Councils told to abide by Govt's national policy over housing crisis, or face action

It's no silver bullet, but councils have been given strong directives by the Government over what it wants them to do to tackle the housing crisis.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith has today released the Government's National Policy Statement on housing.

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Dr Smith says the biggest problem with housing affordability is the price of land and land supply in Auckland.

He also says it is a legal requirement that councils must do what the National Policy Statement tells them to or they will face action.

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He says the country should "take a breath" and wait for Auckland's Unitary Plan to be released before any talk is made of any legal action the government might take.

"The government is not telling councils whether they should grow up or grow out, what we are telling them to do is to make sure the total of that meets capacity growth," Mr Smith said.

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He denies the statement is "going soft" on councils.

"I have total confidence Auckland Council will comply with the law," he said.

"The problems of housing affordability goes back many decades.

"Any politician that says there's a magic silver bullet or a simple answer is pulling the wool over your eyes. These are the long term, well researched answers."

Dr Smith says this is just part of a broader plan of measures.

"If there was an easy solution, it would have been found long before now."

He also says the cost of the water, sewer, stormwater and the footpaths associated with the required new developments should be paid for by the developer.

Submissions on the draft plan will now be open until July 15.

Councils will be required to:

- Provide sufficient land for new housing to match with projected growth

- Monitor and respond to housing affordability, building and resource consent data and value of land in the urban boundaries

- Over supply housing by about 20 percent in the medium term so as to ensure competition

- Councils must work together to coordinate infrastructure and ensure consenting processes are "customer focused".

- When considering projects housing affordability and land supply must be considered alongside "local interests".