The Labour Party has officially dumped its policies to introduce a broad capital gains tax and raise the retirement age.

Steps to remove the two policies from the party's policy platform were approved by delegates at the party's conference today.

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Labour leader Andrew Little would not rule out a comeback for the policies in the future, but said if it got into Government in 2017 it would not introduce them without campaigning on them again in a future election.


That effectively takes them off the table until at least the 2020 election.

Mr Little said the party was unlikely to reconsider the policies while it was in Opposition because the resources of Government were required to analyse the policies properly.

"We will conduct a review of our total tax system against the principle of fairness and if as a result of that we come up with a package that changes things we will go to the people with that and get a mandate to make any changes before we make any changes."

Labour had the policies for the past two elections and in the leadership contest last November, Mr Little said they were hindering Labour's chances at the polls and should be reconsidered.

He said yesterday that raising the age of eligibility had sent a signal to those who did physical work would have to work for even longer even though they were struggling to work through to 65 already.

"So we have to think about the cost of superannuation but we don't want to penalise people for it."

NZ First leader Winston Peters was opposed to the policy but Mr Little said hopes of a future coalition with that party were not a factor in the decision.

Mr Little also ruled out an inheritance tax, which was one of the proposals the conference was considering.


Labour's NZ Power policy was another to go on the chopping block at the conference after Mr Little said it was too complicated for voters to understand.

Labour would look for a simpler way to reduce power prices for consumers.

Under NZ Power, a Government-owned company was to buy power from generators and set the price of it for consumers.

Meanwhile, Labour says it will change the law so local councils can override concerns of local communities and push through plans for more apartment blocks and terraced housing in inner suburbs, especially Auckland.

Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford said restricting the use of density and height controls in inner suburbs would allow for more affordable housing.

While Auckland Council was trying to do that through its Unitary Plan, "it's facing pretty staunch opposition from some nimby groups."

"That's denying a whole generation of New Zealanders affordable housing options in areas where they want to live. We are going to say from central Government's view that affordable housing is a matter of national importance and we are going to require councils, like Auckland Council, to restrict the use of density and height controls so they can't be used to prevent affordable housing being built."

Labour planned to change the Local Government Act to restrict the use of controls and require councils to give priority to the overriding need for more affordable housing.

"It will be a reduction in the veto power of existing residents. At the moment ... they put a premium on the right of neighbours to object in a community. What we are saying is we have to take into account the whole of New Zealand and future generations who desperately need affordable housing."

The Auckland Council's Unitary Plan proposes a three-storey height limit in the residential zone near town centres and two storeys in the suburban zone.

A recent study commissioned by Auckland Council found that housing values were about one third overvalued because of a lack on intensification.

Prime Minister John Key has previously referred to 'Nimbyism' making intensification difficult in some suburbs.

Mr Twyford is also proposing to make the cost of housing in new developments cheaper by paying for the infrastructure, such as storm drains, through local government bonds.

Those would be repaid over 30 years as a targeted rate on the homeowners in the development.

He said currently those costs were either subsidised by the ratepayer or paid by developers which added the costs to the price of a new home.

"That makes housing much more expensive, often by tens of thousands of dollars. That's a barrier to people getting into their first homes. This will substantially reduce the cost of new housing."

A third measure included reforming urban growth boundaries so they did not drive up section costs.

"This will curb land bankers and speculators."