ACT New Zealand Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden welcomed National Party Leader Christopher Luxon’s admission that National ’got MDRS (housing density) wrong’.
Ms van Velden said, “These comments, made at a meeting in Birkenhead today, are a welcome change from just six weeks ago when National's housing spokesperson Chris Bishop told TVNZ’s Q+A “I’m not backing away from it”.
ACT has always known that the right answer is not to go over the head of local councils and allow increased density willy-nilly, but to support councils to build up density where they know it makes sense.
“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.
“That’s because it focused on changing our planning laws when we know it's not the planning laws that are the issue. If it was a matter of zoning, the problem would already be solved.
“The Auckland Unitary Plan, that came into effect in 2016 has zoning for up to 900,000 more homes. Now, the Council acting on Labour and National’s new rules is rezoning streets for development. That won't be more homes; they'll just be in a different place to where the councils had expected them to be when they were planning for communities.
“ACT has a real solution 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.
“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 their previous position.
Only ACT opposed the misguided “townhouse 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 NZ needs.