19 Sep 2012

Govt to change RMA to free up residential land

6:27 am on 19 September 2012

The Government intends to change the Resource Management Act to make more residential land available in an effort to curb rising house prices.

But Opposition parties say that on its own will not make houses more affordable - particularly in Auckland.

Rising house prices in Auckland have renewed fears that New Zealand's largest city might be in the middle of a property boom.

Finance Minister Bill English admits it's a worry, and says the Government will respond to the Productivity Commission report on affordable housing in late October.

"We're working right now on what we can do about housing affordability because we don't want to see a market take off if it's just a product of not having enough new land or denser housing to meet the demand."

The Government's response will include making changes to the Resource Management Act and local government legislation to free up land for development.

But the Labour Party's housing spokesperson, Annette King, says Auckland mayor Len Brown has told her there has already enough land available in the city to build 18,000 new homes now.