National is sticking to its guns over radical plans for greater intensification after copping criticism that the reforms will turn communities into slums.
National's housing spokesman Nicola Willis says people have nothing to fear, saying the new housing will meet the quality standards in the Building Act and Building code.
A coalition of National and Labour are rushing the Housing Supply Bill through Parliament before Christmas to allow landowners to build three houses on a section without resource consent.
At 1 metre from the boundary, houses can reach two storeys, and further into the site up to three storeys (11m plus 1m for a pitched roof). There is no requirement to provide parking.
Auckland MPs, especially those in the leafier suburbs, have been copping it from constituents. It does not help that the Act Party opposes it - yet another lure for erstwhile National-voting people to go to act, says Herald political editor Claire Trevett.
National's MP for North Shore, Simon Watts, has come in for criticism on the Devonport Local Facebook Group, with one constituent saying the unintended consequences of the bill will have a massive impact on the community, "mark my words".
"They are going to turn our beautiful 'family centric' communities into a communist-era slum metropolis, unless it is stopped ... it will leave a massive psychological scar on the community lasting decades," he said.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is another critic who believes the bill will create slums of the future, particularly in low-income areas.
Another member of the Devonport page said Act's leadership and commonsense in opposing the bill showed how the party was eclipsing National at every turn.
Referring to growing speculation of a leadership spill, the man said: "Bring on Simon (Bridges) and Erica (Stanford), but they must immediately discontinue support for this arcane bill."
In response to the feedback, Watts said he had spoken to a large number of locals in the community and urged people to make a submission on the bill, saying it is "really important we provide our local feedback to the Government". Submissions close today.
The Herald understands Willis and other senior National MPs have faced similar criticism over the bill from party members in Auckland, who believe it is unnecessary when the Unitary Plan is working well and delivering record numbers of building consents, mostly for multi-unit homes.
The bill will apply to all suburban land in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.
The bill's medium density residential standards(MDRS) are similar to the mixed housing urban zone in the Auckland Unitary Plan, which allows for three-storey houses.
The MDRS will also apply in Auckland's single storey, and mixed housing suburban zones, which generally allow for one or two-storey standalone homes.
Willis said National continues to support the bill, saying it will cut red tape, allow for more much-needed housing and reduce the costs, complexity and delays associated with the consenting process.
She said the bill applies the quality standards in the Building Act and Building Code, including requirements for natural light, ventilation, amenities and other matters.
"Nothing in the Housing Supply Bill removes, reduces or changes design and quality standards contained in the Building Act or Building Code. All homes built under the new Housing Supply Bill will need to meet these existing standards in order to get a building consent," she said.
Willis anticipated some "positive amendments" will result from the parliamentary process.
Senior council planner John Duguid has said the focus of both Labour and National is really about bulk and location, not architecture and design.
He said the implications are contrary to achieving a quality compact city and make it more difficult to provide transport, water and community infrastructure.
Not everyone on the Devonport Locals Facebook Group opposes the bill.
"This bill is fantastic," said one person.
"It will address climate change issues caused by urban sprawl, open up space for nature, make cities more affordable and accessible for people, provide affordable housing, and create close-knit communities."