Long-promised law changes designed to make housing in New Zealand more affordable will be unveiled today as the Government makes its second attempt at reforming the Resource Management Act.
The Treasury will release a report on changing the RMA, and Environment Minister Nick Smith will outline why amendments are needed in a speech in Nelson tomorrow.
It is understood that Dr Smith has made substantial changes from the RMA reforms put forward by previous minister Amy Adams, which stalled last term because of a lack of support.
His redrafted reforms would primarily focus on making housing in New Zealand more affordable, in particular by freeing up the supply of land for development.
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The Act Party has said it is likely to back the reforms, which means the legislation will have the numbers to pass.
But Prime Minister John Key said last year he wanted broad support for any changes. This could mean Dr Smith has shelved or softened contentious proposals.
Some of the uncontroversial changes include strict 10-day timeframes for simple consents, better guidance for councils on issues such as housing affordability and natural hazards, and fewer RMA plans.
Labour tentatively backs RMA changes which will improve housing affordability, but is uncomfortable with any proposals which reduce consultation or damage the environment.
Leader Andrew Little said yesterday: "We accept there is an issue about the need for more houses and we need to try and accelerate the process."