Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Budget 2013: Govt to work with councils on housing planning and consents

Photo / Herald on Sunday
Photo / Herald on Sunday

The Government will wrestle housing planning and consent processes from councils if they don't act fast enough to free up land for houses, under legislation introduced with the Budget today.

The Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill "will enable the Government to work urgently with councils on streamlining resource consents for new housing developments in areas of poor housing affordability", Housing Minister Nick Smith said.

The legislation enables the housing deal struck with Auckland Council last week to be extended to other councils throughout the country.

The legislation will apply for three years and will allow for "special housing areas" to be agreed between government and councils, allowing local authorities to issue consents faster.

"If an accord cannot be reached in an area of severe housing unaffordability, the Government can intervene by establishing special housing areas and issuing consents for developers", Dr Smith said.

He described it as "an immediate and short-term response to housing pressures in areas facing severe housing affordability problems".

It would provide a short-term fix until the Government's changes to the Resource Management Act and subsequent council planning processes result in a longer-term solutions.

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- NZ Herald

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