ACT Leader John Banks today congratulated the Minister of Housing for agreeing with ACT that land prices for residential housing were absurdly high in Auckland because land supply was too tightly constrained.
Freeing up the supply of land is the only rational answer to this problem and ACT fully supports Nick Smith’s focus on easing the Metropolitan Urban Limit,” Mr Banks said.
“The Productivity Commission report into housing affordability found that in Auckland, land accounts for approximately 60 per cent of the cost of a new home. Outside of Auckland, land only accounts for 40 per cent of a new home.
“In other words, Aucklanders are paying a 20 per cent premium on land as a result of Auckland Council’s urban planning policies.
“This isn’t fair – and the Council’s plan to constrain 60 – 70 per cent of all new development within the current MUL will only make it worse.
“ACT believes New Zealanders should be able to choose for themselves where they want to live – whether that be in intensified, compact apartments close to the city, or on the city fringes in a home with their own bit of lawn. The role of the Council plan is to enable lifestyle choices of Aucklanders rather than dictate them.
“ACT’s Freedom To Build policy provides a blueprint for RMA reform which would restore private property rights and free up restrictions on land supply.
“We are pleased Housing Minister Nick Smith supports the principles of ACT’s policy and we hope he encourages Environment Minister Amy Adams of the need to go further with the proposed RMA reforms,” Mr Banks said.
Today's comments by Labour leader David Shearer and Green MP Holly Walker prove that neither Labour nor the Greens have any interest in addressing the real cause of housing unaffordability - the lack of land supply, ACT Leader John Banks said today.'
“David Shearer bizarrely asserts that increasing the freedom to build would increase red tape. How does this make sense and since when did Labour oppose increasing red tape? Labour put around 30,000 pages of new legislation on the books between 2000 and 2009 – by far the largest number in any decade in the history of New Zealand,” Mr Banks said.
“Labour could demonstrate its road-to-Damascus conversion to opposing red tape is genuine by publicly supporting the Regulatory Standards Bill that was recommended by the high-powered Regulatory Responsibility Taskforce. The Bill would oblige new and existing regulations to be tested against sound principles more rigorously than in any time in New Zealand’s history.
“As for the Greens, their assertion that freeing up the supply of land would make housing less affordable is, if anything, even more incoherent than Labour’s statement. At least they deserve credit for consistency in that respect.
“The Greens are staunchly opposed to the reasonable desire of most New Zealanders to own a house with a bit of green land around it for the kids to play on, the whole family to enjoy a summer BBQ, and off-street parking. They want to force New Zealanders to intensify but New Zealanders don’t want the chicken coop high rise living that the Greens want to force on them and their families.
“ACT’s Freedom To Build will address the key cause of housing unaffordability – land supply. It will give families the choice to live in an affordable home with a bit of green land, or in an apartment if that’s what suits them best,” Mr Banks said.
ACT's Freedom To Build policy can be found here
Green co-leader Russel Norman’s response to ACT’s Freedom To Build policy shows he clearly doesn’t understand basic economics, says ACT Leader John Banks.
The Green Party today claimed that ACT’s Freedom To Build policy would not address the real issues faced by New Zealanders on housing affordability. This is wrong.
High prices reflect lack of supply. The ridiculously high land values we are seeing in Auckland are due to the artificial shortage of residential housing and the RMA is the key culprit” Mr Banks said.
In 1980, the ratio of median house price to median income was around two to one – today it is 5.3 to 1. The primary cause of the problem is the Resource Management Act.
“Since its introduction 23 years ago it has become a 900 page job and investment destroying machine. Red tape, restrictions, vague language, and urban limits have driving up the price of land, causing house prices to soar.
“Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Auckland where land two kilometres inside the Metropolitan Urban Limit is 8.65 times more expensive than land two kilometres outside it.
"ACT’s Freedom to Build policy would restore the presumption that land owners have the right to develop their property, so long as they are respecting the like rights of their neighbours.
"It will also address the RMA’s often conflicting provisions which lead to uncertainty, ever increasing costs, and the tipping of power into the hands of local authorities rather than land owners.
“The Green’s idea of solving the problem uses taxpayers’ money to subsidise a select few into a home. It would lift demand even further without doing anything to free up the supply of land and would make land even more expensive.
“It might make the Green’s celebrity backers and other wealthy supporters feel wealthier, but it won’t help those who don’t yet own land.
"Home ownership is becoming an unattainable goal for far too many New Zealanders and it’s the RMA that is holding them back. ACT believes it’s time we reintroduced the Freedom To Build,” Mr Banks said.
You can view ACT's Freedom To Build policy here