20 Oct 2021

Housing Minister on Mayors' issues with new density rules

From Morning Report, 8:14 am on 20 October 2021

The Minister of Housing is downplaying the suggestion Mayors were blindsided by new densification rules.

National and the government teamed-up to slash red tape by August 2022, with the aim of making it easier and cheaper to build new homes.

Complaints from local government include feeling blindsided by the announcement and worries about what areas will be intensified.

Auckland's Mayor Phil Goff says the $3.8 billion the Government has committed through the Housing Acceleration Fund is not enough.

"With the rate of growth that we've got and the cost of infrastructure, particularly with construction inflation, and all of the challenges that goes with that, we need a whole lot more money to be able to create the infrastructure to maximize the level of housing construction."

Woods told Morning Report there was plenty of money going into infrastructure outside of the Housing Acceleration Fund.

"Housing infrastructure is just a fancy name for roads and pipes. If you think about all the money that's gone in, we put money in through the shovel ready projects into housing infrastructure, $460 million there, there's been $6.8 billion for transport go in through NZ Up. Then, of course, there the $2.5 billion that sits within the three waters.

"What we have to do is make sure that we're getting the best value for this infrastructure as it goes in, in terms of the number of houses we're getting and the fact that we can actually start building the types of houses that are more affordable for people."

She also added councils affected by the rules would have already been working on intensification.

"What this is doing is bringing forward the National Policy Statement on Urban Development by a year.

"That is certainly something that the tier one councils have already started having to do the preparatory work on to do their accounting for how many houses are going to be needed for the projected growth in their areas.

"This is all work that was underway, and actually some of the concerns that they had, which was where they were having to balance accessibility and demand in terms of the most enabling path and we've streamlined that."