Government plans to improve housing process

Last updated 15:51 29/10/2012

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The Government has announced it intends to work on measures it says will reduce housing stress.

They include increasing land supply for new housing, both within and outside the city limits; a six month time limit on council processing of medium sized consents as part of a broader suite of measures to reduce delays the costs of Resource Management Act processes associated with housing and improving the provision of infrastructure to support new housing.

Finance Minister Bill English said the Government would also look at how to improve productivity in the construction sector - including an evaluation of the progress toward a 20 per cent increase in productivity by 2020.

But Mr English said many of the changes that would make a difference lay with councils and the Government expected them to share the commitment to improving housing affordability.

Today's announcement follows the Productivity Commission inquiry into housing affordability, which made a raft of recommendations.

Mr English said the Government agreed with the commission that housing could be made more affordable and had launched a "comprehensive work programme".

But he said other recommendations from the productivity commission required more detailed investigation.

The Government had asked for more work to be done on specific proposals including consolidating building consent authorities in a regional or national hub and the possible establishment of a competitor agency for resource consents and plan changes.

Meanwhile, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment would undertake an inquiry into the construction sector to identify barriers to improving housing affordability.

More work would also be commissioned on the specific problems facing the Auckland and Christchurch housing markets.

Government's four main aims:

* Increase land supply with new developments inside cities and with subdivisions on the outskirts.

* Reduce the time and cost of the Resource Management Act process; including a six-month limit on the processing of medium-sized consents.

* Improved timing for infrastructure support for new housing projects; including coordinating subdivision work.

* Improving productivity in the construction sector.

Still considering:

* Consolidating consent authorities regionally or nationally.

* Establishing a competitor agency for resource consent/plan changes.

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- The Dominion Post

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