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New Zealanders deserve better than KiwiBuild 2.0 - David Seymour

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

"New Zealanders deserve better than Labour and National rushing their half-baked housing deal through Parliament under the cover of COVID-19 right before Christmas", says ACT Leader David Seymour.

"If Labour and National continue to rush the legislation, and changes aren’t made, the secret housing deal risks becoming KiwiBuild 2.0.

"The Environment Committee should be asking for an extension of time to properly consider the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill and has ACT has advocated for that.

"ACT will be moving a motion on Tuesday to recommit the Bill to the Committee. Labour and National need to support that motion so the Committee can examine the legislation properly.

"Labour and National don’t know what to do, but all of their concerns were answered in ACT’s letter to Judith Collins and Megan Woods in October.

"For example, if Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis want the legislation to deliver better design standards, all they need to do is adopt ACT’s proposal of using Auckland’s familiar and neighbour-friendly Mixed Housing Suburban Zone instead of the Medium Density Residential Standards proposed by the Bill.

"Labour and National should also support making this an omnibus bill so infrastructure funding can be included.

"Builders and councils say the real shortage is infrastructure - councils can’t afford it. It doesn't matter how many houses could be theoretically built if there’s no connections. Without more infrastructure, there won't be more houses in total, they'll just be in different places.

"ACT said all of this in our letter to Collins and Woods back in October.

"ACT rejected National and Labour’s secret deal from the get-go. It divides New Zealanders against each other and it won’t result in more houses overall.

"Labour and National failed to consult people in the industry before doing a secret deal. The policy should be dumped altogether, but their backs are against the wall and they can’t back out. They should take the time to look at ACT’s proposals to improve this legislation:

1. Extend the timeframe for consultation. The Bill has been rushed through a truncated select committee process under the cover of COVID-19.

2. GST-sharing: ACT supports the building of new homes and we understand that comes with infrastructure costs. We propose local councils receive a payment equivalent to 50 per cent of the GST for every new dwelling constructed in its territory. This provides an incentive for councils to enable building and a means of covering infrastructure costs.

3. Tap into private sector investment to fund new projects faster and at less cost. By using PPPs, the Government can limit the cost and risk taken on by taxpayers and councils.

4. Abandon the Medium Density Residential Standard and use the existing Auckland Mixed Housing Suburban Zone. Instead of imposing an entirely new zone, the legislation should require that zones with lower intensity than those that currently exist are upzoned to MHS and, in cities where such a zone does not exist, use the MHS Zone. The exemption from resource consents could remain, using the Auckland MHS rules and removing the restriction on further quality standards in building consents.

"ACT wants to support good policy to solve the housing crisis. We can’t support the legislation as it currently stands. We urge Labour and National to take this opportunity to do what’s right and make urgently needed improvements to this policy, or better yet, dump it altogether."

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