Cunliffe talks Qtown projects, housing

Local authorities need to partner more closely with central Government to promote regional development, David Cunliffe says.

The Labour leader met Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Vanessa van Uden, councillors and business representatives in the resort town yesterday.

Cunliffe said the meeting was a chance to discuss wide-ranging issues, long-term infrastructure projects, plans for a convention centre and housing.

When asked whether he had a view on the council-led bid to build a $60 million convention centre, he said it was an authority process.

"The council's made its intention clear about the CBD [Lakeview] site. It regards that as superior to the Frankton [Remarkables Park] zoned site."

Queenstown was one of New Zealand's most expensive places to live in, with many workers earning a median income in a region with high housing costs, he said.

On Wednesday, Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust chairman David Cole said a few landowners had locked down potential residential development blocks in the resort.

To stop landbanking, the Resource Management Act would benefit, for example, from a "use it or lose it" clause, compelling owners with land rezoned to residential to build within a set time frame, he said.

When asked about the potential for legislative reform, Cunliffe said Labour wanted to see the Resource Management Act process sped up without weakening legislation.

"We definitely support a capital gains tax. Growth in the value of land is tax free and it shouldn't be. We wouldn't put it on family homes."

The Southland Times