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National proposes urgent housing emergency changes to accelerate builds

The National Party wants to give local councils $50,000 for each new home it consents above its average number, put in place emergency powers to speed up building and to make all urban councils immediately zone for at least 30 years of new growth. 

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Judith Collins’ bill would effectively put in place emergency powers similar to those used to speed up construction after the Canterbury earthquakes. Source: Breakfast

Leader Judith Collins' proposed changes would put in place powers similar to those used to speed up house builds following the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

It also wants an infrastructure grant of $50,000 would be provided to urban and rural authorities for every new build they consent above their five-year historical average.

Collins accused the Government of placing too much of a focus on trying to control demand rather than fixing the "core" issue of supply. 

"The time has come for an extraordinary solution to this unfolding emergency. We need to short circuit the faltering RMA to get more houses built."

The Government recently pumped $3.8 billion into housing supply to boost development, made more first home buyers eligible for grants and loans and doubled the bright-line test. 

Collins said swift action was needed to help first-home buyers, with New Zealand’s housing market now the least affordable in the OECD.

Collins intended to write to all MPs to get support for her proposal for her Member's Bill. If it does not get support, it will go into the Member's Ballot which only is debated in Parliament if it is pulled out. 

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The proposed law would require all urban councils to immediately zone more land for housing. Source: Breakfast

Speaking on Breakfast this morning, Collins said she hoped the bill would at least pass its first reading so that it could go to select committee for scrutiny. 

"We just don’t have enough urgency from the Government in a time where, basically, not enough housing is costing us $4 billion a year. Worse than that, families are bringing up their kids in motels."

Collins said it was not about "crashing" the housing market. Instead, she said, it is about tackling housing affordability in a "careful and managed way". 

National's housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says the changes would "remove the artificial land use constraints and endless red tape that have prevented our cities growing up and out as fast as they need".

"This bill gives councils permission – in fact it requires them – to say ‘yes’ to housing development and to get as much new housing built as they can as soon as is possible," she says.

Andrew Bayly, National's spokesperson for infrastructure, says it's the sensible move. 

"The Government says its $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund will deliver 80,000 to 130,000 houses over 20 years. But this only equates to between $29,000 and $48,000 per house," he said in a statement. 

"This sensible move can be done right now to address the housing shortage and help first-home buyers."

The Government have been approached for comment. 

Government's housing package pumps $3.8b into supply, doubles bright-line test, expands first home buyer eligibility

On March 23 the Government announced it would pump almost $4 billion into New Zealand's housing supply in an effort to address the housing crisis.

Ardern described it as "a package of both urgent and long-term measures that will increase housing supply, relieve pressure on the market and make it easier for first-home buyers".

"The housing crisis is a problem decades in the making that will take time to turn around, but these measures will make a difference."