4 Nov 2014

Christchurch planning rules 'inadequate'

5:07 pm on 4 November 2014

The Government says the Christchurch City Council's proposed new planning rules are inadequate and fail to encourage the building of much-needed affordable homes.

Quake damage has left Christchurch with a chronic housing shortage.

Quake damage has left Christchurch with a chronic housing shortage. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The criticism is contained in its submission on the Proposed Christchurch Replacement District Plan.

The Government said the majority of the 15,000 homes lost in the February 2011 earthquake were in the affordable category, but the proposed new rules fail to make it easier for this sort of housing to be built.

It said more encouragement is needed for medium density housing in brown fields areas and that the complexity and prescriptiveness of the rules would unnecessarily impede development.

The Government said the council was more interested in making sure that buildings match the aesthetic of the surrounding environment than recognising the importance of industrial development.

Council seeks to ensure HNZ funds

The Christchurch City Council wants to know if the Government remains open to its plan to access Housing New Zealand funds to help maintain its social housing stock.

The South Island city has a chronic housing shortage after the quakes made many council owned houses uninhabitable.

A rental subsidy the Government has previously reserved for Housing New Zealand is being made available to other community housing providers.

The council is keen to tap into that money and is setting up a not-for-profit company to which it can lease its housing stock.

Housing committee chairman, councillor Glenn Livingstone, said before the general election in September that Housing Minister Nick Smith had said the council would be eligible for the subsidy.

The council wants to make sure that is still the case after the election.

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