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New Bill introduced to tackle housing crisis in New Zealand

Home Insights New Bill introduced to tackle housing crisis in New Zealand

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Contributed by: Daniel Minhinnick and Alice Gilbert

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Published on: October 19, 2021

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Transformational reform to the Resource Management Act 1991 to enable intensification has been jointly announced today by the Government and National.

The Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill is proposed to enable greater medium density housing development in New Zealand by strengthening the National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD) and accelerating the timeframes for its implementation.
 
The Bill includes a number of proposed matters:

  • Medium density residential standards (MDRS) have been proposed for areas covering the Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, and Christchurch urban areas (Tier 1 areas). The MDRS will, among other matters, enable at least three dwellings of up to three stories per site in these Tier 1 areas.

  • Qualifying matters are provided where it may be inappropriate to implement the MDRS in full. Of specific interest to infrastructure providers, these qualifying matters include ensuring the safe or efficient operation of nationally significant infrastructure and the need to give effect to a designation (but only in relation to land that is subject to the designation).

  • Councils covering the Tier 1 areas will need to implement changes to plans required in the NPS-UD via an intensification streamlined planning process (similar to the freshwater planning process) which will speed up the adoption of required changes. The MDRS will also need to be incorporated via this process.

  • Changes required to be made through the intensification streamlined planning process must be notified by 20 August 2022.

  • There will generally be immediate legal effect of the MDRS from the date of notification (subject to a few specific exceptions). Where there is immediate legal effect, applications lodged on or after the date of notification will have the benefit of the enabling provisions of the MDRS.

  • An independent hearing panel will be delegated responsibilities for conducting hearings and there will be no appeal rights to decisions made. This is to ensure that changes to plans will be operative by mid-2023.

More detail on other matters proposed in the Bill can be found here and here. The Bill is still to be introduced to Parliament. Once it has been introduced, there will be an opportunity for the public to submit on the proposals.
 
Please get in touch with one of our experts if you would like to discuss the Bill in more detail.
 

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