Govt welcomes latest Productivity Commission report

  • Nick Smith
Building and Housing

The Government welcomes today’s release of the Productivity Commission’s Using Land for Housing report which sets out a number of recommendations for improving planning and development systems, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says. 

“The key message from today’s report is that land supply is the critical issue undermining housing affordability. The steep increase in section prices over the past two decades – as much as fivefold in Auckland – is the core issue we must resolve if we are to give young New Zealanders a fair chance at home ownership,” Dr Smith says. 

The Government asked the Productivity Commission in September last year to review the processes used by local authorities to provide land for housing, including planning, zoning and the provision of infrastructure such as roads, parks and water. The Commission focused on 10 of the country’s largest and fastest-growing urban areas: Whangarei, Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Waikato, Wellington, Christchurch, Selwyn, Waimakariri and Queenstown-Lakes. 

“The Government already has a complementary programme of work underway, including a National Policy Statement on Urban Development, our planned second phase of reforms to the Resource Management Act, our efforts to support large-scale housing developments like those at Hobsonville and Waimahia Inlet, and the Crown land programme in Auckland. Some of the Commission’s recommendations will require changes to the way local authorities and government agencies make decisions about land use and infrastructure, and will be subject to careful consideration,” Dr Smith says. 

“A core message from this report is that restrictive planning rules come with significant costs for prospective homeowners. Every rule that limits lot sizes, designates special character areas, requires minimum balcony apartment sizes or minimum heights and which require extra design features beyond the Building Act comes at a cost. We need to subject these rules to far greater scrutiny if we are to achieve improve housing affordability. 

“I thank the members of the Commission for their work, and acknowledge the contribution made by stakeholders from local government as well as the development sector. The Government will now consider the report in detail and provide a substantive comment in coming months.” 

The report is available from: