The Government is extending the special housing legislation in Auckland to overcome a hiccup, and is extending it for 3 years elsewhere in the country. The law change for Auckland will be rushed through all stages in Parliament today.
In Auckland, the Government & Auckland Council signed a 3-year housing accord in 2013 enabling special housing areas to be created while the unitary plan went through its submissions & approval process. The council has approved & notified the final plan and the appeal period closes on 16 September.
Building & Housing Minister Nick Smith said yesterday 8 Auckland special housing areas with capacity for 7900 homes might not be able to progress once the unitary plan takes full effect: “They are caught in a unique situation where the plan change process is not complete, where the unitary plan does not provide for residential housing and where they would have to go back to the beginning of the plan change process to advance. This law change has the support of the Auckland Council and will ensure these housing developments can continue to progress.”
Dr Smith said interest in housing accords & special housing areas had been renewed as housing pressure spread around the country.
“The long-term tools of the national policy statement on urban development & the Resource Management Act reforms will take time to flow through into new supply, and this will enable the streamlined mechanisms for new housing to be used in the interim. The extension of the housing accords & special housings areas law includes an amendment that landowners need to take up the option within 12 months by lodging the relevant consents for housing development within that timeframe.
“The legislation also removes any uncertainty about approved housing developments under the Housing Act and the offer-back provisions of the Public Works Act. The existing Housing Act explicitly provides that state housing purposes include the building & development of housing for sale, lease or tenancy but the consequential exclusion of offer-back obligations is not explicit. Clarifying this law will ensure the momentum of the Government’s housing programme on public land involving thousands of new homes is maintained.
“New Zealand’s housing challenges require we do not allow any legislative impediments to continuing to grow supply. This law changes needs to be in effect by 16 September, so we will be progressing it through all stages in Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Attribution: Ministerial release.