Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Labour support speeds homes bill

Possibility of affordability law having to wait prompts pledge of backing

The proposed legislation would limit charges a council can impose on a housing developer. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The proposed legislation would limit charges a council can impose on a housing developer. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Government is hoping to pass home affordability legislation to limit council charges on developers in the eight sitting days left before the election after political sniping prompted Labour to offer unconditional support for the bill.

As part of measures to drive down home building costs, the Government has been working on the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill which would narrow the charges councils could impose on developers.

Prime Minister John Key said on Monday that the bill would not pass before the election because Labour opposed it and with Act's John Banks gone from Parliament, the vote was locked at 60-60.

But Labour leader Cunliffe yesterday said that was untrue and Labour, which had voted for the legislation at the first and second readings, would support it.

Associate Local Government Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga said the Government had received "mixed signals" from Labour over the bill, but welcomed its support.

"If there is legislative time I'm certainly going to hopefully progress the bill to third reading and we'll get it passed."

Labour's housing spokesman, Phil Twyford, said the Government was playing politics over the bill and whether it could be passed this term.

"They never asked us or approached us for our support even though we'd supported it at first and second readings, now they've done a complete flip flop and they say they are going to try to pass it before the election.

"They're playing politics with the issue of Auckland's growth and housing."

But Local Government NZ president Lawrence Yule said he was surprised to hear of Labour's support for the bill's final reading.

While Auckland Council had warned that reductions in development contributions could saddle ratepayers with higher rates and more debt to fund community facilities, Mr Yule said his members largely welcomed the legislation.

- NZ Herald

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