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Affordable Housing Act Faces Changes

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 4 NZPA - Legislation passed under the previous government that focused on providing affordable housing is facing review.

Following the Government's proposed reform of the Resource Management Act announced yesterday, Housing Minister Phil Heatley has said he would look at the Affordable Housing: Enabling Territorial Authorities Act.

It passed into law in September last year and was aimed at giving new powers to councils to get cheaper homes built.

Under the law, councils that establish they have a shortage of affordable housing will be able require developers to build some cheaper homes or to contribute money or land towards affordable housing being built elsewhere.

Local authorities told the previous government they were "struggling with their current statutory responsibilities and did not have the capacity or resources to undertake things like housing needs assessments", Mr Heatley said.

He said he was "considering his options" regarding the act.

"This legislation never addressed the real cost drivers of housing supply."

Better meeting of residential land needs, beating back over-regulation and compliance costs, improving infrastructure and streamlining the planning and consent process were "more appropriate" responses, he said.

Labour housing spokesman George Hawkins said looking at the act was alright, but the government should think carefully before changing it.

"You can't just strip away things that protect people."

The move appeared to be about "change no matter what" and the minister had not said which councils claimed to be struggling, he told NZPA.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule said the government should use this opportunity to "address shortcomings in the legislation" and look at linking it with the Resource Management Act.

He hoped the government would work closely with local government to "develop a mutually agreed workable solution".

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