MEDIA RELEASE: NZPI Backs Minister's Affordable Housing Stance

Media Release 16 October 2014

NZPI is supportive of Hon. Dr Nick Smith’s, efforts to use the RMA as a mechanism for taking the heat out of the housing affordability challenge in New Zealand.

“As Minister for Environment and Minister for Building and Housing, Dr Smith is in a unique position to introduce some innovative and effective policies around housing affordability,” NZPI CEO Susan Houston says.

The planning profession has long had concerns that the RMA has had inadequate recognition of and provision for urban planning, and is glad to see the Minister sees value in making changes to ensure the Act recognises the importance of Kiwis’ access to more affordable housing.

NZPI recognises that the issue of housing affordability is a vexing one. Based on NZIER information, at today’s prices, an average Auckland home will take 50 years to pay off on an average Auckland salary. In the early 1990s, the average Auckland home took 30 years to pay off.

“Indeed, New Zealand is not on its own in struggling with this issue with cities such as Vancouver, Sydney, London and Seattle all grappling with housing affordability.”

“The causes of the current lack of affordable housing are many, land banking, arguably the lack of a capital gains tax, lending ratios, to name but a few. There is no silver bullet that will fix it.”

NZPI is encouraging the Minister to consider the complexity of the problem and the likelihood that no one size policy will fit all of NZ. NZPI is also encouraging the Dr Smith to consider the opportunities that a more friendly rental market might offer as a one part of the solution to alleviating the lack of affordable housing evident in some areas of New Zealand. NZPI welcomes discussion on what a multi pronged solution might look like.