19 Mar 2015

Chch development requires law changes

11:15 am on 19 March 2015

The Government wants to pass special legislation to allow 600 new homes to be built on the edge of Christchurch's Riccarton Racecourse.

The development is proposed for 33 hectares of reserve land, which is held by the Christchurch Racecourse Reserve Trustees, and will require law changes to allow it to go ahead.

The land is also subject to the Treaty of Waitangi settlements, meaning Ngai Tahu received the Right of First Refusal.

Ngai Tahu Property and the racecourse trustees have agreed to a commercial partnership to develop the land.

The land is bound by two Reserve Acts and will require zoning changes.

Minister for Building and Housing, Nick Smith, said 180 of the 600 homes, would be sold for $450,000 or less, to enable first-home buyers to use the KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme.

Labour MP Poto Williams yesterday said that was still unaffordable for many, but Mr Smith rejected this.

He said he was proud of the work the Government had done to provide affordable housing in Christchurch since the earthquakes.

Mr Smith acknowledged that the law changes could make it easier in the future for more reserve land to be used for developments, but said there were no plans to do so at this stage.

The racecourse trustees first approached the Government about using the land for commercial purposes in 2012.

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