“The ACT Party is heartened to see National’s Leader recognise the mistake it made in supporting Labour with new intensification rules. ACT is ready with solutions to improve the law, solutions we put forward when the law was being debated,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“National Party Leader Christopher Luxon told media last Thursday he’d had concerns raised with him from councillors and said he was open to making amendments in Government.

“We know there is a housing shortage, but ACT has said from the get-go that National and Labour’s housing deal was not the solution. It won’t deliver the houses that it promised to a generation.

“That’s because it focused on changing our planning laws when we know it’s not the planning laws that are the issue. If it was a matter of zoning, the problem would already be solved.

“The Auckland Unitary Plan, that came into effect in 2016 has zoning for up to 900,000 more homes. Now, the Council acting on Labour and National’s new rules is rezoning streets for development. That won’t be more homes; they’ll just be in a different place to where the councils had expected them to be when they were planning for communities.

“ACT has a real solution to the housing crisis. The real issue is infrastructure financing and funding.

“Councils can’t afford it. Without more infrastructure, there won’t be more houses in total, they’ll just be in different places.

“ACT Deputy Leader and Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden has a Member’s Bill before Parliament that would introduce a GST-sharing scheme that would provide councils with more resources to cope with a growing population.

“Government would share 50 percent of the GST revenue of building a new house with the local council that issued the consent to help them cover the infrastructure costs associated with new housing developments. This would provide the environment for local councils to approve more housing consents and enable builders to build houses with less delay.

“Meanwhile, the Medium Density Residential Standard will create enormous conflict in the community. It means someone can build a three story building one metre from your boundary with no design standards. It could mean floor to ceiling windows on the third floor looking into your living room, with no thought for existing homeowners.

“ACT proposed at the time, and proposes now, important changes to the law. The Medium Density Residential Standard should be replaced with Auckland’s Mixed Housing Suburban zone. ACT put up this amendment when the law was debated last year, we still have it ready to go.

“The MHS still allows more intensification than the status quo, but with design standards that are sympathetic to existing neighbourhoods and property owners. That would be a far more sensible approach than imposing the MDRS on the whole country.

“ACT also proposes that councils be able to unilaterally exempt areas from intensification beyond their current plans by allowing them to identify infrastructure as a Qualifying Matter in certain areas. The alternative is that we’ll get sewage in the streets when intensification happens where councils had asked people not to intensify for that very reason.

“These simple changes would put us in a much better place to go forward as a more united, less divided community, with more housing built for the next generation. We welcome National backing down on their previous position.

“If National is serious about making practical solutions that will get more houses built, it will support our bill and the other positive proposals we have put forward.”