The closing days of this term of government have some usual features – last-minute passing of laws – and some unusual ones arising from the nature of the coalition government.
The biggest call as far as the property sector is concerned is the national policy statement on urban development (or NPS-UD), one of a long list of policies & laws the Government released yesterday.
Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford & Environment Minister David Parker said, in their reasoning on the policy statement yesterday:
“Poor quality & restrictive planning has stopped our cities & communities from growing up & out.
“It has driven up the price of land & housing, and been a big driver behind the housing crisis. When overly restrictive planning creates an artificial scarcity of land on the outskirts of our cities, or floorspace because of density limits in our city centres, house prices are driven up and people are denied housing options.
“The national policy statement on urban development will direct councils – particularly in the 5 high growth centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington & Christchurch – to free up their planning rules while focusing on well-functioning neighbourhoods & communities.
“The new approach to planning through the national policy statement will allow better connections to transport & other amenities so our cities can flourish & better support their residents. We know New Zealand can create high & medium density communities with good urban design & open spaces.
“The new rules will better help our urban ecosystems to develop & expand in a way that makes cities more liveable and protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment & highly productive land.
“Later this month, an announcement will be made on the timeline for the companion national policy statement for highly productive land (NPS-HPL), which will ensure that highly productive land for food & fibre production is not permanently lost to developments without considering other options.”
The new national policy statement under the Resource Management Act replaces the national policy statement on urban development capacity, which the previous government introduced in 2016.
Urban Development Bill aims at more publicly managed housing programmes
The second new move on yesterday’s list was the Urban Development Bill, which Mr Twyford said was intended to give Kainga Ora-Homes & Communities “the tools it needs to build homes at scale & pace by bringing together councils, communities, mana whenua & private developers. It will lead projects that will transform communities all around New Zealand, and provide much-needed housing & infrastructure.”
The outcome of that aspiration will depend on the makeup of the next government.
The final parliamentary session in this term finishes on Thursday 6 August. The general election is set for Saturday 19 September.
Links to Government releases on 23 July 2020:
New rules to help our cities grow up and out
Kainga Ora gets tooled up to build more homes
Parliament passes bill to reform public service
Log Traders & Forestry Advisors Registration Bill passed by Parliament
New legislation to end tenure review and improve management of Crown pastoral lands
National policy statement on urban development
Attribution: Government releases.