23 Feb 2013

ACT wants to remove limits on land development

9:02 pm on 23 February 2013

The ACT party is proposing to remove land development and subdivision restrictions in the Resource Management Act to improve housing affordability.

ACT leader John Banks made the announcement to the audience of more than 190 at the party's annual conference at Kaukapakapa, north of Auckland, on Saturday.

Mr Banks said the policy would reverse what he calls the anti-development presumptions of the RMA in favour of the "freedom to build".

"The freedom to build is a presumption that you can develop your property if you respect the like rights of your neighbours."

Mr Banks says that would increase the supply of land that could be built on and stimulate housing construction, which in turn would lead to an easing of house prices.

"The result would be that young people would be able to achieve home ownership if they're prepared to work hard and save hard."

Being there everything

Earlier Former ACT leader Rodney Hide told the party's annual meeting that being in Parliament is everything.

The party won just one seat at the 2011 general election.

Mr Hide, who was ousted as ACT leader before the last election, said it is important the party remained in Parliament and part of Government to make sure people have "more freedoms".

"Being there is everything for the political discourse in this country," he said.

The former MP told the conference other political parties want to spend more public money and increase regulations and said the current system is designed to trap people in poverty.

Mr Hide noted how hard ACT's leader and sole MP John Banks has to work for the party.

And he said the charter schools policy was a major gain for the party.

National too timid - Boscawen

The party's new president, John Boscawen, has criticised the National Party for its timid leadership in Government.

He told the conference National is not advocating for policy change that is good for the country because it is worried it will offend its support base.

Mr Boscawen said National severely criticised the extension of interest-free student loans in opposition, but has done little to wind the scheme back in government.

He said National will need a coalition partner, such as ACT, if it is to remain in government.