ACT welcomes National housing spokesperson Chris Bishop getting back on the right side of housing policy. Chris broke ranks from the Labour-National housing deal just six weeks after he said he wouldn’t on the same show, and it’s a welcome reversal,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Housing Spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Everything ACT said about the Labour-National housing deal 18 months ago has come true. Overruling council zoning with the three-three storey housing, or MDRS, rule was always silly. Pepper potting development won’t get more homes built faster, just in different places that are harder for councils to service.

“The right answer is to leave planning to councils, incentivise them to allow development by sharing GST on construction, then streamline the many unnecessary regulatory barriers to building within areas that are already zoned for development. What National now proposes is a complicated version of this policy.

“Letting councils set variable rates to capture value uplift from infrastructure is a long-term ACT policy. Using special purpose vehicles to fund and finance infrastructure is a policy our Infrastructure Spokesperson Simon Court has promoted for years. When it’s all said and done, the answers turn out to be what ACT proposed all along.

“National got caught up in Labour’s style of political theatre over substance, and sanity returned only after encouragement from ACT. This is why New Zealand needs ACT as National’s conscience in the next Government. Without ACT, there would be no difference between left and right. ACT is clear and consistent on good policy.

ACT’s policy conscience will be needed if New Zealand is going to truly offer the next generation a pathway to a property-owning democracy. There is still work to do implementing better policy.

“National says councils will need to plan for 30 years of housing growth. Auckland already has 30 years of growth. The Auckland Unitary Plan, that came into effect in 2016 has zoning for up to 900,000 more homes.

“Any council can say it nominally has 30 years capacity, but planning laws aren’t the issue. If it was a matter of zoning, the problem would already be solved. That’s why we need to deal with infrastructure funding.

ACT’s policy is to share $1.2 billion in GST revenue every year from housing development with councils so they have more resources to build the infrastructure needed to facilitate new housing development. Now National has announced a $1 billion fund to incentivise new housing.

“We know there is a housing shortage, but ACT has said from the get-go that National and Labour’s housing deal was not the solution. It won't deliver the houses it promised.

ACT has the real solutions to the housing crisis:

  • Share GST from construction projects with councils so they have more resources to build the infrastructure needed to facilitate new housing development;
  • Replace the Medium Density Residential Standard with Auckland’s Mixed Housing Suburban zone. The MHS allows more intensification, but with design standards that are sympathetic to existing neighbourhoods and property owners;
  • Allow councils to unilaterally exempt areas from intensification where they face infrastructure challenges, so we don’t get sewage in the streets and other problems;
  • Replace the RMA with property rights based legislation, including allowing street votes where neighbours can voluntarily up-zone their street if they choose
  • Reforming quality control on new builds so that innovative materials and techniques can be used without Council inspection so long as they are reliably privately insured.

“These simple changes would put us in a much better place to go forward as a more united, less divided community, with more housing built for the next generation. We welcome National backing down on its previous position.

“Only ACT opposed the misguided ‘three-three storey housing bill’ at the time, and without ACT pointing out the truth there would be no difference between left and right. ACT is clear and consistent on good policy – that’s the real change New Zealand needs.”

Press Contact

[email protected]