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Property Council optimistic about Labour's housing proposals

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Property Council is optimistic about Labour’s housing reforms announcement made by Housing spokesman Phil Twyford.

Property council chief executive Connal Townsend believes the annoucemnet paves the way to lateral thinking about addressing New Zealand’s housing problem.

"Labour is challenging the status quo, which we desperately need in places like Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Queenstown Lakes. Spreading the cost of infrastructure that relates to the development over a period of time has the potential to reduce the cost of new houses.

"Housing unaffordability is a drag not only to the economy, but also to New Zealanders being able to get into their first home in these high growth places.

"We cannot sustain a situation where the average house price in Auckland is 10 times the average income. There will be dire economic and social consequences if we do not address this issue."

Property Council believes there are opportunities in the proposed idea to reform the rules around urban growth boundaries, particularly for high growth cities.

"We support the idea of density and compact cities that provide a high-level of amenity for its residents. But for places like Auckland, we need flexibility to push the city boundaries out to build more intensified housing to fit the expected 20-30 year population growth.

"We do not want the urban growth boundaries pushed out for low-density urban sprawl."

Mr Townsend says the housing sector needs a "circuit breaker", but is cautious if these housing reforms will be enough.

"The housing sector is complicated and multi-faceted with relationships to the provision of infrastructure, local council funding and the wider economy. We want to know if Labour is willing to explore and undertake a review of the structural issues facing housing.

"Policy reform must look at the wider planning system. The time for tinkering legislation is over; we must review the Resource Management Act, the Local Government Act and the Land Transport Management Act to create a unified, integrated and robust planning system for the future".

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