Judith Collins suggests emergency powers, new zoning and funding
Auckland, April 15, 2021
Significant changes to the Resource Management Act, compulsory rezoning of Council land and additional funding and emergency powers to push throw necessary legislation are among the proposals contained in a Member’s Bill that National Party Leader Judith Collins proposes to place in the Ballot Box of Parliament this week.
Ms Collins said that she would be writing to all Members of Parliament seeking their support to enable her proposed Bill to go straight away as Order Paper rather than into the Member’s Ballot, which may or may not be picked.
She said that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern could do the right thing by adopting this Member’s Bill as government legislation to help it become law faster.
She said that the National Party is proposing an alternative solution to the housing shortage that will urgently address the country’s land supply problem and help Councils fund supporting infrastructure.
In a press statement, she said that the emergency powers to the central government will be similar to those used to hasten construction of house in Canterbury following the earthquakes and shocks experienced in 2010 and 2011 under the John Key government.
Ms Collins said that her proposal will streamline the mechanism for allocating the government’s $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund.
It would provide Councils a simple tool for funding the infrastructure needed to support new housing, pipes, roads and public transport stops.
“National does not share Labour’s view that you can tax your way out of a housing shortage. The time has come for an extraordinary solution to this unfolding emergency. We need to short circuit the faltering Resource Management Act (RMA) to get more houses built. The new Law will require all Urban Councils to immediately zone more land for housing. Such land made available would be sufficient for at least 30 years,” she said.
Limiting RMA process
Ms Collins said that the RMA appeals process would be limited to ensure that these new district plans can be completed and put in place rapidly.
She has also proposed $50,000 infrastructure grant to all local urban and rural authorities for every new dwelling to which they accord consent above their five-year historical average.
These RMA changes will expire after four years, while more fundamental changes are made to planning laws. Rural Councils would not be compelled to rezone but could utilise the new powers if they wished, she said.
Ms Collins said that her Party’s approach has a proven track record of success in Christchurch where the resulting surge in housing supply after the earthquakes saw affordability improve while it deteriorated across the rest of the country.
Helping first-home buyers
House prices rose by 7.4% annually across New Zealand from July 2014 to March 2019 but only rose by 2.9% annually in Christchurch during that time.
According to Ms Collins, swift action is needed to help first-home buyers since the housing in New Zealand is the least affordable within the OECD.
“National is the Party of home ownership. We are committed to sensible solutions that will get more New Zealanders into their own home without hitting them with more taxes.
City Councils covered
She said that the local government bodies that will be covered by her proposed Bill are the Auckland Council, Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council, Waipa District Council, Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Wellington City Council, Porirua City Council, Hutt City Council, Upper Hutt City Council, Kapiti Coast District Council, Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council, Waimakariri District Council, Whangarei District Council, Rotorua District Council, New Plymouth District Council, Napier City Council Hastings District Council, Palmerston North City Council, Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council, Queenstown Lakes District Council and Dunedin City Council.