MEDIA RELEASE: Affordable Housing Discussion Welcomed

New Zealand Planning Institute
November 2012

The New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) welcomes the focus and discussion on affordable housing that the Productivity Commissions report has generated.

NZPI recognises that there are many variables in generating and/or maintaining a climate conducive to affordable housing. These include:

  • Inflation, interest rates and real interest rates (repayments required)
  • Incomes and earnings (capacity to pay)
  • Unemployment and employment conditions (market participation)
  • Dwelling prices and rents (payment requirements)
  • Mortgage and rent payments (savings capacity, ability to increase housing consumption)
  • Tenure (impact of market economics, housing choice)
  • Mobility or frequency of residential relocation (aggregate housing demand and price and rent impacts)

That recognition led NZPIs submission to the Productivity Commission to call for the development of a range of national tools and policies ranging from monetary policy to planning policy that could provide holistic and sustainable solutions to this complex problem.

Affordability is strongly related to the type and location of housing (how and where people want/need to live) said Mr Bryce Julyan, Chair of NZPI For instance, housing may be more affordable due to cheaper land costs further away from town, however residents are faced with other costs associated with distance from centres of employment, education and other activities and services, e.g. transport and travel costs.

Given the variables and complexities involved in making housing more affordable, NZPI is sceptical that the proposed changes to the RMA (particularly the change to timeframes to processing of resource consent applications) will reduce the substantive cost of housing or bring affordable products to the market (around 95% of resource consents are already processed within the timeframes set out within the RMA).

NZPI urges the Government to broaden the discussion to address the more complex issues around housing affordability and a more specific examination of how to achieve the range and mix of affordable housing in preferred locations. These might include incentives to better use existing but under-utilised urban land, where infrastructure and investment already exists, or more effective government policy and support mechanisms for enabling urban regeneration and renewal (brownfields).

Bryce Julyan
Chair of NZPI
Contact: 09 300 9286 or 027 440 5464

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