National and Labour did a secret deal to allow three three-storey homes on every residential section in our five largest cities. The parties promise to stick it to the 'NIMBYs' and give young home buyers a chance, but builders and councils say there isn't enough infrastructure. It doesn't matter how many houses could be theoretically built if there's no connections. ACT wrote to National and Labour suggesting better solutions that will do less damage to neighbourhoods.
The ‘Medium Density Residential Standard’ will create enormous conflict in the community. It means someone can build a three-story building one metre from your boundary with no design standards and there's nothing you can do about it. It could mean floor to ceiling windows on the third floor looking into your living room, with no thought for existing homeowners.
Auckland Council created this artist's impression of what that looks like:
The law won’t increase housing supply. The real shortage is infrastructure. Councils can’t afford it. Without more infrastructure, there won't be more houses in total, they'll just be indifferent places.
Housing affordability is a real problem, but Labour and National’s plan won’t work, and ACT has a better alternative. Read our solutions here.
Labour and National are in danger of failing to deliver and creating division. ACT agrees there’s a housing crisis and we want to support good policy to solve it
The next Government will have to fix the housing mess that ACT predicted, and has solutions to.
1. Brooke van Velden has legislation before Parliament that would introduce a GST-sharing scheme that would share 50per cent of the GST revenue of building a new house with the local council that issued the consent to help them cover the infrastructure costs associated with new housing developments. This would provide the environment for local councils to approve more housing consents and enable builders to build houses with less delay.
2. Instead of imposing an entirely new zone, require that zones with lower intensity than those that currently exist are up-zoned to Mixed Housing Suburban (MHS) and, in cities where such a zone does not exist, use MHS. ACT put up this amendment when the law was debated last year, and we still have it ready to go. The MHS still allows more intensification than the status quo, but with design standards that are sympathetic to existing neighbourhoods and property owners. That would be a far more sensible approach than imposing the MDRS on the whole country.
3. Councils should be able to unilaterally exempt areas from intensification beyond their current plans by allowing them to identify infrastructure as a ‘Qualifying Matter’ in certain areas. The alternative is that we’ll get sewage in the streets when intensification happens where councils had asked people not to intensify for that very reason.
4. Seek and fast-track proposals under theInfrastructure and Financing Act to secure private capital for new infrastructure projects.
These simple changes would put using a much better place to go forward as a more united, less divided community, with more housing built for the next generation.