery).
3. Abandon the MDRS and use the existing Auckland MHS Zone to achieve intensification: ACT proposes that, instead of imposing an entirely new zone, the legislation should simply require that zones with lower intensity than those that currently exist are upzoned to Mixed Housing Suburban (MHS) and, in cities where such a zone does not exist, use the MHS zone. The exemption from Resource Consents could remain, simply using the Auckland MHS rules, and removing the restriction on further quality standards in building consents.
“The current legislation is divisive, Labour and National have promised one generation houses that councils cannot afford to service, and needlessly scapegoated another in the process. Sadly, neither National nor Labour have a good track record around housing.
“People are likely to be disappointed. They will conclude that National and Labour have both fouled up housing by themselves, but now, with their powers combined, they’re going to foul it up beyond all recognition.
“ACT wants to support good policy to solve the housing crisis. We can’t support the legislation as it currently stands.
“We are encouraging New Zealanders who share our concerns to join our campaign by signing up here, spread the word, and help put the pressure on National and Labour MPs to back down on the worst of this idea and fix the real problem of infrastructure.”
ACT’s environment spokesperson, Simon Court, says that what came out of the submissions on the Bill was that the proposed system would not replace the current consenting system but instead run parallel to it. The faster pathway to consents under the legislation would only apply to the size and shape of the house. A separate resource management consenting process would apply to everything else, including earthworks, landscaping, transport and connections to infrastructure.
“So, in fact the government hasn’t given developers and councils an easier way to consent and build. It’s created a parallel system that will add cost and cause delays and councils don’t know how to work with it.”