Parliament passed fast-track legislation yesterday to ensure 8 projects approved as special housing areas don’t lose that approval in the transition to Auckland Council’s unitary plan.
The Housing Legislation Amendment Act will also enable the special housing area process to be used in other areas for another 3 years.
Also thrown into this rushed legislation, the act amends the Housing Act 1955 so offer-back obligations under the Public Works Act 1981 don’t apply to the disposal of state housing land.
The House considered the first reading, second reading, committee stage & third reading of the bill back to back. It wasn’t sent to a select committee.
The council has approved & notified the final unitary plan and the appeal period closes next Friday, 16 September.
Building & Housing Minister Nick Smith said the law was introduced because 8 special housing areas, involving an estimated 7900 homes on 762ha of greenfield land were “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”. The new law would ensure a smooth transition.
He said the extension of the Housing Accords & Special Housing Areas Act outside Auckland was to help free up land supply in other parts of New Zealand experiencing housing pressure: “The new national policy statement on urban development will take 3 years to fully take effect and councils have requested this extension to help ensure adequate land supply.”
Dr Smith said the new law removed 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 includes 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.
“Residential building activity has grown from $5 billion/year 5 years ago to a record high of $12 billion/year. This compound growth of more than 20%/year is about as fast as you can grow a sector as large & complex as building.
“There is no silver bullet to New Zealand’s longstanding housing issues, but this bill takes a further step in the right direction. The next steps in our wide-ranging housing plan are completing the second phase of our Resource Management Act reform and introducing new law allowing urban development authorities. We also have work underway on reforming unit title law to better support apartment development, and building law reform to support innovation and improving quality assurance.”
6 September 2016: Fast law change today to fix Auckland housing accord glitch
Attribution: Ministerial release, Parliament website.