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Urgent housing debate derailed

The government’s efforts to extend Special Housing Area (SHA) legislation under urgency this week have been disrupted by the Opposition.

Thursday, September 8th 2016, 9:00AM

by Miriam Bell

Back in May, it was revealed that there could be transitional issues for some of Auckland’s SHAs once the city’s Unitary Plan comes into force.

These transitional issues could prevent the building of thousands of new, much needed dwellings unless the relevant law was changed.

In order to address the issue, Building and Housing minister Nick Smith introduced the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill into Parliament under urgency this week.

The reason for urgency is that, without intervention, the relevant Act will expire on September 16.

Smith said the bill will extend the special housing legislation to ensure a smooth transition to the new Auckland Unitary Plan.

There are eight SHAs with capacity for about 7900 homes which, otherwise, may not be able to progress as they are halfway through the consent and planning process, he said.

“This law change will ensure these housing developments can continue to progress.”

The Bill will also enable the streamlined planning process for new housing to continue to be used in other parts of New Zealand, which are now experiencing housing pressures, for a further three years.

In a bid to tackle land banking, the Bill includes an amendment that land owners have to lodge the relevant consents for housing development within a 12 month timeframe.

It also amends the Housing Act to confirm that offer-back obligations to owners of land taken under the Public Works Act don’t apply to the disposal of state housing land where it’s necessary for government housing objectives.

Smith said the most important ingredient in resolving housing challenges in Auckland, and other parts of New Zealand, is supply.

As such, it was important not to allow any legislative impediments to continuing to grow supply. 

However, Opposition parties opposed the Bill – due to the Public Works Act offer-back amendment and the fact the “rushed, band-aid” legislation is being heard under urgency.

In response to a slip by Speaker David Carter they seized the opportunity to filibuster the legislation by introducing a series of their own housing related amendments.

This led to Parliamentary Question Time being cancelled for the first time in eight years yesterday.

While the filibustering delayed the progress of the Bill, it did not prevent the legislation being passed - at 11pm last night.

The Bill, which can be read here, eventually passed by 61/60 as it did in both its first and second readings earlier in the week.

Smith said while there is no silver bullet to New Zealand’s long standing housing issues, the legislation is a further step in the right direction.

The government's next steps in their housing plan are completing the second phase of Resource Management Act reform and introducing new law allowing urban development authorities, he said.

"We also have work underway on reforming unit title law to better support apartment development and building law reform to support innovation and improving quality assurance."

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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA 4.55 3.19 3.19 3.49
AIA Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
ANZ 4.44 3.15 3.25 3.85
ANZ Special - 2.65 2.75 3.35
ASB Bank 4.45 3.19 3.19 3.49
ASB Bank Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
Bluestone 4.44 4.44 4.44 4.44
BNZ - Classic - 2.65 2.69 2.99
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.15 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 4.60 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 4.55 3.25 3.29 3.59
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
BNZ - TotalMoney 4.55 - - -
China Construction Bank 4.49 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 2.65 2.65 2.80
Credit Union Auckland 5.45 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Credit Union South 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
First Credit Union Special 5.85 3.35 3.85 -
Heartland 3.95 2.89 2.97 3.39
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 4.99 4.35 4.45 -
HSBC Premier 4.49 2.60 2.65 2.80
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 3.99 2.58 2.68 2.79
Kainga Ora 4.43 3.29 3.39 3.85
Kiwibank 3.40 3.40 3.54 4.00
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset - - - -
Kiwibank Special 3.40 2.65 2.79 3.25
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Nelson Building Society 4.95 3.45 3.49 -
Pepper Essential 4.79 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Resimac 3.49 3.45 3.39 3.69
SBS Bank 4.54 3.29 ▼3.19 ▼3.49
SBS Bank Special - 2.79 ▼2.69 ▼2.99
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 4.40 2.79 2.79 3.39
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 4.40 3.29 3.29 3.89
TSB Bank 5.34 3.59 3.49 3.79
TSB Special 4.54 ▼2.65 2.69 2.99
Wairarapa Building Society 4.99 3.75 3.99 -
Westpac 4.59 4.15 4.09 4.49
Westpac - Offset 4.59 - - -
Westpac Special - ▼2.65 2.69 2.79
Median 4.55 3.22 3.22 3.44

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