The high cost of housing in New Zealand - Auckland especially - is caused by Resource Management Act red tape, says ACT Party leader Don Brash.

Home prices had outstripped Canada, Ireland, Britain and the United States, he told the party's Auckland regional conference today.

Only Australian houses were still more expensive.

"Once upon a time, people came here from Britain with the promise of being land owners. Today, New Zealanders would find housing more affordable if they left here for there.''


He said land immediately inside the Auckland metropolitan urban limit was eight to 13 times more expensive than land just outside the urban limit.

And New Zealand house prices had doubled since the introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991. Brash said it allowed people with no financial interest in land to dictate what owners could build on their property.

"There's absolutely no shortage of land but the myriad of constraints placed on its use has strangled the supply of land available for people to build their lives and their homes.''

Brash said ACT would amend the Bill of Rights Act to protect property owners' rights.

- Herald on Sunday/APNZ