Greens oppose band-aid housing Bill

The Green Party will oppose Housing Minister Nick Smith’s latest hurried and inadequate attempt to fix the housing crisis, which is being pushed through Parliament under urgency today.

“This Bill is a band-aid for a broken housing market and won’t do anything to fix the underlying problem that the market is not building enough affordable houses,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“The Government always knew the Special Housing Areas (SHAs) were going to expire, so there’s no good reason they had to wait this long and then go into parliamentary urgency to do something about that.

“We accept that there are issues around eight specific pieces of land in SHAs that are halfway through the consent and planning process, but Nick Smith is using that to push through all sorts of other changes to the law that need more scrutiny.

“Everything else in the Bill deserves a proper debate at select committee, and shouldn’t be forced through under urgency.

“The Bill’s new ‘use it or lose it’ rules show that Nick Smith has finally woken up to the land banking that’s going on in SHAs.

“The ‘use it or lose it’ rules won’t necessarily work because all they require is for building consents to be lodged and people can’t live in consents.

“If other councils want SHAs, we need to go though a fair democratic process around that, not rush it through under urgency.

“If the Government had just wanted to fix the specific issues around the eight SHAs that were part way through the consenting process, we would probably have supported that, but we can’t support everything else going through under urgency,” said Mrs Turei.

The Green Party will introduce Supplementary Order Papers to:

  • Remove everything in the Bill that isn’t necessary to fix the particular issues around the eight Auckland SHAs that are halfway through the planning process.
  • Specifically, remove the changes to the Public Works Act around the offer-back of land, which deserve scrutiny at select committee.
  • Require any new SHAs created to contain a proportion of affordable houses, defined as no more than four times the median household income in that region.
  • Require public consultation before new SHAs are created, to offset the lack of scrutiny and consultation of this Bill.

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