16 May 2013

Housing bill passes first hurdle under urgency

10:16 pm on 16 May 2013

Legislation that would increase the supply of land and affordability of housing has passed its first reading in Parliament under urgency.

The Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill is one of five pieces of legislation introduced to enact changes announced in the Budget on Thursday.

Housing Minister Nick Smith told Parliament on Thursday night the bill is the circuit-breaker needed to get some real pace and momentum around addressing housing affordability issues - particularly for first-home buyers.

Dr Smith said it allows for the creation of special housing areas in greenfield and brownfield areas suitable for residential development.

Legislation is required so councils can override existing planning rules and make land available sooner.

The legislation passed its first reading by 104 votes to 15, with just the Green Party opposing it.

Three bills will be passed through all stages under urgency; the other two will be sent to a select committee after they pass their first reading.

The House rose at 10pm on Thursday and MPs will resume debating bills on Friday.

Parliament is expected to sit until Saturday as the Government pushes through legislation.