Bill to boost housing supply passes

Legislation to cut red tape for more new housing has passed in Parliament with cross-party support that provides an enduring solution to fixing New Zealand’s housing crisis.

The changes to the Resource Management Act enable much-needed homes to be built faster in our biggest cities, Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods and Environment Minister David Parker said.

People can build up to three homes of up to three storeys on most sites without the need for a resource consent, from August next year.

“Passing this legislation with support from the National Party, the Green Party and the Maori Party delivers stable, enduring policy on urban density. This gives New Zealand homeowners, councils, developers and investors greater certainty,” Megan Woods said.

“These changes address the overly restrictive planning rules that limit the types of homes people can build and where they can build them. These changes to the Resource Management Act will allow more affordable homes to be built more easily in areas with good access to jobs, transport, and community facilities like schools and hospitals.

“The cost benefit analysis from PwC and Sense Partners showed these changes will have a significant impact on supply, with tens of thousands of additional homes in our largest cities over the next five to eight years.

“Having seen a large increase in townhouses and units consented in Auckland in recent years, we know the construction sector is ready and able to deliver this kind of housing,” Megan Woods said.

“Housing intensification is critical to accelerating housing supply. It also has a range of benefits, including smarter use of land and less urban sprawl, more accessible public transport, more even growth across cities, and multi-generational ways of living,” Environment Minister David Parker said.

“There has been robust public discussion on this legislation. Submissions to the Environment Select Committee have contributed to improvements including a reduced height in relation to boundary, increased outdoor living spaces, and new landscaping and glazing requirements,” he said.

“It was good to see the committee also recommended changes to make it clear councils can continue to plan and manage infrastructure as they do currently. This means they can influence how housing development is delivered in line with how they provide infrastructure.

“The Bill’s new streamlined process will enable tier 1 councils in Auckland, greater Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch to implement the National Policy Statement for Urban Development from August 2023, at least a year earlier than under the current timeline.

“The focus now turns to implementation, with tier 1 councils required to publicly notify the new rules enabling intensification in their plans by 20 August 2022,” David Parker said.

The Ministry for the Environment and Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development will provide implementation support to councils. They will also develop a national medium density design guide, in consultation with local government and stakeholders.